Saturday, April 26, 2014

The Bondsman

And a centurion's slave, who was highly regarded by him, was sick and about to die. When he heard about Jesus, he sent some Jewish elders asking Him to come and save the life of his slave. (Luke 7:2, 3 NASB)

A centurion is an officer in the Roman army. He was not only a part of the occupying army in Israel, but also a Gentile, which made him doubly taboo. He had, however, been generous to the people, and had built a lovely synagogue for them. Despite being an outsider and a Gentile and a Roman officer, he had come to be regarded highly by the local leaders.  

This man had a slave that he regarded highly, as well. The word used here is "doulos" and Vine's Dictionary defines it as "one who gives himself up to the will of another".  It is also translated as bondsman, a form of voluntary, permanent servitude. The servant had such regard for his master that he had committed himself to the officer for the rest of his life. 

Undoubtedly, the slave had monetary value. Slaves were bought at a price. The wording here does not indicate that the officer was concerned about his investment, however. He was concerned about his servant.  The word translated as highly regarded here, entimos, is also translated as "held in honor, highly prized, precious".  This servant was more than human livestock to his master. He was dearly loved.  

Paul, in Romans 1:1, described himself as a bond servant of Christ. He had relinquished any right to freedom and had bound himself permanently to his Lord. We, too, are to be bondslaves to Christ as permanent willing servants of our King, who has purchased us with a terrible price. 

What we sometimes fail to recognize is the freedom in that bondage.  When we bind ourselves to Christ, we are bound to One who loves us dearly, considers us precious, and highly values us. We are not worthless chattel. 

Take heart, dear ones. No matter what burden you carry, or weakness you bear, you are still highly valued and precious in the eyes of our Lord. He cares and longs to intervene. 

Relinquish your burdens to Jesus and pray that He will do what must be done to bring healing and freedom, both to you and to those you love. 
Link to last night's post: