The Faith of the Roman Soldier

November 12th, 2009

In Matthew 8:5-13 there is an interesting passage that looks at the faith displayed by a roman soldier or the centurion as he is sometimes known. It says…

“5 When Jesus returned to Capernaum, a Roman officer came and pleaded with him, 6 “Lord, my young servant lies in bed, paralyzed and in terrible pain.”

7 Jesus said, “I will come and heal him.”

8 But the officer said, “Lord, I am not worthy to have you come into my home. Just say the word from where you are, and my servant will be healed. 9 I know this because I am under the authority of my superior officers, and I have authority over my soldiers. I only need to say, ‘Go,’ and they go, or ‘Come,’ and they come. And if I say to my slaves, ‘Do this,’ they do it.”

10 When Jesus heard this, he was amazed. Turning to those who were following him, he said, “I tell you the truth, I haven’t seen faith like this in all Israel! 11 And I tell you this, that many Gentiles will come from all over the world—from east and west—and sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob at the feast in the Kingdom of Heaven. 12 But many Israelites—those for whom the Kingdom was prepared—will be thrown into outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

13 Then Jesus said to the Roman officer, “Go back home. Because you believed, it has happened.” And the young servant was healed that same hour”.

I find there are two things really interesting in this passage.

1. The Centurion understands the authority of Jesus – as a soldier under command we see that he knew and understood authority and the power of the order. He knew that just as a General doesn’t have to be present for the order to be accepted, Jesus didn’t have to be present for his servant to be healed. He knew Jesus had the power to heal his servant and that he would be made well by Jesus’ command from a distance.

2. Jesus included him in the Kingdom because of his faith – up until this point in time the Jewish nation of people (or Israelites) thought they were the only ones who would eat at the great feast in heaven. However Jesus says that many will come from all ends of the earth who are Gentiles (non Jews) and eat. He goes on to say that some in the House of Israel will miss out. No longer is the issue about birth or race, it becomes about faith in Christ and believing in who He is.

In this passage Jesus opens it up for all to come in to Him in faith. It doesn’t matter where you were born, it doesn’t matter who you are, it doesn’t matter if your family is a family of faith. You can come to Him, find salvation and eat at the great feast in heaven that is promised to all those who believe.

God Bless,