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. When they came to Jesus, they earnestly implored Him, saying, "He is worthy for You to grant this to him; (Luke 7:2-4 NASB)
The centurion was not Jewish. He was Gentile, Roman, and an outsider. His good deeds, however, had endeared him to the Jewish elders. He had a need that only the itenerate Jewish teacher could meet, and asked the elders to help him make the connection. Considering the way the elders in general scorned Jesus, it's a laughable request, until you realize that they actually approached Jesus asking for a miracle on the centurion's behalf.
Nowhere in this passage are they described as disciples or as followers. They are described simply as Jewish elders, but there must have been a glimmer of faith or they would not have worded their request as they did. When we look at the elders' request, it is apparent that they knew Jesus could heal the servant. There was no doubt about it. In fact, they recognized that only Jesus could meet the need.
The question I have is why? Why were they willing to do what the centurion asked? Was it because he was part of the Roman occupying force and, thus, had the authority to compel them? Was it because he was generous with the people and had built their synagogue? Was their motivation gratitude for what the centurion had done or greed hoping for more? Could they have been sincerely concerned for the servant and desiring only healing for him?
Why. It's a good question for us to answer as well. Why are we coming to Jesus? Is it just for what He can do for our loved ones or overwhelming gratitude for what He's already done. I have a friend who often prays, "Jesus, if you never do another thing for me, what you've already done is more than enough."
Today, pray that our motivation for approaching Christ would be clear and that we would have purity of heart in seeking redemption for those we love. Be sure that, in your asking, you include thanksgiving for what He's already done.
Here's the link for last might's post: