Monday, 4 February 2013

Monday - Words

Prayer:  Lord of all being,  Your glory is brighter than the flames of the sun and the stars.  In You,  we are made free.   Kindle in our hearts a holy love that is never extinguished so that everyone may see Your great love.   This we ask in Jesus’ name.  Amen.

Read St. Luke 7: 1 – 10  (yes,  no mistype.  We’re reading this portion of scripture again)

St. Luke then writes that there is a Centurion who had heard of Jesus. This Centurion is Roman – an officer who leads 100 men. Small local outposts were usually commanded by a Centurion.  The Roman army was known for its brutality,  yet here we have a Centurion whose  servant is sick and about to die.   And what does the Centurion do?   The Centurion – the Roman – the Gentile sends a delegation of Jewish elders to Jesus asking Jesus to come and heal his servant.   Wow.  

Something else that we need to be aware of in this text is the Centurion asked Jewish elders to go ask Jesus for healing.    The very man that has command over their town is asking those who are the religious and civic leaders in this town to help.     Gentiles asking Jews for help is amazing.   An Army Officer of a frequent brutal army that was sent to oppress the town folk,   asking the town folk to help is equally as amazing.

Do the elders take the Centurion’s request to Jesus?  Yes indeed they do as well as stating their admiration for the Centurion.    Verse 4 reads that the elders plead earnestly to Jesus and said that “this man deserves to have you do this, because he loves our nation and has built our synagogue”.    Wow.    Plead earnestly.  When was the last time you came across a group of people who were living in oppression and plead earnestly for their captors?    Wow.  And the Centurion also helped the Jews build their synagogue.   This generosity would have been unheard of during this time of Roman rule. 

Yet something we tend to gloss over is the connection that the early Christians would have  caught.    The Centurion was from Capernaum.   The elders and friends are from Capernaum.  Peter and Andrew, James and John are all from Capernaum.   Capernaum wasn’t that large of a town.   Everyone knew everyone else.     Perhaps the Centurion overheard his servants telling each other “Hey,  you know those fisherman brothers?  Well we can’t buy anymore fish from them now.  They have left everything and gone and followed this guy named Jesus”.  Or perhaps the Centurion knew the Fisherman brothers from watching them fish as the Centurion marched by the Sea of Galilee.

What the Centurion overheard or saw with his own eyes, he had kept up on the news about Jesus.  A good Army Officer will always find out who might be a possible enemy of the state as well as knowing what all the people in each town are doing and saying.    The more the Centurion heard about Jesus,  the more he realized that Jesus wasn’t a leader coming to overturn the Roman rule but coming to do something greater.  

Think back in your life and ponder who influenced you as a Christian?  Did this person influence you as a Christian by what they did or by how they lived or by what they said?

Prayer:  Through Your Word,  O LORD,  our bodies are healed.  Through Your Word, O LORD,  our minds are brightened.  Through Your Word, O LORD,  our love shines so that everyone may know of Your great love. Whatever we are to do today,  may we live this day in Your Glory and love.     In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

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