Luke 7:1-10 New King James Version (NKJV)
Jesus Heals a Centurion’s Servant
1 Now when He concluded all His sayings in the hearing of the people, He entered Capernaum.
2 And a certain centurion’s servant, who was dear to him, was sick and ready to die.
3 So when he heard about Jesus, he sent elders of the Jews to Him, pleading with Him to come and heal his servant.
4 And when they came to Jesus, they begged Him earnestly, saying that the one for whom He should do this was deserving,
5 “for he loves our nation, and has built us a synagogue.”
6 Then Jesus went with them. And when He was already not far from the house, the centurion sent friends to Him, saying to Him, “Lord, do not trouble Yourself, for I am not worthy that You should enter under my roof.
7 Therefore I did not even think myself worthy to come to You. But say the word, and my servant will be healed.
8 For I also am a man placed under authority, having soldiers under me. And I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes; and to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.”
9 When Jesus heard these things, He marveled at him, and turned around and said to the crowd that followed Him, “I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel!”
10 And those who were sent, returning to the house, found the servant well who had been sick.
"He loves our nation." What patriotic words.
--From an outsider. A Roman Centurion. Soldier.
--Israel was under Roman rule; was there a long time.
--He left many gods of Rome, for the God of Israel.
--He had seen how Israel's God blesses a nation.
--It was said of him, "He built us a synagogue."
--Worshiped in it, in Capernaum; where Jesus taught.
--He truly did "love our nation," and he proved it.
What good can you and I do for our country?
--How much do we "love our nation"? We ask ourself.
--Soldiers love it, and are willing to die for it.
--God would have us live for it! Be proud of it.
--Patriotism is appreciating the sacrifices of others.
--It is a willingness to do all the good we can't.
This takes us back to Independence Hall, July, 1776.
--In Philadelphia, when 56 declared our independence.
--To form a nation, under God, with freedom for all.
--Fourteen of the 56 died. Many lost sons, homes.
--They paid a high price. They "Loved our nation."
--They loved the Lord God. They go together.
--Our nation has been good to us - be good to it!
On July 2, 1776, John Adams wrote his wife Abigail of the start of "the most memorable epoch, to be celebrated by succeeding generations ..by solemn acts of devotion to God." Adams became our second president.
You have read of Edward Everett Hale who said, "I am only one; but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. What I can, I ought to do. And what I ought to do, by the grace of God, I will do."
--That applies for godly citizens today as then.
--Hale was pastor of the same church 45 years.
--The Chaplain of the U.S. Senate for 6 years.
--He loved the Lord. He "loved our nation."
"Righteousness exalts a nation ..." (Prov. 14:34).
--"Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord." —"In you all the nations shall be blessed" (Gal 3:8) .
You may recall when Olaf Eiig, a New Zealand newsman was kidnapped, held hostage 13 days, and released.
--After that ordeal, with a big smile, he said to the world, "I feel more alive now than I have in my entire life!" A freed man! Once captive, now free.
--How come? He had tasted captivity! Uncertainty!
--Did you know, being freed is more exciting than being free? He found out how precious freedom is!
--For a time it had been taken away! Lost. Found.
My friend, were we to lose it awhile - like losing or nearly losing a loved one - we would appreciate it so much more than many seem to do. Let's thank God!
--Let's celebrate freedom, but in thanks and civility.
--Being thankful to the Living God, and others.
This Roman Centurion was much like that.
--Stationed in Israel, he came to love the land, its people, and the Lord God.
--He demonstrated that love in memorable ways.
--For one, "he built us a synagogue."
Why, I ask, would a foreigner, Roman, soldier, do this?
--I tell you, this was an uncommon individual.
--An ideal patriot. Citizen. And faithful believer.
I find often that those who love America most and are given to say it and show it are many foreigners, and children of foreigners.
--They value so much what we have here, they did not!
--What America stands for! Its ideals. At its best.
--They see the good, and do the good, for America!
--Let's love America more. Appreciate, pray for it.
"He loves our nation," this Centurion. As we should.
--Saw God had blessed Israel. In His Word, in Jesus.
--Built the synagogue. Likely heard Jesus, in it.
--After feeding the 5000 Jesus gave His sermon, "I am the Bread of life," recorded in John 6.
--We have been in the very place, several times.
So the Centurion felt led to ask Jesus for healing.
--Not for self, for "his sick servant."
--They came, saying of him, he is "deserving" (v 4).
Matthew 8:5-10 further explains this, that the servant was paralyzed, and in bed. Like that for some time.
--The Centurion considered his "servant" as one of the family. He loved, and cared for him.
--Showed his compassion. He sent for Jesus to come!
The unique thing to see, Jesus healed him from afar!
--Jesus never came near the sick servant!
--He can do the same for those we love, in His will.
--The Centurion's faith in Jesus, and prayer, did it.
--Friend, let's not miss the lesson for us.
--He saw a need - for another - and sought to meet it.
Why did this Centurion build the synagogue?
--He saw a need. And was led of the Lord to meet it.
--They needed a place, or better place, to worship.
--No doubt to me, he worshiped there with them!
--We led services in the ruins of that synagogue.
Places of the worship of God are valuable to all.
--They are essential to communities. To our lives.
--They provide inspiration. Salvation. Fellowship.
--Many community services for the good of all.
--Most valuable in promoting morality. Peace. Order.
--Bettere people make better communities .. countries!
Everyone is better, to belong and attend the church.
--Perhaps at worship the Centurion learned compassion.
--Learned kindness. Love. Respect. Generosity.
--Learned the Word of God, that led him to Son of God.
He sent for Jesus, when his servant could not get well.
--For Jesus "to come and heal his servant" (v 3).
--So they came, told Jesus all about these two men.
--But on His way, not far from the "house, the Centurion sent friends to Jesus, saying, 'Lord, do not trouble yourself for I am not worthy .. but say the word, and my servant will be healed."
--No need for Jesus to come. Just "say the word."
--My friend, that is great faith in God's power!
--And that is all it took! For a miracle to happen!
Look at the Centurion's humility, "I am not worthy."
--Who of us is? None is worthy. Let's admit it.
--Repent of sin. Strengthen faith. God rewards it!
Note the Centurion's faith, and respect for Jesus.
--"I am not worthy that You should come under my roof.
I did not think myself worthy to come to you."
--My friend, who is worthy? Yet Jesus loves us.
--He says, "But say the word, and my servant will be healed" (v 7). What humility! What faith!
--He knew the authority, and power of the Lord Jesus.
--"I also am a man placed under authority .. I say to one, 'Go,' and he goes; to another, 'Come,' and he comes, and to my servant, 'Do this,' and he does."
When Jesus heard this, "He marvelled at him." Wow!
--Jesus "said to the crowd.. 'I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel.'"
--Only twice do we read that "Jesus marvelled."
--At the great faith of the Roman Centurion.
--In Mark 6:6, at "unbelief" of so many then and now.
The Centurion "loves our nation .. and loves God."
--Friend, these go together, when we love the Lord.
--You want to know how to love our nation, today?
--May I suggest that we pray for God to bless it.
--That we live a life of faith, so that He will.
--That we obey its laws .. and God's.
--That we repent when we have failed, and erred..
--That we be faithful in our worship, as we are able.
--That we participate in the political process.
--That we, in all ways, seek to keep America clean.
How about our faith? Salvation? Citizenship?
--Where do you .. and I .. stand with the Lord?
I believe we can say, on what Jesus did for the Centurion and his servant, that they trusted in Jesus.
--If you, or I, had been healed, ministered to, would we not follow Jesus too?
--We'd be ungrateful not to.
--We all have been blessed by Christ's cross and His bodily resurrection, but do all follow Him today?
--"Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord and the people Be has chosen as His own inheritance" (Ps 33).
This is what our nation needs today. Love the Lord.
--"Love our nation."
Wilbert D. Gough, ThD., DD. 815