Only Say the Word


Now when Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to Him, pleading with Him, saying, “Lord, my servant is lying at home paralyzed, dreadfully tormented.” And Jesus said to him, “I will come and heal him.” The centurion answered and said, “Lord, I am not worthy that You should come under my roof. But only speak a word, and my servant will be healed. For I also am a man under authority, having soldiers under me. And I say to this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes; and to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” Matthew 8:5-8 (NKJV)

These verses from the book of Matthew are an excerpt of an encounter Jesus had with a Roman Centurion. As a commander of 100 ordinary soldiers for the Roman army, a Centurion understood authority. It is obvious the Centurion is aware of Jesus’ notoriety and possibly may have witnessed Jesus perform healings and miracles himself.  It is fascinating the Centurion comes to Jesus, a Jew, for help. The Romans did not hold most non-Romans in regard and considered them inferior especially the conquered and subjugated.

But the Centurion appeals to Jesus anyway to heal his servant with a surprising expression of humility and faith. You see his faith come alive when the Centurion says that he is not worthy to receive Jesus into his home recognizing Jesus Christ as the One who is preeminent. Even further, the Centurion’s faith then moves beyond just seeing Jesus as a holy man into understanding Jesus has supernatural authority over the realm of life and nature. His declaration of “only speak a word” is an incredible admission of faith in the One whose power and authority are on display.    

Jesus honors the faith of the Centurion: When Jesus heard it, He marveled, and said to those who followed, “Assuredly, I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel!” (verse 10). Then Jesus said to the centurion, “Go your way; and as you have believed, so let it be done for you.” And his servant was healed that same hour (verse 13).

Could this have been the same Centurion who at the crucifixion of Jesus said, “Truly this was the Son of God”? Well, we really do not know for sure. But his expression of faith in Jesus Christ to transcend and overcome the natural can give us pause to ask ourselves “Do we have faith like that in the One who created all things?”  The Book of Colossians describes the nature of Jesus Christ as follows:

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. Forby Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist. AndHe is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence.  (Colossians 1:15-18 NKJV)

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