Monday, November 22, 2010

Faith of the Centurion

Scripture Reference: Matthew 8:5-13, Luke 7:2-10

A lesson about faith and authority.

A Roman Centurion

Though no costume is needed, could wear something that hints at military.

For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. - Romans 13:1CENTURION: I am a Roman Centurion. As my name implies, I am in authority over 100 men, Rome’s finest soldiers. They are fine fighting men, because they understand how to follow orders. Authority and obedience are very important in a soldier. If a man is in battle, it can cost him his life if he does not immediately obey an order without question. I got where I am today, because I understand command and authority. Being a soldier is my career and my life.

That is why when I was sent to Israel, this land forsaken by the gods, I did not question my orders but obeyed. But I can tell you that I was none too pleased. It is not a great honor to be stationed here for it is an odd place. These Jews are a poor people. They are so poor that they have only one god, and they don’t even know what he looks like. We Romans have hundreds of gods with statues of them all over the place. But I have to admit, that the more time I spend here, the more uneasy I become about their God. They seem to draw strength from their God. Our gods don’t do anything. And though the Emperor claims to be a god, no one really believes it.

Then there is this Rabbi who is causing quite a stir. His name is Jesus. They claim he is the Christos, or Messiah in their language. He claims to be their God’s son. Normally, I wouldn’t give any credence to such a claim, but I have heard stories of supernatural occurrences – miracles. The blind seeing, the lame walking, demons cast out, even the dead raised. Not a one of our pantheon of gods can do this. Not even our physicians, the best in the world, can do these things. There is obviously something more to this man than the many charlatans making wild religious claims all over this strange land.

Then one day, one of my servants became gravely ill. He became paralyzed and was suffering terribly. He was about to die. This servant was very dear to me; he was like a son. I went to the rabbi and asked him to heal my servant. He said He would come to my home and heal him. I knew enough about these Jews to know that I was considered a Gentile and therefore unclean. I could not ask the rabbi to degrade himself by coming to my home, so I said to him, “Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, 'Go,' and he goes; and that one, 'Come,' and he comes. I say to my servant, 'Do this,' and he does it."

I guess the rabbi was impressed by this, because he turned to the crowd and said, “I tell you the truth, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith. I say to you that many will come from the east and the west, and will take their places at the feast with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. But the subjects of the kingdom will be thrown outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth." He then turned to me and said, “Go! It will be done just as you believed it would."

When I arrived home, I discovered that my servant had been healed at that very hour.

1 comment:

Amanda said...

I love, "they are so poor that they have only one god." hehe