Summary: Message describing Jesus’ encounter with the Centurion asking for healing for his servant.
Jesus and the "Enemy"
September 25, 2005
Our passage of Scripture contains an episode in the life of Jesus that is familiar to most, if not all Christians who have been going to church for any length of time or gone to a Sunday School class as a kid.
It’s the story of Jesus healing the centurion’s servant, and in my experience, the emphasis is usually put on the faith of the centurion when it’s told.
And we’re going to talk about that some. But I’d really like to spend the bulk of our time looking at Jesus, if that’s okay with you.
As we read this passage, I’d like you to see if you can pick up anything we can learn about Jesus and how responds to the request of this soldier.
Our passage is found in Matthew 8:5-13. If you’re using the Bibles in the seats, this is found on page 686.
5 When Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to him, asking for help. 6 "Lord," he said, "my servant lies at home paralyzed and in terrible suffering."
7 Jesus said to him, "I will go and heal him."
8 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. 9 For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, ’Go,’ and he goes; and that one, ’Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, ’Do this,’ and he does it."
10 When Jesus heard this, he was astonished and said to those following him, "I tell you the truth, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith. 11 I say to you that many will come from the east and the west, and will take their places at the feast with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. 12 But the subjects of the kingdom will be thrown outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth."
13 Then Jesus said to the centurion, "Go! It will be done just as you believed it would." And his servant was healed at that very hour.
The centurion exercised a great deal of faith in this carpenter from Nazareth. There’s no question about that, and we can learn from it. Later in the message I’ll be discussing a couple things we can learn and apply.
But one of the things that fascinates me about Jesus is how he dealt with the various people who crossed his path.
He didn’t insulate himself from anyone. He related to everyone, no matter who they were or what their background.
Now we find him interacting with an official agent of the hated Roman Empire. How is Jesus going to work through this?
Let’s find out, shall we?
And it’s my hope that we can all take something away from this example of Jesus that we can make a part of our lives right away.
First, we find that Jesus walked through some barriers.
Jesus walked through the barriers of...
The centurion was employed by the hated Roman oppressors.
Earlier in the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus had discussed that we should love our enemies. And now, he’s demonstrating just what that means by helping the enemy that most assuredly had come to everyone’s mind when he talked about it earlier.
After all talk, here he was, putting his words into practice. No one could accuse Jesus of being all talk and no walk, that’s for sure.
Over the past few presidential elections, political divisions have hit the church like a sledgehammer.
It’s almost to the point where people are wondering if you’re a real Christian if you don’t belong to X political party or voting for a particular candidate.
And in spite of my best efforts to help people see that God is not a member of any political party, and that voting should be an extension of our relationship with Christ, politics still seems to be a dividing force in the church, especially in the US.
And it pains me to see the way people with strong political convictions treat those who disagree.
In the case of our Bible passage today, two opposing political forces were face to face and it would take something other than political compromise to bring a solution.
Jesus saw the "enemy" coming to him for a favor. But Jesus didn’t see the uniform, the sword, or anything else. He saw the need.
He heard the cries of a man who was concerned about someone he cared for deeply. And that’s all that mattered to Jesus.
Jesus didn’t care who he voted for in the last election. He didn’t care if he was a demopublican or a republicrat.