As I was reading through Luke chapter 7, I couldn’t believe how much great stuff was there, so I decided to try and take it in smaller chunks and blog about it.
The first section deals with a centurion soldier. He had a sick servant who he highly valued and wanted Jesus to come and heal him. Here’s the thing about this man…he served the Roman Empire and was assigned to Jerusalem. He loved the Jews, and even did whatever he could to help them. In fact, this chapter says that he built their synagogue. Having been through a building project of sorts, I take that to mean that he used his incredible influence (verse 8) to organize his people around the task and accomplish it. It was probably a big risk for him to devote such resources, which is evidence of his commitment to the Jewish nation. He heard about Jesus and had faith that Jesus could heal him, which he most certainly did.
As I read these first 10 verses, I can pick out a lot of things that strike me, but today I am thinking of some of the LDS people who have helped us with our church’s building project. I have looked into the eyes of these men and seen nothing but kindness and love. I truly love these men. They have supported us well in the community. What upsets me is when we get to the point where we’re so “experienced” with the norms of life that we begin to assume what people’s motives are. This centurion was put in a pretty tough spot. On the one hand, I can imagine that he was perhaps instructed to befriend the leaders of the Jewish nation so as to promote peace between the two cultures. However, now that Jesus was on the scene, he had to align himself with only one side. Was Jesus the Son of God or not?
What do you suppose became of this centurion? He was obviously a high commander of the centurion army and had many under his authority. Was his number called when Jesus was sentenced? Did he get a visit from his own superior asking him to appoint the best men to torture the man who once healed his servant? Where was he the day that it all happened? Or was he the centurion at the foot of the cross, saying “Surely this man was the Son of God”?
Jesus said, “I tell you, I have not found such great faith even in Israel. (verse 9)” This soldier is on my heart this morning and hope to ask him these questions one day in eternity.