We now read a story of the centurion. A centurion is a Roman commander who oversees 100 men. That point is important in this story. Yesterday, we read Jesus healing a paralytic, and other than him having great friends, nothing is really said about him. In this passage, we see the centurion coming to Jesus for his sick servant. Jesus says he will go and heal him, but the centurion shows great faith in saying that he only needs Jesus’s word. Just say the word, and it will happen.
The centurion’s great faith is amazing, but what is more amazing is the fact that Jesus was amazed. Evan asks how can Jesus be amazed when he knows everything? That is a very good question. I think a lot of times when we think of Jesus, we tend to think he is an emotionless stoic person that is not moved by anything. (It doesn’t help that many movies portray Jesus in this way.) But as we read the Bible, we learn that is far from true! Jesus has many emotions, and today we learn that Jesus can be amazed. He is marveling at the centurion’s faith! Jesus may have already known, because he is fully God, but Jesus still values and acknowledges the centurion’s great faith. That is amazing!
As mentioned in the beginning, the fact that this great faith is from a centurion, a non-Jew, a gentile, is significant. A Roman who has no background knowledge of God has greater faith than the actual Jews who have long history of relationship with God. Jesus says that the Roman will take the place of Jews in the feast with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the forefathers of Israel. The forefathers who talked with God directly! Jesus is showing that it is not our forefathers that will get us to heaven, but our own faith, and his feast will have people from all over the world!
(Same story but shorter version in Luke 7:1-10)