Summary: Luke shows us how the Centurion amazed and marveled Jesus. 1. He possessed a great love for God and for others 2. He possessed an active and vibrant faith 3. He possessed a humble spirit 4. He possessed great confidence and certainty in Jesus.
Title: How to Amaze the LORD (Heroes of the Faith)
Proposition: Luke shows us how the Centurion amazed Jesus. 1. He possessed a great love for God and for others 2. He possessed an active and vibrant faith 3. He possessed a humble spirit 4. He possessed great confidence and certainty in Jesus.
Grace and peace this morning from God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit!
Have you ever wanted to somehow be transported back into time and be able to spend some quality time with Jesus and His disciples? Have you ever wished that you could have traveled with Him as He taught, preached and transformed people's lives?
Through the help of the Holy Spirit, I believe that we can travel with Jesus as we read our Bibles. This morning, St. Luke shares with us this amazing story that speaks of love, faith, humility and certainty. It's a story that involves Jesus, some Jewish elders, a dying slave and a certain centurion.
Luke tells us that Jesus had just finished preaching a series of messages and was walking back towards the town of Capernaum. At that time, Capernaum was a pretty good sized town located right on the northwestern shore of the Sea of Galilee. It was known as a vibrant fishing village and a busy commercial center. Capernaum was situated near the great "Via Maris" highway that people used to travel from Damascus, Tyre all the way to Egypt and back. The town was a favorite spot for the traveling caravans to stop and stock up on fish and produce. As a result Capernaum enjoyed a measure of popularity and prosperity.
The Gospels tell us that Jesus chose Capernaum as his ministry's headquarters. When he and his disciples were not traveling all around Palestine they would come back here and rest. It's easy to understand why Jesus picked Capernaum. With all the traffic and commerce, Jesus had the perfect place to continuously meet new people. It was a natural location to preach the message of God's love and salvation.
Furthermore, Capernaum was where Matthew, James , John, Peter and Andrew's families lived. Headquartering there enabled some of His disciples time to rest and reunite with their families and loved ones. Plus, Jesus' home town of Nazareth was only a couple days away so he could leave his disciples with their families and go and visit Mary and his brothers and sisters.
Verse 1 tells us that just as Jesus was getting back into town He was greeted by some local Jewish elders that wanted to talk to him about a certain centurion and his dying slave. Although, the centurion wasn't a Jew, these elders included him as one of their best and dearest friends. And as Luke shares, this centurion was able to do something that no one else had done at that time. What was that?
In verse nine, Luke tells us that Jesus was amazed and astonished. Jesus marveled at this man's depth of love, faith, his humility and his certainty. Usually, it was Jesus who did all the surprising. But there were some qualities that this soldier possessed that made Jesus stop and declare that "I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel." There was something about this man that caused the Holy Spirit to instruct St. Luke to include his story in his writings. Which means, of course, that there are some things that the Holy Spirit wanted us to read about, receive and understand. There are some things about this man that the LORD wanted us to discover. learn and put into practical application. Let's look at some of those things this morning.
I. The first thing we see is this man had a great big heart - verses 1-2
This centurion possessed a great big heart for those that lived in his house and for the Jewish people living around him.
Luke tells us that he was a professional soldier. He held the rank of a centurion. That means that he was either one of the main leaders of the local police force or he was a part of Herod Antipas' mercenary army that made sure everyone kept the peace.1 More than likely, he was a part of Herod's mercenary army that was stationed in Capernaum.
Remember, Capernaum was both a tourist area and a commercial haven. People from all over this region would travel through Capernaum to get to Rome one way and to Egypt, Africa and beyond the other. Also, Rome and King Herod had made Capernaum a place one could come and pay their taxes. Tourism, commercialism and taxes meant a great deal of money was always flowing through the area. And where there is a high traffic area along with large sums of money there is the heightened chance of violence and crime.