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Summary: Jesus cares for all without exception! (PowerPoint slides to accompany this talk are available on request - email: gcurley@gcurley.info)

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Reading: Matthew chapter 8 verses 5 to 13:

Ill:

The Canadians tell this story about their American neighbours.

• When NASA first started sending up astronauts,

• They quickly discovered that ballpoint pens would not work in zero gravity.

• To combat the problem,

• NASA scientists spent a decade and $12 billion to develop a pen that writes in zero gravity,

• It also upside down, underwater,

• on almost any surface including glass;

• And at temperatures ranging from below freezing to 300 C.

• The Russians overcame the problem by using a pencil.

The Americans are considered to be the most powerful nation in the world;

• 2,000 years ago that title went to the Romans.

• They ruled the world and had the greatest army on planet earth!

The central character in this story:

• Was a Roman soldier.

• I want to point out 4 things about him.

(1). He was a centurion (vs 6a):

“When Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to him, asking for help.”

• As soon as you speak the word centurion you here the word century in it,

• A centurion commanded a 'cen-tur-i-a', which was up to a hundred men in his company.

• A centurion was the equivalent of a regimental sergeant-major;

• And the centurions were the backbone of the Roman army.

Ill:

• Centurions carried out specialised duties:

• For example quelling riots that had broken out in a city.

• They performed various police duties.

• And later in Matthew’s Gospel they would be in charge of the crucifixion.

QUOTE: Polybius, the historian, describes their qualifications.

• “They must be not so much" seekers after danger as men who can command,

• Steady in action, and reliable;

• They ought not to be over anxious to rush into the fight;

• But when hard pressed they must be ready to hold their ground and die at their posts. "

Centurion's had the reputation for being notoriously harsh and merciless men:

• Just as regimental sergeant-major today;

• Are not known as pussy cats (soft walk over);

• Neither were the Roman centurions,

• That's why they were the backbone of this great army.

• Yet strangely in the New Testament the Roman Centurions are always spoken of well;

• Four centurions are mentioned - Luke 23: 47; Matthew 27:54 .Acts 10, and Acts 27: 43).

Quote: F D Gealy,

• Notes that they were probably the most important single position of authority;

• Within the Roman fighting machine because

• ‘The discipline and efficiency as a fighting unit depended on them’

The point I want to make is this:

• This soldier would normally have been self-sufficient.

• His men came to him for answers he need not go to anyone else.

• For him to approach Jesus;

• Meant he had to swallow his pride.

(a).

• Because he would have to come to Jesus publicly;

• In front of Jewish onlookers – reputation would be shot!

(b).

• He could also be very easily rejected by Jesus;


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