Friday, May 2, 2014

Just Say the Word

Now Jesus started on His way with them; and when He was not far from the house, the centurion sent friends, saying to Him, "Lord, do not trouble Yourself further, for I am not worthy for You to come under my roof; 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. For I also am a man placed under authority, with soldiers under me; and I say to this one, 'Go!' and he goes, and to another, 'Come!' and he comes, and to my slave, 'Do this!' and he does it." (Luke 7:6-8 NASB)

The only way to get the full flavor of the centurion's message to Jesus is to read it in it's entirety, rather than parse out the sections.  Let's set the scene first. Jesus had just finished a preaching trip and returned home to Capernaum. He was settling down, when some of the Jewish elders arrived and asked Him to go with them to a Roman centurion's house to heal a gravely ill servant. There were many things about this request that interested Jesus, so He headed toward the sick man. He was almost to the centurion's house when a group of the centurion's friends arrived with a new message. 

The centurion had been thinking about authority. He knew that, as a Roman officer, what he commanded was done. There was not a struggle about it. He said it, and it happened. The centurion could recognize a fellow officer by the air of authority in their manner and the results when they spoke. He saw that same authority in Jesus. When He gave a command, it was carried out. The centurion didn't necessarily understand it, but he could see it clearly, and he knew that all Jesus had to do was say the word of healing, and it would be done. 

The centurion also recognized that his own authority was not dependent upon his proximity to the place of implementation. He did not have to be in a spot for his orders to be carried out there. If Jesus had as much authority as the centurion, and he believe that He did, then proximity to the servant was not needed for healing. It was one of those "Ah ha!" moments, and very exciting. Immediately, the centurion sent a friend to Jesus. "Don't come," he said. "Just say the word and my servant will be healed." 

Was the centurion running a test to see if this was right? No, of course not. He highly valued his servant, so he was taking no chances. He was acting upon what he knew at the deepest point in his heart. He knew Jesus could do what was needed, and from watching Jesus heal all who came to Him, he knew He not only could heal his servant, but also that He would. 

I wonder if we come to Jesus with that certainty when we pray. Do we understand with such assurance that God not only hears our prayers but never fails to answer them?  If we did, perhaps we would be bolder in approaching Him with needs, both our own and the needs of those around us. With a word, just one word, He can do what needs to be done.  We serve a mighty God. He can handle anything that comes our way. 

Today, pray for certainty. Pray that we will know for certain that our God hears and answers our prayers. Pray, too, that He will speak a word of healing for all our loved ones and heal the place that keeps them from Him.  
Link for last night's post: