Our lesson this week is going to move us into a new unit of lessons titled: Faithful to Heal. By this point in the quarter, we have seen how the believer should be faithful to serve and faithful to prophesy to (to teach and lead) those who are in need of guidance or even dead in the spirit. This week’s lesson is being taught from Luke 7:1-10.
Believing God Can Heal
From our lesson last week, when we saw Ezekiel prophesying to dry bones in a vision from the Lord, we saw the Lord’s restorative power. Now, we know that the Lord can certainly heal and restore because we have learned, studied, and we have believed.
Now, we have to consider that many of those that lived during the days of Jesus, were just as many people who live today – they lacked faith in the power of God. Sadly, many of those that did not believe were Jesus’ own people – the Jews. Yes, Jesus may have been moving about performing miracles, but there were still many who lived at that time and questioned the miracles of Jesus. In fact, there were many Jews that suggested that Jesus performed miracles – cast out demons – by the power of Beelzebub – a demon (Matt. 12:24).
Seeking Jesus’ healing
So, what’s interesting about our lesson this week is that though many of the Jews questioned the power of Jesus, a centurion (a Gentile) believed and desperately sought Him in His time of need.
Our lesson opens after Jesus’ teaching of the Beatitudes along with other lessons that He had taught; we are told that after concluding His teachings, He entered Capernaum (v.1). Capernaum was actually Jesus’ dwelling place after He was rejected in Nazareth when He announced His ministry (Luke 4:16-30); it was a place where Jesus taught regularly.
When He entered Capernaum, we are told that Jesus had some visitors that were waiting for His arrival for a very specific reason. We are told that a centurion’s servant was sick; this servant was very close to him (v.2). Now, when the centurion had heard about Jesus, he sent elders of the Jews to Jesus to plead for Him to come and heal the sick servant (v.3). They pleaded with Jesus by saying that the centurion was supportive of the Jews and had even built a synagogue.
Now, again, to me, this is an absolutely amazing statement of this centurion. I say this because I don’t believe He did any research into who Jesus was and what He was about. He likely had heard from these elders that Jesus was going about the land performing miracles – healing the sick and making the lame walk again. Those stories alone were enough for this man to send off for Jesus to at least give Jesus a shot.
To me, this is a great testimony of the centurion because there are many people living today who have heard of all that Jesus has done and yet, they refuse to even give the Lord a try. There are living testimonies of the power of the Lord and what faith in Christ can do, and yet, people choose to ignore and reject Christ.
The centurion’s faith is true
So, after the cries for Jesus’ help, Jesus went with the elders. This reminds me of how the Lord responds to our cries of help in times of need.
When Jesus was not far from the centurion’s home, there were friends that the centurion had sent out to meet Him. They met Jesus with a message from the centurion that said, “Lord, do not trouble Yourself, for I am not worthy that You should enter under my roof (v.6).”
This, again, is a testament of the faith of the centurion! The centurion was being very humble because of the power of Christ. And again, I want to point out that this centurion had only heard of Jesus – he had never seen Jesus. This man was so humble that through these messengers, he said, “I did not even think myself worthy to come to You.”
Yet, his faith was made more clear when he said of Jesus, “But say the word, and my servant will be healed (v.7).” So, the centurion trusted in Jesus’ power but we will also see in this next verse that the centurion trusted in Jesus’ authority. If you have heard me preach long enough, then you know I focus a great deal on the Lord being sovereign – He is almighty and has rule over all things.
Speaking of Jesus’ authority, we will see the centurion say, “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 (v.8).”
The centurion was expressing that Jesus had authority over what was ailing his servant (or anything else for that matter). For the centurion, all he needed was for Jesus to say that his centurion was healed and he would believe. This kind of faith is absolutely extraordinary and its the kind of faith that we even lack at times.
There are often times where we will pray for the Lord to do something and we question whether He has moved on our behalf or not. Let us remember how the writer of Hebrews defined faith; the writer said, “faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen (Heb. 11:1).” The centurion’s faith was undoubtedly true.
Jesus marvels at this faith
Something that I have expressed over the past couple of weeks in sermons is how Jesus said that the humble will be exalted by God. We see that scripture play out in the closing verse of our lesson this week.
The centurion was humble and truly believed that Jesus could heal. Jesus, we are told, after hearing those things, marveled at the centurion. To those that were following Him (likely the disciples and those elders) Jesus said, “I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel (v.9).” This is the kind of faith that the Lord loves! This is the kind of faith that all of us should possess in God.
What’s fascinating about this is that we don’t even see Jesus go into the centurion’s home to heal the servant. The only thing we are told is that those who were sent to get Jesus and the friends that delivered the message to Jesus, returned to the centurion’s home to see that the servant had been made well.
Jesus taught the disciples that faith the size of a mustard seed could move mountains. Faith that has no doubt can truly heal – I believe it can heal us physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.