Today, my yearly Bible reading reached to the book of Matthew 8 and I am interested to share a bit what I have learned from the Centurion of Capernaum in verse 5 to 13. Even though this passage talks about faith of the centurion, I got another important lesson from this centurion. There are three important things we could learn from this passage. Let’s have a look together.
When Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to Him, asking for help for his paralyzed servant at his home. (Matthew 8:6 NIV) The centurion came to Jesus not because he is sick but he felt so sorry with his servant’s suffering. As a leader, would be so easy for him to cast away his servant and find a new one. But let’s see, he was willing to spent his time and try hard to meet Jesus. Here we could see that the centurion not just had a mercy but also accompanied with action by asking for help to Jesus. He did something concrete.
A question arises in my mind. In this very difficult live today, how big our mercy to our friends or relatives who are in difficult situation and need our hand? Whether our mercy has been accompanied with action? It is easy to have mercy but we may not easy to help them concretely. We may tend to have sympathy but difficult to have empathy. I often heard the old and classic reason: “How we could help others if ourselves in the difficult and shortcomings situation?” I remembered with the church in Macedonian. In the midst of very severe trial, they still have overflowing joy in giving and they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability. (2 Corinthians 8:2-4 NIV) Maybe this time we do not like the church in Macedonia who is in poverty but are we already have generosity to give a little we have for those who are in need? Are we already have mercy that accompanied by action? It is very good to show a mercy and sympathy, but in reality oftentimes it is not enough to lighten those who have burden concretely.
Actually, God takes into account all mercy that we show to our neighbor no matter how small it is. Jesus said: “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” (Matthew 25:40 NIV) In our daily lives I often see the contrary situation to what was done by this centurion. The higher one’s position they lose their sense of mercy for others. This centurion has great mercy regardless of his position or status. And did not merely have sense of mercy but he revealed with the real action. This centurion of Capernaum can be a role model to us to always remember to have sense of mercy to others no matter their position lower than us or not because God alone has a great mercy to us and He will forget our sins.
For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more. (Hebrews 8:12 NKJV)
Now let’s take a look at the second important thing from the centurion of Capernaum. Humility! Yes this centurion had humility. Let us examine together. After Jesus knew the centurion ask for help to heal his servant, Jesus said that He wanted to come to the centurion’s house and heal his servant.
Jesus said to him, “Shall I come and heal him?”The centurion replied, “Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed.
(Matthew 8:7-8 NIV)
Let’s pay attention to the centurion reaction. He did not say: “Yes, that is I want from you. Please come to my house and heal my servant immediately” but let’s look at his answer on verse 8: “Lord I do not deserve to have you come under my roof…” Here we can see the sense of humility of this centurion. There are two things that show the centurion’s humility. First, let us notice to his efforts to meet Jesus in order to his servant to be healed. I imagine one thing. As a centurion, I do believe he has a lot of soldiers. It will be easier he ordered one of his men to go to meet Jesus. But he did not do it. He did it himself. The second thing is he felt unworthy to have Jesus come to his house. This centurion really realized who he was and that was clearly reflected in the following verse:
“For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me…. “(Verse 9)
This humble centurion truly realized that he is not the highest person in the world. He still has a leader and above of all he really realized that he was dealing with the King of kings.
To be honest, this part immensely touched my heart, become a rebuke, and makes me asking to myself. As a person who has position in the company, whether I already have humility in the eyes of all who are under me? This centurion becomes a great reminder to me. Although I have high position and big authority but there is still my parents who in fact is the owner of the company. Every single policy and decision that I take still needs their approval. And more than it all, there is God who created and become the owner of all in this world. This time maybe God bless us with the very high position and have full authority in a company, an organization or wherever we are. Be grateful for that and be grateful God entrust us to sit on the high position. But we must always remember to keep being humble. Remember that all of it is blessing from God. If we are become arrogant, God will not be pleased and anytime He can take it all back from us. Let us learn from the centurion of Capernaum to always has humility as God commanded,
Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. (Ephesians 4:2 NIV)
… All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble (1 Peter 5:5 NIV)
My beloved readers, now we come to the part that become a title of this passage. For me, this section is the most important thing that I got and learned from this centurion. It is talk about something that becomes a foundation in the Christian living. Now we talk about faith. The centurion had something great and awesome. He had a great faith. Let’s take a look again to the verse 8.
For he was not worthy to have Jesus come in his house, then he said: “But just say the word, and my servant will be healed” I am so impressed with his word. This is amazing words that show such a great faith. His faith made him believe that God has a mighty power that is not limited by the dimensions of space and time. His faith also made him believe that through one word, Jesus has incredible power to do a healing miracle to his servant who far away in his house without Jesus’ touches hand directly. When Jesus heard this, He was amazed and said to those following Him:
“Truly I tell you, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith.” (Verse 10)
I imagine what I will do if one day my baby boy is sick then I ask my pediatrician come to my house but unfortunately he could not come and just give me suggestions what I have to do. Perhaps I will remain force the pediatrician come to my house because I will not satisfied and believe if I not see my doctor directly cure my baby. Oh, how much I want to have great faith like this centurion. Without need to look directly Jesus heal his servant, his great faith makes him believe that his servant will definitely healed. And it is proven. Jesus said, “Go! Let it be done just as you believed it would.” And his servant was healed at that moment. (Verse 13)
This time I will not deliver my thought about faith too much. I have written some posts which talk about faith and there are so many other excellent posts in the blog which talk about the same thing. Right now I just want to all of us to take a moment asking ourselves: How big our faith now? Whether we already have a great faith like this centurion? Are we having a great faith that makes us believe a miraculous thing will surely happen without we need to see it first? How deep these following verses embedded in our heart?
“…blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” (John 20:29b NIV)
Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. (Hebrews 11:1 NIV)
Whether our faith can make us believe something invisible, believe something unbelievable and make us believe can receives something impossible [i] as we believe there is God even we cannot see His real figure? Let’s together examine ourselves again how the quality of our faith today.
My dear friends, at the end of this post I encourage all of us to learn from the centurion of Capernaum wholeheartedly. Let us unite in prayer, pray for one another so that in every step of our lives, we have great mercy and accompanied with real action for our neighbor regardless of whom they are and no matter whom we are. Let us also remain have the humility even though we have a high position and authority wherever we are. Although there is no one higher than us, still remember there is God who the highest of the high. And the most important thing let us always maintain our faith in God. Let us pray so our faith keep growing, getting stronger day by day, strengthen our faith with outpouring of God’s word every day and finally will enable us to believe in something without having to look at. Amen.
Karina – Living by faith
Image source: historylectionary.com