1 Now when he had ended all his sayings in the audience of the people, he entered into Capernaum. 2 And a certain centurion’s servant, who was dear unto him, was sick, and ready to die. 3 And when he heard of Jesus, he sent unto him the elders of the Jews, beseeching him that he would come and heal his servant. 4 And when they came to Jesus, they besought him instantly, saying, That he was worthy for whom he should do this: 5 for he loveth our nation, and he hath built us a synagogue. 6 Then Jesus went with them. And when he was now not far from the house, the centurion sent friends to him, saying unto him, Lord, trouble not thyself: for I am not worthy that thou shouldest enter under my roof: 7 wherefore neither thought I myself worthy to come unto thee: but say in a word, and my servant shall be healed. 8 For I also am a man set under authority, having under me soldiers, and I say unto one, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it. 9 When Jesus heard these things, he marvelled at him, and turned him about, and said unto the people that followed him, I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel. 10 And they that were sent, returning to the house, found the servant whole that had been sick.
11 And it came to pass the day after, that he went into a city called Nain; and many of his disciples went with him, and much people. 12 Now when he came nigh to the gate of the city, behold, there was a dead man carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow: and much people of the city was with her. 13 And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her, and said unto her, Weep not. 14 And he came and touched the bier: and they that bare him stood still. And he said, Young man, I say unto thee, Arise. 15 And he that was dead sat up, and began to speak. And he delivered him to his mother. 16 And there came a fear on all: and they glorified God, saying, That a great prophet is risen up among us; and, That God hath visited his people. 17 And this rumour of him went forth throughout all Judæa, and throughout all the region round about.
18 And the disciples of John shewed him of all these things. 19 And John calling unto him two of his disciples sent them to Jesus, saying, Art thou he that should come? or look we for another? 20 When the men were come unto him, they said, John Baptist hath sent us unto thee, saying, Art thou he that should come? or look we for another? 21 And in that same hour he cured many of their infirmities and plagues, and of evil spirits; and unto many that were blind he gave sight. 22 Then Jesus answering said unto them, Go your way, and tell John what things ye have seen and heard; how that the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, to the poor the gospel is preached. 23 And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me.
24 And when the messengers of John were departed, he began to speak unto the people concerning John, What went ye out into the wilderness for to see? A reed shaken with the wind? 25 But what went ye out for to see? A man clothed in soft raiment? Behold, they which are gorgeously apparelled, and live delicately, are in kings’ courts. 26 But what went ye out for to see? A prophet? Yea, I say unto you, and much more than a prophet. 27 This is he, of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee. 28 For I say unto you, Among those that are born of women there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist: but he that is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he. 29 And all the people that heard him, and the publicans, justified God, being baptized with the baptism of John. 30 But the Pharisees and lawyers rejected the counsel of God against themselves, being not baptized of him.
31 And the Lord said, Whereunto then shall I liken the men of this generation? and to what are they like? 32 They are like unto children sitting in the marketplace, and calling one to another, and saying, We have piped unto you, and ye have not danced; we have mourned to you, and ye have not wept. 33 For John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking wine; and ye say, He hath a devil. 34 The Son of man is come eating and drinking; and ye say, Behold a gluttonous man, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners! 35 But wisdom is justified of all her children.
36 And one of the Pharisees desired him that he would eat with him. And he went into the Pharisee’s house, and sat down to meat. 37 And, behold, a woman in the city, which was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at meat in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster box of ointment, 38 and stood at his feet behind him weeping, and began to wash his feet with tears, and did wipe them with the hairs of her head, and kissed his feet, and anointed them with the ointment. 39 Now when the Pharisee which had bidden him saw it, he spake within himself, saying, This man, if he were a prophet, would have known who and what manner of woman this is that toucheth him: for she is a sinner. 40 And Jesus answering said unto him, Simon, I have somewhat to say unto thee. And he saith, Master, say on. 41 There was a certain creditor which had two debtors: the one owed five hundred pence, and the other fifty. 42 And when they had nothing to pay, he frankly forgave them both. Tell me therefore, which of them will love him most? 43 Simon answered and said, I suppose that he, to whom he forgave most. And he said unto him, Thou hast rightly judged. 44 And he turned to the woman, and said unto Simon, Seest thou this woman? I entered into thine house, thou gavest me no water for my feet: but she hath washed my feet with tears, and wiped them with the hairs of her head. 45 Thou gavest me no kiss: but this woman since the time I came in hath not ceased to kiss my feet. 46 My head with oil thou didst not anoint: but this woman hath anointed my feet with ointment. 47 Wherefore I say unto thee, Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little. 48 And he said unto her, Thy sins are forgiven. 49 And they that sat at meat with him began to say within themselves, Who is this that forgiveth sins also? 50 And he said to the woman, Thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace.
How unusual for an officer of an occupying army to love the nation he is occupying to the extent that he pays for the construction of a religious building for them. Their religion.
This officer was aware of and respected the Jewish aversion to contact with Gentiles. He did not even come personally to request his servant’s healing: “I did not even consider myself worthy to come to you …”
More than that, he stated that Jesus did not even have to come to his house, using the words, “I do not deserve to have you come under my roof.” He had amazing humility as well as a love for the Jewish nation. Very much like the Gentile woman in Mark 7 who accepted an apparent insult from Jesus, whose persistent faith caused her daughter’s release from an evil spirit. Humility is very important in life, whether dealing with God or other people. People often succeed or fail depending on whether they have humility.
And Jesus gave the centurion one of the “Heroes of Faith” Awards that you find scattered rarely throughout the Old and New Testaments:
“When Jesus heard this, he was amazed at him. Turning to the crowd following him, he said, ‘I tell you, I have not found such great faith even in Israel.’ ”
I will bet you anything that the rest of his story will be one of the “Tales of Heroes” we will hear in Heaven. Imagine his feelings as he learned of Jesus’ arrest, mock trial, and crucifixion. Imagine the feelings of that servant who was healed by Jesus “long-distance” because of his master’s faith.
What must it have been like for this officer when the disciples began proclaiming the resurrection? At that point their opposition came more from the Jewish authorities than from Rome. Roman persecution of Christians didn’t begin until 64 AD, when Nero blamed them for the huge fire that destroyed a lot of Rome. Remember the trial of Paul before King Agrippa, from Acts 26:30-32?
“The king rose, and with him the governor and Bernice and those sitting with them. After they left the room, they began saying to one another, ‘This man is not doing anything that deserves death or imprisonment.’
Agrippa said to Festus, ‘This man could have been set free if he had not appealed to Caesar.’ ”
What must the centurion have felt like when he learned that Jewish religious authorities were responsible for Jesus being condemned to death? If this centurion were like some of us, he would have investigated the trial. If google and the internet had been available, he’d have been all over them trying to find out why the prophet and healer whom local Jewish elders had referred him to was crucified. He would have discovered corruption and injustice to match anything we have found in our investigations of events in this dying Republic. He would have been outraged. He would have felt despair at the perversion of justice. Just like we have.
Rome was a Republic at that time. Deja vu all over again.
Granted, it didn’t take long for persecution to begin, from a historical perspective. But it was long enough that this centurion may have retired from the army or died before that happened:
“Legionaries signed up for at least 25 years’ service. But if they survived their time, they were rewarded with a gift of land they could farm. Old soldiers often retired together in military towns, called ‘colonia’.”
No telling how the centurion became a centurion. He might have had connections, or he might have been several years in earning the rank. Whatever, he was a mature man at the time he became such an amazing example of faith in Jesus. It seems fairly well established that Jesus was crucified somewhere between about 29 AD and a few years following that. Even if the centurion were a fairly young man at the time of Luke 7, he was very likely out of it, and thanking God that he was, by the time the persecution of Christians started. I really want to hear the rest of his story!
The widow of Nain … one of my favorite stories. Imagine the joy of being Jesus at that moment! This woman, a widow, had lost her only son. In a largely male-dominant society, that meant a bleak future for her, not to mention the agony of losing her only son. But King Jesus remedied that in a Heartbeat!
“When the Lord saw her, his heart went out to her and he said, ‘Don’t cry.’ ” And he raised her son from the dead!
Imagine the joy of being able to say what Peter said to the first Gentiles “officially certified by God” as born-again believers in Jesus:
“You know what has happened throughout the province of Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John preached— how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him. We are witnesses of everything he did in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem.” (Acts 10:37-39)
That’s my King!
“The people walking in darkness have seen a great light! On those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned! … For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders! And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end! He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever!” (Isaiah 9:2)
And he’s coming back!
“According to the Lord’s word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage one another with these words.” (1st Thessalonians 4:15-18)
And when He does…
1st Corinthians chapter 15 explains the sequence of King Jesus’ Millennial Kingdom and “the end”, which is actually just the beginning:
“For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. But each in turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him. Then the end will come, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death.” (verses 22-26)
And then the renewal of everything and the beginning of Eternity in Paradise. Read Revelation 21:1-8 for the travelogue on that!
Hallelujah to the King of Kings! Hallelujah to the Lamb!
Hallelujah to the King of Kings Who is the great ‘I Am’ !”