He Will Raise You Up!

After he had finished all his sayings in the hearing of the people, he entered Capernaum. Now a centurion had a servant who was sick and at the point of death, who was highly valued by him. When the centurion heard about Jesus, he sent to him elders of the Jews, asking him to come and heal his servant. And when they came to Jesus, they pleaded with him earnestly, saying, “He is worthy to have you do this for him, for he loves our nation, and he is the one who built us our synagogue.” And Jesus went with them. When he was not far from the house, the centurion sent friends, saying to him, “Lord, do not trouble yourself, for I am not worthy to have you come under my roof. Therefore I did not presume to come to you. But say the word, and let my servant be healed. For I too am a man set under authority, with 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.” When Jesus heard these things, he marveled at him, and turning to the crowd that followed him, said, “I tell you, not even in Israel have I found such faith.” And when those who had been sent returned to the house, they found the servant well. (Luke 7:1-10 ESV).

I love this story. It is such a contrast to our modern culture and the present generation who questions everything with an all-encompassing and challenging “why?” The centurion almost sounds like a dictator in the way he gives orders and had them obeyed immediately. But that was not how he came across. On the contrary, he is portrayed as a thoroughly nice man. We may not know his name, but everyone in Capernaum would have. A Roman officer, true; to the locals, though, this man was much more than just a representative of a hated foreign army of occupation. He was a respected and generous member of the community, very sympathetic to the Jewish religion and way of life.

What Jesus saw in him was something even more laudable. To the centurion the whole command-structure of the military was second nature. Experience told him that when he gave orders, things happened, because the whole authority of Rome stood behind him. But faith told him that Jesus too must have behind him just such an authority, indeed, an even greater one. He simply believed that Jesus’ authority was unquestionably supreme. There couldn’t be another any higher or greater. Jesus had proven his authority even more so that Rome. What many Jews found hard to grasp was obvious to this gentile. Since Jesus was repeatedly doing miracles of healing, he clearly had behind him the full weight of the “Supreme Command.” That was why he could even forgive sins in the name of God.

I have so many people who simply failed to make the connection that this soldier made. We find ourselves in the midst of a crisis and question whether God’s good will could possibly be done. Our first inclination is to question why such a calamity should befall us instead of simply trusting the almighty sovereign Creator and Savior. Take a few minutes and listen to this song by the Celtic Women at Shane Castle. He will raise you up!