In our Scripture lesson for today, Luke records Jesus’ encounter with a centurion who was stationed in Capernaum near the Sea of Galilee. This leader of a group of eighty Roman soldiers was experiencing a problem he could not solve – a slave dear to him was so sick that his death seemed imminent. The Centurion had heard of Jesus’ power to heal and sent Jewish friends to ask Jesus if he would come and heal his slave.
As Jesus drew near the Centurion’s residence, the Centurion sent a surprising message, telling Jesus that he was not worthy of a visit from Jesus, but just “to say the word and let my servant be healed”. Jesus reaction was to inform his followers “not even in Israel have I found such faith.”
How was this healing episode different than the other occasions when Jesus’ power to heal was revealed? All healing took place on occasions when faith in Jesus was displayed, but my memory is that on all other occasions those who wished or needed to be healed were in Jesus’ presence. Moreover, some act by Jesus, such as touching, occurred; or, Jesus required some act by the one to be healed, such as washing, in order for their faith to be displayed. Only the Centurion from afar said “say the word” and healing took place
Prayer: Lord, give us faith in your healing and redemptive power which is so strong that asking is all that is required. Amen.