When Jesus had finished all His words to the people, He entered Capernaum. A centurion there had a slave who was ill and about to die, and he was valuable to him. When he heard about Jesus, he sent elders of the Jews to Him, asking Him to come and save the life of his slave. They approached Jesus and strongly urged Him to come, saying, “He deserves to have you do this for him, for he loves our nation and he built the synagogue for us.” And Jesus went with them, but when he was only a short distance from the house, the centurion sent friends to tell Him, “Lord, do not trouble Yourself, for I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof. Therefore, I did not consider myself worthy to come to you; but say the word and let my servant be healed. For I too am a person subject to authority, with soldiers subject to me. And I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come here,’ and He comes; and to my slave, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” When Jesus heard this he was amazed at him and, turning, said to the crowd following him, “I tell you, not even in Israel have I found such faith.” When the messengers returned to the house, they found the slave in good health.
Not even in Israel. Jesus often complains of his disciples’ “little faith” or utter lack of faith (cf Mk 4:40). His own townsmen in Nazareth amaze Jesus for their lack of faith (cf Mk 6:6). In two instances when Jesus points to great faith, the persons concerned do not happen to belong to the group of His disciples or to the practicing Jews but are strangers and outsiders to the Jewish religion.
The first is the Canaanite woman who holds the distinction of having successfully argued with Jesus and won the deliverance of her daughter from the demon (cf Mt 15:28). The second is the Roman centurion in the Gospel: he seeks a cure for his slave and recognizes the authority of Jesus to bring healing in God’s name. Jesus acknowledges the centurion’s faith and consequently voices criticism of Israel’s faith in him. Luke thus presents the Roman official as a symbol of Gentile belief over against the general reaction of Israel and prepares for the story of the conversion by Peter of the Roman centurion Cornelius (cf Acts 10:2).
“People will come from the east and the west and from the north and the south and will recline at table in the Kingdom of God” (Lk 13:29).
SOURCE: “365 Days with the Lord 2017,” ST. PAULS Philippines, 7708 St. Paul Rd., SAV, Makati City (Phils.); Tel.: 895-9701; Fax 895-7328; E-mail: email@example.com; Website: http://www.stpauls.ph.
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