Submitted by Jan on Tue, 24/05/2016 – 12:40
9th Sunday in Ordinary Time, 3rd Sunday after Pentecost, Proper 4
Year C (2015-2016)
Bible Book: Luke
Luke 7 follows the text where Jesus taught his followers how to be his disciples. He taught them with words what it means to follow Him. He gives them the theory and manual in the previous chapter. In the opening verses of Luke 7, he now starts to demonstrate what this means in practice.
A centurion was a soldier in the Roman Empire who commanded 100 soldiers. They were mostly gentiles. They were positive towards the Jewish religion as they believed it brought order and good moral standards to the nation. This centurion had means and resources at his disposal, as he had built a synagogue for the people of Capernaum. He displays characteristics not typical of his background by caring deeply for his servant.
This man respected and showed cultural sensitivity across ethnic lines, as he sends Jewish elders to Jesus with a request – not a demand. He is respectful yet deeply caring and – although across ethnic lines – got his friends to support him in this important matter.
Yet, before the messengers even arrive the centurion again sends representatives declaring his unworthiness of Jesus entering his house – despite the Jewish elders’ estimate of this man’s worth. This situation shows his character of humility and God honors humility. He is courteous in approaching Jesus and knew that most Jews did not want to associate with Gentiles. It reveals that this centurion was concerned about others and the possible cultural and personal inhibitions of Jesus, a Jewish Rabbi.
It is further clear that the centurion recognizes Jesus’ authority, being a person of authority himself. He proclaims that only His authority is needed to heal his servant. He is confident in Christ and shows boldness: “say the word and my servant will be healed” – He alludes to Psalm 107:20, which says, “He sent His word and healed them.” He understood the power Christ has and this shocked Jesus when He answers “I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel!”
In summary then: Deeply care for all around you. Spare no effort to engage people in praying jointly for the things that your heart is concerned about. It is encouraging to know that other people are praying with you in your time of need. Do not be prideful. Know your own unworthiness to approach God – what we have is only by the grace of God. Think of others before you think of yourself. When we approach God, recognize that we are not worthy to approach Him (2 Cor. 3:5), or to have Him approach us. He does it out of his love and grace for us.
Secondly – believe boldly in the power of Jesus, His authority. Be confident in Him. Believe that His Word is sufficient – it is a hard truth. Study His word to understand and gain insight into His promises. Have great faith. Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. Faith is confidence and persuasion in something God has promised. Seek God with all your heart and don’t stop until you have surrendered all your unbelief to Him.
To think about: Do your prayers reflect your faith in Christ? Mark 9:24, “Lord, I believe, help my unbelief.”
Written By: Ms Elzaan de Villiers, Missionary, Building Hope Foundation and trained ‘Churches, Channel of Hope’ Facilitator.
Author: de Villiers E (Ms)