When Jesus returned to Capernaum, a Roman officer came and pleaded with him, “Lord, my young servant lies in bed, paralyzed and in terrible pain.”
Jesus said, “I will come and heal him.”
But the officer said, “Lord, I am not worthy to have you come into my home. Just say the word from where you are, and my servant will be healed. I know this because I am under the authority of my superior officers, and I have authority over my soldiers. I only need to say, ‘Go,’ and they go, or ‘Come,’ and they come. And if I say to my slaves, ‘Do this,’ they do it.”
When Jesus heard this, he was amazed. Turning to those who were following him, he said, “I tell you the truth, I haven’t seen faith like this in all Israel!” – Matthew 8:5-10, NLT
This is one of my favorite passages about faith. In fact, I wrote a devo about it for work. Here’s some of what I said…
What an astonishing comment by Jesus! He found in the Roman officer more faith than in all the people of Israel – God’s chosen people.
What were the marks of this outstanding faith?
Compassion – The Roman officer approached Jesus in behalf of someone else, a young man who suffered in “terrible pain.”
Humility – The Roman officer knew that he was “not worthy to have [Jesus] come into [his] home.”
Belief – The Roman officer also knew that somehow Jesus controlled all of nature – and could do so with only a word: “Just say the word … and my servant will be healed.”
Submission – The Roman officer did not ask Jesus to heal his servant. He simply stated the situation: that the servant suffered with paralysis and pain. The officer demanded nothing of Jesus. The officer left it up to Jesus to heal … or not. He trusted in the goodness of Jesus’ divine will.
What I love about this passage is that this man’s faith was so paradoxical. He says to Jesus that he has authority over soldiers, that they come and go as he commands.
And, yet, when he approaches Jesus, he takes no position of authority. Quite the opposite. He asks Jesus to help him serve his sick servant and he does it with humble, submissive belief.
And I especially love that he wasn’t looking for something for himself; he sought help for somebody else!
But what do we often hear: Just believe and God will deliver. Really? Like He’s standing by, waiting for our words of faith to turn on his faucet of blessings…
Jesus was astounded because this man’s faith knew that Jesus could do ANYTHING, yet the man trusted Jesus’ cosmic wisdom whether or not to act, whether or not to heal.
These truths help me so much! My responsibilities include leading a ministry, and, since my husband died, raising two teenage girls alone. It can overwhelm. It DOES overwhelm.
But I know this. God can do anything in my daughters’ lives and in the ministry. I can trust Him to accomplish ANYTHING! There’s no burden I have to bear that He can’t carry and turn out any way He wants.
And I also know that He will do what’s best. I can ask for the moon and I’ll get it if it’s best for me, the ministry, and the girls, if it serves God’s greater glory and our good.
The Cross proves that to me. If He would die for me, why would He hold one good thing back from me, even if that “good” thing seems a tough thing at the time (Romans 8:32)?
Dear Lord: Please help me have faith like the Roman officer. Help me be compassionate, humble, and submissive when I come to you with my needs. Because, Jesus, I KNOW You can do ANYTHING!!! Amen