Luke 7:1-10 is one of the most remarkable passages in the New Testament. A man who should have been hated by the Jews as an unwelcome occupier, a leader of soldiers that held Israel subject to Rome, becomes the most celebrated example of faith Jesus encounters. There is so much we can learn from this man’s profile that I would dare say that he gives us a pattern for how we ought to live our lives. Let’s learn from what Luke tells us about this man.
U He was a Gentile (vs. 2)
U He was a lover of people; he valued his servant highly, loved the Jews and their nation (vs. 2,5)
U He put people above position (vs. 2,3)
U He was spiritually sensitive enough to know that Jesus could help him (vs. 3)
U He was culturally sensitive; he worked through the Jewish elders to approach Jesus and recognized it would not be appropriate for Jesus as a Jew to come into his home (vs. 3,6)
U He knew how to cultivate friendships (vs. 3)
U He was highly respected; the Jewish elders plead earnestly with Jesus to help him (vs. 4)
U He evidently loved God; he helped the people in Capernaum build a synagogue (vs. 5)
U He was not afraid to be criticized or mocked doing good for people Romans disdained (vs. 5)
U He was a man of humility. He did not feel worthy for Jesus to enter his home (vs. 6)
U He had incredible faith—“just say the word!” (vs. 7, 9)
U He was a leader, comfortable with the workings of authority (vs. 8)
U He was used to getting work accomplished (vs 8) and the end result was that his faith was rewarded (vs. 10)
How many of us would like to be like the Centurion? May I share with you several principles which if we apply in our life will help us to be like this incredible man?
1. Highly value people by truly loving God. The Centurion was a remarkable man first because he loved God. The foundation for achieving anything of significance is always tied to loving God! Loving God means we:
a. Understand what God’s thoughts are about people. Most Jews rejected Jesus because they did not have the love of God in their hearts. John 5:42—“but I know you—that you have no love for God within you.” John 15:17—“This is what I command you: Love one another.”
b. Be sensitive to the needs of those around you. If we want to reach people with the gospel we have to observe and care about their needs. 1 John 3:18—“Little children, we must not love with word or speech, but with truth and action.”
c. Be part of the solution when you have opportunity to see other’s problems. Philippians 2:4—“Everyone should look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.”
d. Put people above position and security. There are consequences for taking a stand for Christ—are you willing to pay the price for putting Jesus first, for sharing Him with others knowing you could lose your job or be punished? Ultimately if we truly value people we are compelled to share Christ to do anything less is to consign them to hell as if it isn’t our problem.
e. Build valuable friendships. The Centurion didn’t just hang with Romans, he built friendships with the Jews. How can we expect to win anyone to Christ if all we know are Christians?
2. Cultivate a spiritually sensitive heart. So often we try to solve problems in our own strength and we are insensitive to what God may want us to do or be able to do in us if we will just trust Him!
a. Develop a spirit of humility.—Ephesians 4:1-3
b. Understand authority. We live in a society that questions authority, disrespects elected officials, slanders those who lead on a regular basis. You cannot walk according to the Spirit if you are skeptical according to the world.
3. Operate by faith. To operate by faith may mean to send Jesus home before you ever receive what you are after. We need to believe in the authority of God and put to death reliance on our flesh, our keen minds, our education, our resources. God does not need these things to work His will. God simply desires that we would trust Him. Something to think about . . . in reveration!
©2005 Daniel York ARR. Reveration is the weekly devotional ministry of First Cause. If you would like to receive these devotionals go to www.firstcause.org and click on the “Click here to receive weekly devotionals” box. Unlimited permission to copy this devotional without altering text or profiteering is allowed subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.
Ecclesiastes 12:10-The Teacher sought to find delightful sayings and to accurately write words of truth. (Holman CSB)