Week 2 | Monday
Week 2: Who does Jesus care about?
Jesus & the Centurion
by Janet Nygren
Read: Luke 7: 1-10
He was not far from the house when the centurion sent friends to say to him: “Lord, don’t trouble yourself, for I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. 7 That is why I did not even consider myself worthy to come to you. But say the word, and my servant will be healed. 8 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.”
9 When Jesus heard this, he was amazed at him, and turning to the crowd following him, he said, “I tell you, I have not found such great faith even in Israel.” 10 Then the men who had been sent returned to the house and found the servant well.
- One key factor in this story is that the centurion, a military leader, is not an Israelite. Living in multi-cultural America, this might not seem like a big deal, but at that time in Israel it was. Essentially, your ticket to heaven was being born Jewish (with a few minor exceptions). With that in mind, what do you notice about how the people of Capernaum regard this centurion? What has he done to merit their favor?
- Another key factor by way of background, is that military leaders were typically wealthy. This centurion’s contribution to the local synagogue supports this. How might that influence public opinion? How might that influence Jesus based on what you know about him?
- How does the centurion regard Jesus? What clues from the passage support what you are thinking?
- So far in Luke, amazement usually has to do with how the crowds view Jesus. This time, Jesus expresses amazement at the centurion. What does he see?
- Are there people who would plead earnestly on your behalf for Jesus to help you? What might Jesus see in your heart?
- Race, social status, religious background, economic position, power/authority, and character all play a role in this story–all very familiar characteristics that influence us today, even if the “players" are very different. Which characteristics factor into your assessments of people?
- Be honest with Jesus. That might include thanks for being invited to belong to him no matter who you are. It could mean praying for someone you know whose heart is in the right place, but doesn’t yet know Jesus. It might also include confession for your own heart that could use some work!
- How does today’s passage connect with your own story?
- Can you share about someone you know who isn’t a Christian but has a commendable character, whom you would like to see in God’s Kingdom?
- Are there experiences you have had that have opened your eyes to “boxes” you put people in?
- Would you be willing to share ways you would like to grow or have grown?
I'd like to amaze Jesus with my faith!
I would like to grow by being slow to anger, to listen wholeheartedly and to ask questions. To give grace to others. Essentially I would always like to be more like Jesus and even though I know I cannot be Jesus I find myself thinking how would Jesus feel or react and use that to help refocus myself at times.
What a great way to start our week! The story of the centurion and Jesus’ amazement at his faith sets the stage for us to be drawn out of our our comfort zone-out of our regular expectations. Prepare to see Jesus move in unexpected ways! Like Ken, I would like to “amaze” Jesus with my faith. Faithfulness is a fruit of the Holy Spirit. Holy Spirit, I ask You to produce this kind of faith in me. As faith grows, I can’t claim any credit. It is God who produces it. This centurion has used his funds to help build a synagogue. God is already at work in Him as he hears about Jesus and acts on his faith!
As I waited here this morning for this to come up I was filled with anticipation. And when I did I just was too fidgety and couldn’t sit still. So I Close my eyes and asked for the Holy Spirit to come down on me and to let me here and see in my heart. For so long I have close myself off to others around me, not to my father ever, For fear of getting hurt again. All I wanna do is go out and show my love and my faith that others who don’t know yet the beautiful feeling that a gift with inside your heart. What a wonderful way to start the week
Peggy, Thank you for sharing with such honesty this morning. I'm grateful for you!
I have spent much of my professional life in academic contexts around people who are very well educated. They often are very kind, generous, and gracious people, yet they seem to be far from any kind of faith. Their lives seem very "put together." The box I put them in is that they view faith as something for the simple-minded or uneducated, and that they secretly look down on people who believe in God. I have to admit that I don't really know if this is true because there are not many opportunities to have honest conversations about faith. I confess I need to change my attitude and see them as people who need to hear about Jesus. I need to pray for them. I need to be more open about my own faith.
One of my cousins (who is not a believer) is married to a really great guy, and AJ & I really love them. I would like to see them--but especially him--become a believer. He respects our faith a great deal, and is always kind and loving to everyone he meets, but being atheistic causes him to be a very materialistic person. Sometimes I think it gives my cousin a lot of stress and dissatisfaction to be constantly thinking about "stuff". Fortunately they do have one child and are doing a great job as parents, which has tempered the materialism a bit over the past 13 years. But I would like to pray for them to know Jesus, and for me to be a good example of God's love to them.
Oh Lord may my faith grow as strong as this Roman officer's. My prayer is that our sons will see our faith and trust in God and that the Holy Spirit would permeate their lives. They were all brought up in the Lord but have grown cold. Our hearts desire is that they would be strong followers of the Word. They are good guys with a lot of heart, care and compassion. Through much hurt in their lives they have grown cold. Father I ask that thy Holy Spirit would call them by name and they would harken to your call. In Jesus name I pray.
Jesus's healing doesn't depend upon whether someone is worthy or deserving. The Jewish elders thought the centurion was deserving of healing because he helped them and therefore was important to them. However, the centurion himself said he was not deserving but knew that Jesus could heal anyway. The centurion showed meekness and humility. He showed strength but was in control as he obeyed and respected the authority of those above and below his position. And that includes the authority of God over his life. That amazed the Lord as great faith.