As I read this text this morning I was struck by the words of the Jewish elders and how they contrasted with the centurion's words. The Jewish elders, the insiders to Jesus' world as it were, offer appeal to Jesus that the centurion is "worthy" to have Jesus heal his servant because of his good works for the Jewish people. Surprising to us evangelicals, Jesus goes with them without comment.
The real shocker comes when the centurion shows himself far more aware of his true state, far more broken than the Jewish elders when he says that he is "not worthy" to have Jesus even come into his home. He then utters the kind of faith confession that not only gets the attention of Jesus, but amazes him.
The centurion saw himself in relation to Jesus as one who was not worthy. He also saw himself like Jesus as a man under authority, able to command reality with uttering words. What a intriguing picture of a "heathen" soldier! No wonder Jesus was fascinated by him!
I guess it makes me wonder what demands we place on Jesus when we come to him. How much of what we ask him to do is because of some "worthiness" that we perceive in ourselves - maybe we have earned favor with him through suffering certain things for periods of time, maybe it's good things we have done or said, etc. Of course we aren't usually consciously aware of these "unspoken merits" but they are there. How I long for the heart-faith that the centurion had - one of brokenness (I am not worthy of you Jesus) and authority (I too am a man under authority).
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