Sunday, August 03, 2008

The Centurion

The gospel of Luke chapter seven tells an incredible story. In a world filled with religious aristocrats and zealots, how strange that Jesus would say about a police officer, "I have not seen such faith in all of Israel!" Now I am not talking about a rookie that has yet to toughen and attempt to leave behind his family upbringing. I am talking about a man of rank and stature . . . a Centurion.

The story unfolds in the city of Capernaum. A group of city leaders introduce the man to Jesus and say of him, "His comes on behalf of his servant. He is worthy for he loves our people and built our synagogue." Upon meeting Jesus, the Centurion states, "There is no need for you to come to my house for I, too, am a man of authority. You just say the word and it will be done." The Bible says Jesus "marveled" at him. Can you imagine what it would take to bring the Universe Creator to that point? A policeman did it. He did it by his simple knowledge of authority and a statement of faith. The Centurion knew what it was like to be in charge. To say to one "go here" and he goes. When he gave a command, the officer never gave a thought to someone who would disobey. He understood authority and when he recognized Jesus had authority over everything, dynamic faith came as easily as, "just say the word, Lord, and I know He will be healed."

If anyone ever had authority over anything, it is Jesus. Creator, Messiah, the great sin debt payer, Almighty, Everlasting, and Prince of Peace. Those things spoke to the Centurion more than anything his job had told him about people. Galilee was the center of rebellious activity against the Roman government. He had done his share of law enforcement. He had made his share of arrests. He had been lied to by the best and seen all the rest. But when He saw Jesus, he took that one step of faith. All he needed was meet Jesus, and take Him at His word. I've watched officers grow cynical through the years. It can happen. But inside the most cynical is a spark that searches to still believe. A policeman, in order to survive in faith, must determine to be an eagle and not a parrot. A parrot says what he is taught. An eagle hears for himself the very words of God in his own heart. Your faith cannot be strong enough by listening to what someone said God said. Your relationship must be confidently personal. Your actions and expectations based on your continued and strong communicating relationship to the Lord, Jesus Christ. Start on your knees and hear Him speak. Turn from your sin and trust in Jesus Christ alone for salvation. It will launch you like wings of an eagle.

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