Summary: This sermon deals with the Lordship Of Jesus Christ, and the connection between faith and authority by looking at the healing of the Roman Centurion’s servant.
I Am Under Authority
Have you ever been in a grocery store and had the privilege of watching a child who could be described as a little brat. The mother would say, “put that candy back’, and the kid would say, “no”, and then rip the package open. The mother would say, “that’s it don’t you get another one and I mean it.” The kid would grab something else. The mother would say, “put it back”. The kid would start screaming, and the mother would say, “be quiet and put that thing in the basket.”
Now even though the mother was an authority figure, the child did not place himself under her authority except when it suited his purposes. How many of you think you know exactly what that child needed. Keep that thought in mind as we go through today’s lesson which is found in Luke 7 verse 1-10.
Jesus had just completed the message that is known as the Sermon on the Mount. That’s the message which deals with our attitudes, our need for forgiveness, loving our enemies, examining our leaders, and obeying the word of God. He had gone up a mountain to give it to the disciples. Once leaving the mountain, he was coming back to his home in Capernaum. Now Jesus had grown up in the city of Nazareth. But the people of Nazareth had attempted to kill him just as his ministry was getting started. In order to fulfill the Scriptures, he moved out of Nazareth and lived in Capernaum.
While Jesus was up on the mountainside, there were a lot of worried looks in a family’s home. The owner of the home had a number of servants. Imagine with me that one day the owner’s child had wandered out in the yard, and there was a poisonous snake. The child was unaware of the danger. A young servant saw the danger and ran to get the child before the snake could strike. As the servant grabs the child, the snake strikes and catches the servant in the leg. Word spreads quickly as to what has happened. The owner comes running.
The owner comes to the servant with a grateful heart for saving his child’s life. He values the life of the servant as much as he values his own. But there the servant lies. The snake’s venom has left him paralyzed. His fever is rising. The owner knows something has to be done immediately. The owner is not use to being in a situation in which he feels completely helpless. He, after all, was a Roman Centurion.
A centurion was a commanding officer of a 100 men in the Roman army. The Roman army was an outside occupying army. The Roman government had invaded and conquered the land of the Jews. The centurion would have been in charge of the Roman Soldiers who had been left behind to maintain the peace and to to see to it that Roman commands were carried out. They were a kind of military police force with complete authority. As a result, many of the Jewish people hated the Romans. But this centurion was a man who looked beyond the prejudice and the hatred of the Jews directed at him, and he fell in love with their God.
Here this centurion’s servant is lying at the point of death. He has the power of Rome behind him, but that’s not much good right now. He has quite a bit of wealth, but that’s not going to make much of a difference either. He has a faith in God, and He’s heard about the ministry and the power of Jesus Christ. If only he could get a message to Jesus.
Let’s pick up the story in Luke Luke 7:2-5 There a centurion’s servant, whom his master valued highly, was sick and about to die. 3The centurion heard of Jesus and sent some elders of the Jews to him, asking him to come and heal his servant. 4When they came to Jesus, they pleaded earnestly with him, "This man deserves to have you do this, 5because he loves our nation and has built our synagogue."
Let’s look at some points in this passage. The centurion was a Gentile, which means he was thought to be outside of the people special to God. The Jews did not want anything to do with the Gentiles. The racism was so great among the people that it makes our prejudice among blacks and whites look small by comparison. Yet this centurion had still managed to find God from the Jewish religion. Not only that, he even won over the Jewish elders respect and admiration by the way he lived his life under the authority of God.