When Enemies Are Really Friends


    True friends are hard to come by. But in Matthew 8 and Luke 7 we see a host of them. A Roman Centurion lived in Capernaum who loved the Jewish people and built them a synagogue. He had a young servant, a child, who by accident or illness was paralyzed and in severe pain. It bothered him to see the kid suffer.


    He asked his Jewish friends if they could get Jesus to heal the boy. The Jews came to Jesus and told him about the Centurion and his servant. Jesus offered to go at once. The way Luke tells the story, it seems the Centurion got word that Jesus was on His way. It was unlawful for a Jew to mingle with Gentiles, but the Jew of Jews, the Messiah God, was about to step into his home and make Himself unclean.


    The Centurion was humbled. And grateful. But he did not want to dishonor Him. The following words revealing the understanding of the Centurion are the only time faith astonished Jesus.


    “The centurion answered and said, Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof: but speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed.

    For I am a man under authority, having soldiers under me: and I say to this man, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it.  When Jesus heard it, he marvelled, and said to them that followed, Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel.”

                                                                        –Matthew 8:8-10 KJV


    The point for today is not the faith of the Centurion but the willingness of Jesus. Look to the extent He would go for the Roman soldier. The soldier who represented the oppression of Israel and the gods of a pagan country. Matthew leaves out the testimony of the Centurion’s friends. He knew that to Jesus the man’s position meant little. What mattered was that he asked. Matthew had seen many miracles, none dependent on any title. What mattered was belief. Jesus asked people, “Do you believe…” Matthew knew Jesus touched lepers. He touched dead boys in caskets. He would become unclean for those who wanted and needed Him.


    Stooping to our level is never an issue for God. That is what the cross was all about. He humbled Himself to lift us up, to give us honor and make us clean.


    It was another Centurion in another town who honored Jesus’ death. It was a fitting eulogy, and one that endures. He said, “Truly, this man was the Son of God.” (Mark 15:39 KJV)


    He still is the Son of God. He is not on a cross or in a grave; He is seated at the right of God. But He’s still willing to meet you on your level. The Centurion dared to ask. The lepers, the blind and the hurting dared to ask.


    What is it that you want to ask? Need to ask? For yourself or another? Dare to believe that He will answer.


    Image courtesy of Pixabay.com


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