When Jesus returned to Capernaum, a Roman officer came and pleaded with him, 6 “Lord, my young servant lies in bed, paralyzed and in terrible pain.” 7 Jesus said, “I will come and heal him.” 8 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. 9 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.” 10 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! 11 And I tell you this, that many Gentiles will come from all over the world—from east and west—and sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob at the feast in the Kingdom of Heaven. 12 But many Israelites—those for whom the Kingdom was prepared—will be thrown into outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
I am very impressed with this Roman soldier who made no attempt to impress Jesus and yet he did just that and he may have been the only person to “Amaze” Jesus. What was so amazing about this Roman Soldier? I think there is one thing in particular that amazed Jesus and it amazes me as well and we will get to it but let’s not start with that point: let’s build up to that point.
The first thing I want to say about the Roman Officer is…
I. HE CAME TO JESUS WITH THE RIGHT APPROACH
If you don’t think that approach is important, ask the 298 surviving members of the Asian Jet liner that crashed as it was trying to land at San Francisco last week. The pilot let his air speed get to slow on his approach to San Francisco International. This airport is very difficult because the strip begin just inside the sea wall of the bay. He got to low and by the time his instructor told him to throttle up it was too late. The tail hit and came off and two people were killed and 20 more are in critical condition. APPROACH is everything in landing a plane and it is also vital in coming to Christ.
The Roman officer’s approach was perfect. He came to Jesus…
- In Humility. He did not come demanding but he came pleading, literally begging. When Jesus volunteered to go to his house, he said, “Lord, I am not worthy to have you come into my home.” What incredible humility. You can come to Christ today but your approach is everything…you must come as the Roman Officer came, in deep humility.
- In Faith. The Officer’s faith was incredible. He said to Jesus, “Just say the word from where you are, and my servant will be healed.” Wow, what faith, just speak the word. No signs in the
- heavens, no goose bumps, no touch or you kidding, just say the word. How many of us have this kind of faith. We wants signs; we want warm and fuzzy feelings but he said, “Just say the word and its done.”
- In Ernest. The Officer’s servant was in severe pain and he was deeply concerned. Their was a sense of urgency in his voice, “Lord, my servant is in bed and racked with pain.”
II. HE CAME IN BEHALF OF ANOTHER
You have to be impressed with this man. There was nothing selfish in his request. No only did he come in behalf of someone else, he came in behalf of his servant. He wasn’t there to plead for a family member or a peer: he came to plead for his servant. How would you like to work for a man who loved his employees like this man. How much our world needs men like this Roman Soldier who will come to Christ in behalf of the needs of others. What are the characteristics of an Intercessor?
- They know where to go…He came straight to Jesus, amen!
- They are focused on others…I’m not saying that this man has no problems but what ever they were, he doesn’t mention them. People who are wrapped up in their own needs make poor intercessors. One of the things that makes the CROSS so incredible is that while Jesus was in deep agony, He was thinking of us. WOW! Is that intercession or what!
- They care deeply. You have to have compassion to intercede. This man loved his servant and he was hurting him to see his servant suffer. He came to Jesus with one thing on his mind, “Getting heIp and healing for his servant. How would you like to have a friend like the Roman Centurion?
III. HE CAME WITH UNDERSTANDING
This is what makes the story so incredible and this is what impressed Jesus. He was not trying to impress Jesus but that is what he did because he understood the basic principle of the KINGDOM which is AUTHORITY. I am telling you, most people do not understand what his man understood.
- Everyone is under authority: even those in authority like himself were under a higher authority. Note what he said to Jesus, “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.” This man had soldiers under his command but he also had officers who ranked above him and he was under their command. Complying with orders was not an option in the Roman army. You did what you were commanded to do. Once an order was issued, it became virtual reality. He understood the authority of a word.
- Authority comes down, it does not go up. For the Roman, it came from the Emperor through the ranking officers. Centurions did not give the Emperor orders. The Centurion understood his power but he knew that there was a higher power, a greater power above him.
- There is authority in the spoken word. Orders can be written but at this man’s level they were most likely to be spoken. This is why he said to Jesus, “I only need to say go and they go or come and they come.”
This brings us to the primary principle of the KINGDOM and that is AUTHORITY. The kingdom begins for you or I when we come voluntarily under the authority of Christ. If you are not under HIS AUTHORITY, you are not in HIS KINGDOM. There is no anarchy in His Kingdom. There is no such thing as partial authority; either He has it or He does not. You can not be under His authority in one area of your life and reserve the rest for your authority. You are either under or in rebellion. I can just imagine what you are thinking: if what I just said is true, there are a lot of lost people in our churches. I would concur, I think there are. The authority of Christ is the basic principle of the kingdom and it cannot be compromised: if God were to allow such a compromise, the kingdom would be destroyed.
- Is Jesus LORD of your life? I didn’t say LORD, I said LORD of your life?
- Do you profess Him as Savior and deny Him as LORD? How do you justify that position with scripture?