Key Verse: “For this reason I did not even consider myself worthy to come to You, but just say the word, and my servant will be healed.”
—Luke 7:7, New American Standard Bible
THE SCENE FOR OUR LESSON was set shortly following Jesus’ sermon on the mount. “Now when he had ended all his sayings in the audience of the people, he entered into Capernaum.” (Luke 7:1) Having been spurned and rejected at Nazareth, where he grew up, Jesus made Capernaum his “home base” during his Galilean ministry. Peter and others of Jesus’ disciples, many of whom were fishermen, also made their homes in that area because it was conveniently located on the coast of the Sea of Galilee.
The account in Luke chapter 7 explains that a centurion, who was captain of the Roman guard in that region, had a servant who was very dear to him. This servant had become seriously ill, and was near death. The Gentile centurion asked the leaders of the city, who were Jews, to send for Jesus, that he might heal his servant. (vss. 2,3) He had evidently heard of Jesus and his mighty acts of healing, and was probably well aware of the miracles which Jesus had already performed in the region.—Luke 4:31-41; 5:12-26; 6:6-11
The fact that the centurion did not go to meet Jesus personally should not be presumed to signify any lack of respect. Rather, the opposite seems to be the case, since he no doubt knew that Jesus was a Jew and realized that Jews were not to have any dealings with Gentiles. (Deut. 7:1-6; Matt. 10:5; Acts 10:28) The centurion, however, was greatly desirous to have Jesus heal his servant. From the narrative it is evident that although the centurion was a Roman army officer, he was a man of humble mind, full of kindness and well reported of, even among the Jews.
The leaders of the city sought out Jesus, and upon finding him, explained that although the centurion was a Gentile, he was of a noble character, and worthy of having Jesus heal his servant. They further stated, “He loveth our nation, and he hath built us a synagogue.” (Luke 7:4,5) Upon hearing these reports, Jesus went with the city leaders and traveled to the centurion’s house. As they neared his home, a servant came to meet Jesus with this message from the centurion, “Lord, trouble not thyself: for I am not worthy that thou shouldest enter under my roof.”—vs. 6
Our Key Verse indicates the centurion’s faith was so strong that the only thing necessary was for Jesus to “say the word,” and his servant would be healed. Jesus expressed his astonishment at the great faith of the centurion, saying to all the people there, “I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel.” When those who had come to meet the Lord returned to the centurion’s home, they found that his servant had been healed.—vss. 9,10
Our Lord’s miracles served as illustrations on a limited scale which pointed to the grand scope of miracles that will be accomplished for mankind during his Messianic reign. Then, all those who are sick will be healed, the dead will be raised, and all will have the opportunity to be restored to perfection.—Isa. 35:5-10; Acts 3:20-25; 24:15
As followers of the Master at the present time, instead of requiring signs and visible assurances, let us rest in faith, content that he who has so graciously overruled for us in the past is equally faithful today to fulfill all of his good promises to us.—I Cor. 1:9; 10:13