An Uncommon Faith – Luke 7:1-10 (ESV), Colin Munroe, Lead Pastor

An Uncommon Faith

Luke 7:1-10 (ESV)
After he had finished all his sayings in the hearing of the people, he entered Capernaum. 2 Now a centurion had a servant who was sick and at the point of death, who was highly valued by him. 3 When the centurion heard about Jesus, he sent to him elders of the Jews, asking him to come and heal his servant. 4 And when they came to Jesus, they pleaded with him earnestly, saying, “He is worthy to have you do this for him, 5 for he loves our nation, and he is the one who built us our synagogue.” 6 And Jesus went with them. When he was not far from the house, the centurion sent friends, saying to him, “Lord, do not trouble yourself, for I am not worthy to have you come under my roof. Therefore I did not presume to come to you. But say the word, and let my servant be healed. 8 For I too am a man set under authority, with 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.” 9 When Jesus heard these things, he marveled at him, and turning to the crowd that followed him, said, “I tell you, not even in Israel have I found such faith.” 10 And when those who had been sent returned to the house, they found the servant well.

This event of the Roman soldier’s astonishing faith in Christ repeats a dominant theme in Luke’s books that the Gentiles are included in the family of faith. One of Luke’s main reasons for writing was to demonstrate to Theophilus that Jesus had come to save both the Jews and the Gentiles. This account shows Jesus extending His ministry to a Gentile and praising the centurion for his genuine faith. 

Jesus discounts no one! He has called believers to declare the Gospel to everyone—from people of a distant village to the “irritating” neighbor across the street.

Luke 7:1 (ESV)
After he had finished all his sayings in the hearing of the people, he entered Capernaum.

Luke does not clarify why Jesus selected this city, although it must have offered good possibilities for His ministry.

Luke 7:2 (ESV)
Now a centurion had a servant who was sick and at the point of death, who was highly valued by him.

Who are you going to Jesus for? 

Acknowledging that He alone can heal them, remembering that eternal life and death are at stake. Who is highly valued by you? Is it someone who is spiritually sick and dead in their trespasses and sins?

The sad thing is that when people or loved ones are physically sick they are desperate and willing to accept help. But many that are dead and sick in their sins are unaware of their desperation and need and the consequences to come. This is where the body of Christ is called to speak and serve, knowing the gift of grace and the hope of Christ! 

Luke 7:3 (ESV)
When the centurion heard about Jesus, he sent to him elders of the Jews, asking him to come and heal his servant.

When others don’t know Jesus they will reach out to those they perceive do know Him and ask that we ask Jesus on their behalf. Do you have relationships with others that don’t know Him or may have simply heard about Jesus and know that you know him? 

Matthew 8:6 (ESV)
“Lord, my servant is lying paralyzed at home, suffering terribly.”

The Good News thrives across ethnic, racial, national, and religious obstacles by the power of the Holy Spirit. Are you willing to work through them as well? Do you know others from different backgrounds? Jesus was no respecter of such divisions. We should reach out to those whom Jesus came to rescue.

Luke 7:4-5 (ESV)
And when they came to Jesus, they pleaded with him earnestly, saying, “He is worthy to have you do this for him, 5 for he loves our nation, and he is the one who built us our synagogue.

Do you plead with Jesus earnestly on behalf of others?

That this Roman could request a favor of these Jews and have them respond so willingly would usually come as a shock.

Luke 7:6-7 (ESV)
And Jesus went with them. When he was not far from the house, the centurion sent friends, saying to him, “Lord, do not trouble yourself, for I am not worthy to have you come under my roof. 7 Therefore I did not presume to come to you. But say the word, and let my servant be healed.

Jesus went despite the social barriers and prejudice! This would have been a moment that Peter would have been reminded of when he was asked to go to another centurion’s house to share his witness and testimony.

The centurion surely knew of the Jewish rule of not entering Gentile houses and may have understood, on second thought, his presumption in asking this Jewish teacher to come. He would have understood that since he was a Gentile, he was considered unclean by Jews. 

This centurion understood that Jesus needed only to say the word to heal his servant.

Psalm 107:20 (ESV)
He sent out his word and healed them, and delivered them from their destruction.

The people who came to Jesus often sought to get close enough to touch Him in order to be healed, but this Roman knew that Jesus could heal without a touch. His word was sufficient.

How much faith do you have in the Lord’s Word?

Don’t you love the humility of the centurion? He obviously had great respect for Jesus. He believed that He had authority over diseases and sickness and understood the power of His Word!

Hebrews 11:6 (ESV)
And without faith it is impossible to please him (was Cain’s sacrifice accepted?), for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.

Luke 7:8 (ESV)
For I too am a man set under authority, with 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.”

When Jesus spoke demons obeyed, diseases departed and storms stopped! In this statement the centurion announced his faith by declaring Jesus’ authority.

The centurion might have understood that Christ’s power and authority came from above. When Jesus spoke, God spoke. Jesus did not need ceremonials or medicines or even His touch or presence to accomplish a healing. The centurion applied his understanding of authority to Jesus. The centurion had absolutely no doubt that Jesus could merely speak the word and heal his servant.

Luke 7:9 (ESV)
When Jesus heard these things, he marveled at him, and turning to the crowd that followed him, said, “I tell you, not even in Israel have I found such faith.”

Luke 7:10 (ESV)
And when those who had been sent returned to the house, they found the servant well.

Matthew 8:13b (ESV)
And the servant was healed at that very moment.