Summary: SO, WE HAVE TWO THOUGHTS HERE. Jewish Elders tell Jesus this man Is Worthy - Roman Centurions friends tell Jesus that - He Is Not Worthy - Which one is it? - Either he is Worthy or He is Not
TITLE: JESUS WENT WITH THEM
SCRIPTURE: ST. LUKE 7:1-10
Have you ever been in a grocery store and had the privilege of watching a child who does not understand who is in charge? The mother would say, “PUT THAT CANDY BACK,” and the child 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 child would grab something else. The mother would say, “Put it back.” The child 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 travel through this text this morning
In our text we find Jesus had walked down from the brow of the low mountain outside of Capernaum, his adopted home. He had just delivered what would become the most famous sermon in history. When Jesus entered the town, he was met by a small delegation of Jewish elders.
• They had an urgent request
• There was a servant so sick he was expected to die shortly
• This delegation had been asked by the Master of the House to go find Jesus on his behalf and see if Jesus might be willing to heal his servant
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 and concern in a certain family’s home. The owner of the home sent this delegation to find Jesus with a request. The question must be asked – WHO WAS THIS MAN MAKING THE REQUEST?
• A Rabbi – No
• A Jewish Leader – No
• A Disciple – No
• He was a Roman Soldier
• He was a 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 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 Roman Centurion was a man who looked beyond the prejudice and the hatred of the Jews directed at him
• And somehow, we don’t know how it happened, he fell in love with their God
Let’s take a look at this again. There was this Roman centurion whose servant was so sick that he was expected to die shortly. The centurion had asked these Jewish Elders to go to Jesus on his behalf to see if Jesus might be willing to heal his servant. Now this was very unusual.
• Jewish leaders were not in the habit of being fond of Roman soldiers
• Feeling the obvious oddness of the request, one of the elders quickly added, "He is worthy to have you do this for him, for he loves our nation, and he is the one who built us our synagogue"
• This was also unusual
• Roman soldiers were not in the habit of being fond of Jews
This text is really fascinating to me. Servants came to Jesus on behalf of he who was in charge of them. This man was a Gentile, meaning he was not a member of the Jewish people, and the Jews would ordinarily have considered him well beyond the pale. Jews did not associate with Gentiles; they considered Gentiles unclean; they would not normally help a Gentile in any way. What's more, this Gentile was a member of the occupying Roman Army!
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
• He’s heard about the ministry and the power of Jesus Christ
• If only he could get a message to Jesus
Some Jewish elders come to Jesus with the request of the Roman Centurion. Look at the text - At this point Jesus has heard the request and - JESUS HAS NOT SAID A WORD. He has only heard the request. I can imagine Jesus must have had a particular look on his face after hearing the plight presented by the Jewish counsel on behalf of a Roman Centurion. Now remember what Jesus was saying and teaching at this point as it relates to the Gentiles.