In conclusion with part one of this Bible Study we began to discover a common theme concerning scripture dealing with soldiers or centurions of the Bible. This theme continues in the facts that never are these soldiers asked to surrender their weapons nor ever told that they need to leave military service. We learn that their faith honors God even though they are soldiers. In this portion of the study we will cover a situation where Jesus blessed a soldier by honoring his faith with the healing of a servant.
The story of faith concerning a centurion is told in both Matthew chapter 8 and Luke chapter 7. As told from two different writers, we have two separate perspectives of this encounter between Jesus and a centurion. One perspective is of direct communication between Jesus and this soldier and the other is between Jesus and some Elders and then friends, which this soldier had sent to Jesus to speak of his request.
I will use Luke’s perspective:
Jesus Heals a Centurion’s Servant
1 Now when He concluded all His sayings in the hearing of the people, He entered Capernaum. 2 And a certain centurion’s servant, who was dear to him, was sick and ready to die. 3 So when he heard about Jesus, he sent elders of the Jews to Him, pleading with Him to come and heal his servant. 4 And when they came to Jesus, they begged Him earnestly, saying that the one for whom He should do this was deserving, 5 “for he loves our nation, and has built us a synagogue.”
In these verses we see that the centurion has sent the elders of the Jews to plead his situation to Jesus. They explain to Jesus that the centurion has love for their nation and that he has built the synagogue for the people of Capernaum. This shows us that this centurion is a faithful servant of God reflected by donations from his wealth to glorify God by building this synagogue in his “giving” to the Lord.
6 Then Jesus went with them. And when He was already not far from the house, the centurion sent friends to Him, saying to Him, “Lord, do not trouble Yourself, for I am not worthy that You should enter under my roof. 7 Therefore I did not even think myself worthy to come to You. But say the word, and my servant will be healed. 8 For I also am a man placed under authority, having soldiers under me. And I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes; and to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.”
Jesus goes with them only to encounter the centurion’s friends before He even arrives at the home. They inform Jesus that this centurion feels that he is not worthy to be blessed with His presence nor that was he worthy enough to come before Jesus.
This is what I felt in my heart from this: Here we have a soldier who has faith in God and believes that Jesus is the Son of God. He gives his wealth to God and does what he can to further God’s work by building the synagogue. Don’t we all give to God from our wealth reflected by the fruit of our spirit?
As with many soldiers who serve today and who have put their faith in God, many feel they are not worthy because of the “things” we have done and will do as required of, in the line of duty as a soldier. Jesus was fully aware of this as He was then, as He is now, as He was before time and even to the end of time. Yet in the next set of scriptures we find that Jesus is “marveled” at what He hears.
We learn that this centurion is humble to the point that he is unwilling to be in the presence of Jesus because he feels unworthy. He is a man of authority (said as “under authority”) and that this may be one of the reasons he feels unworthy before Jesus because he is a successful soldier. To be in a position of authority you have experience in your profession, been in battle, and have led soldiers. A commander possibly, based on the facts he is giving orders to soldiers, has servants, and is wealthy enough to give to God.
9 When Jesus heard these things, He marveled at him, and turned around and said to the crowd that followed Him, “I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel!” 10 And those who were sent, returning to the house, found the servant well who had been sick.
Here we have yet another example that faith in Jesus can move a mountain. In this case, the centurion’s faith healed the servant who was ready to die.
In conclusion for this part, Jesus has an opportunity to tell a faithful servant of God to leave a profession that will lead to combat. If such a profession is sinful and what it requires in the line of duty is sinful, why would Jesus NOT use this opportunity to inform this centurion to leave his profession? Why did He not use this example to teach the people with Him that being a soldier was not within the Will of God?
These people were witness to glory, given to God by the faith of a soldier and in the healing of the servant. A blessing for a soldier then and God still blesses soldiers today.
In our next part to this series I will bring out scripture concerning soldiers and the use of soldiers in the remaining chapters of the Bible. This will begin with Cornelius of Acts, chapter 10.
When I was praying to God many years ago, asking for clarity and understanding as to my path/purpose, much of what I’m typing up in this study was what I was led to by the Holy Spirit. Some of it is from long ago during my period of doubt and some that I have been led to just recently as God continues to prepare me for this ministry.