From The Heart

Publish date: 10/19/2003

When Jesus had finished saying all this in the hearing of the people, he entered Capernaum. 2 There a centurion's servant, whom his master valued highly, was sick and about to die. 3 The centurion heard of Jesus and sent some elders of the Jews to him, asking him to come and heal his servant. 4 When they came to Jesus, they pleaded earnestly with him, "This man deserves to have you do this, 5 because he loves our nation and has built our synagogue." 6 So Jesus went with them. He was not far from the house when the centurion sent friends to say to him: "Lord, don't trouble yourself, for I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. 7 That is why I did not even consider myself worthy to come to you. But say the word, and my servant will be healed. 8 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." 9 When Jesus heard this, he was amazed at him, and turning to the crowd following him, he said, "I tell you, I have not found such great faith even in Israel."  10 Then the men who had been sent returned to the house and found the servant well.   Luke 7:1-10 NIV

Matthew 8:10-12 NIV says that, "When Jesus heard this, he was astonished and said to those following him, "I tell you the truth, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith. 11 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. 12 But the subjects of the kingdom will be thrown outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth."

The centurion's great faith was a shock to Jesus! This centurion was a Gentile, a Roman officer, and not a son of Abraham! And yet even among the Israelites, the "sons of Abraham," Jesus had not yet seen such great faith.

The centurion asked Jesus to come to his house to minister to his servant and Jesus consented, but while Jesus was still on His way, he sent word to Jesus that He did not have to come to the house itself, because he did not feel worthy to receive a personal visit from Him. He let Jesus know that all he expected Him to do was to speak a healing word over his servant, because he was convinced that that was all it would take for his servant to be healed. He fully expected his servant to be healed simply by one word from Jesus!  

As a military man, the centurion had an understanding of the power and the ability and also the limitations of a man in authority. He had experience being under authority and he had experience being in authority. He must have known what good could be achieved by godly authority. By his faith in Jesus and the authority of His word, this man showed greater respect toward Jesus than those of His own nation – Israel. He was not blinded by religion nor was he confident in his own worthiness before God, but he recognized the anointing upon Jesus and also His power and authority over sickness, disease, demons and anything else hell has to offer. This "heathen" man had no foundation of godliness in his life that we know of and he was not in covenant with God through heritage, yet he came to Jesus completely by faith and dependent on His grace and that is why he got what he asked for!

Coming to his hometown, he began teaching the people in their synagogue, and they were amazed. "Where did this man get this wisdom and these miraculous powers?" they asked. 55 "Isn't this the carpenter's son? Isn't his mother's name Mary, and aren't his brothers James, Joseph, Simon and Judas? 56 Aren't all his sisters with us? Where then did this man get all these things?" 57 And they took offense at him. But Jesus said to them, "Only in his hometown and in his own house is a prophet without honor."  58 And he did not do many miracles there because of their lack of faith.   Matthew 13:54-58 NIV

You cannot receive from an anointing that you do not respect. If you respect an anointing, then it is not hard to receive from that anointing. If you honor the anointing, you will be blessed by that anointing. If you judge and condemn that anointing, how can you receive anything from it? Many times respect has very little to do with the respectability of the person being judged and disrespected as it does with the prejudices of the person doing the judging. Receiving requires humility. Until you humble yourself before the Lord and believe that He is willing and able to help you, you will not receive the things you need from Him. As long as you judge and disrespect those whom God anoints, you will not be able to receive anything from their anointing or their ministry.   

The centurion had complete faith in the authority of Jesus over sickness and infirmity. In contrast, Jesus' own home-town folks had no respect for Him whatsoever. In Nazareth He could do "no mighty works," but because of the centurion's respect for Jesus' authority and for the authority of His word, his faith activated the power of the anointing on Jesus and his servant was immediately healed!