“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.”
Here we have a man of prominence. His friends try to influence Jesus by using his “clout”, but when we get to meet the centurion a few verses later, we understand him to have uncommon humility and also uncommon faith. His friends list his credentials, but he has nothing to say of himself. There is no indication that he presumes special privileges because of who he is, or that he has that sense of entitlement that is often groomed and cultivated in the hearts of those who have power and privilege.
There is no “Oh yes, let Him come to my place and see all my riches while He is on this errand for my servant.” In fact, he discourages Jesus from coming under his roof, not wanting to inconvenience Him. This officer knows what it is like to be responsible for others and to have pressing duties. He does not wish to monopolize the Savior’s time.
So then we see his faith. Unlike Thomas who insisted upon physical proof to bolster his faith, this man already has such a degree of faith that he finds it easy to request that Jesus only speak the word from afar and this would be sufficient enough to bring the healing he sought. Remember that servants and slaves have been viewed as disposable people in many cultures, and particularly by people of prominence. But not by this man. He clearly saw worth in this person. We don’t know from this context whether the person was male or female, what they did, or how long the person had served in the household. We are only told he or she was highly valued.
How commendable to find such a person of high rank but with a small degree of self importance. What influence can be had when there is also such depth of faith!
“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” – Abraham Lincoln
In whatever circles we find ourselves this week, may we have such influence as this.