As in the first lesson for this week, we are here introduced to another foreigner to the people of Israel, a Roman soldier, a centurion, who has a slave that he loves and is near death. This centurion must have been a very special kind of person who had helped the Jews build their synagogue. Contrary to the way most Jews regarded Roman authorities, this centurion was held in high esteem. He must have been on top of what was going on in his jurisdiction. He had heard about Jesus and the things Jesus said and did. He believed that Jesus could make a difference for the life of his beloved slave. And Jesus did. Isn't that the basic Gospel we are called to proclaim, that when, like the centurion, we invite Jesus into the crucible of our lives, he makes a big difference. Can we tell what a difference he makes? We need to tell!
Beloved God, what a difference you made in this world you created when you sent Jesus to show us just what kind of a loving God you are. Just as Jesus responded to that centurion outsider, we thank you for being a God to responds to all peoples. Amen.
Luke 7:1-10 (NRSV)
1 After Jesus had finished all his sayings in the hearing of the people, he entered Capernaum.
2 A centurion there had a slave whom he valued highly, and who was ill and close to death.
3 When he heard about Jesus, he sent some Jewish elders to him, asking him to come and heal his slave.
4 When they came to Jesus, they appealed to him earnestly, saying, "He is worthy of having you do this for him,
5 for he loves our people, and it is he who built our synagogue for us."
6 And Jesus went with them, but when he was not far from the house, the centurion sent friends to say 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 only speak the word, and let my servant be healed.
8 For I also 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 slave, "Do this,' and the slave does it."
9 When Jesus heard this he was amazed at him, and turning to the crowd that followed him, he said, "I tell you, not even in Israel have I found such faith."
10 When those who had been sent returned to the house, they found the slave in good health.