Today's devotion from Luke 7:1-30. We're used to seeing Jesus amaze others. Of course He amazed people when the dead were raised, the blind given vision, the lame enabled to leap, and the leapers cleansed, but what would it take to amaze Jesus? We find out today through a centurion of the Roman army.
Now, we can't speculate as to the nationality of the soldier. The Romans conquered most of the known world by incorporating various peoples, which created a pretty diverse citizenship. What we do know is that this man was sympathetic to the Jewish faith. We are not told that he is a Jew, but he apparently loved Israel and built a synagogue for the people. In the eyes of the Jewish elders, this made this man worthy of Jesus' time and attention.
So, Jesus went, but when He got close, the centurion sent friends to tell Jesus not to come. He felt unworthy to entertain Jesus. Instead, he asked Jesus to simply say the word, give the command for healing, and his beloved servant would be made well.
There are so many things happening in this account that we should notice. First, recognize that the centurion cared for his servant. We don't know much about the servant from this account, but it is safe to say that the centurion valued this servant as more than property to be controlled and used. Second, we see the soldier must have genuinely believed he was unworthy of Jesus' time. He called in a favor, and sent Jewish elders the first time, apparently thinking they could persuade Jesus. Then, once Jesus drew near, we see that he sent his friends, a different group.
What I love about this account is what the centurion didn't have faith in. He wasn't like the woman who needed to touch the hem of His clothes, or have Him create an ointment to rub on his servant, or even touch the servant at all. His faith was in Jesus as the healer, not a method or means of healing. You see, this man had the clarity to recognize that Jesus is enough and able.