Monday, October 28, 2013
When I was growing up there were quite a few epic biblical movies. I can remember Ben-Hur. It was a bit difficult to think of Charlton Heston as a young Jew after seeing him just a few years before growing old as Moses, but it was an awesome story. I remember how Romans were portrayed – strong, authoritative, powerful and arrogant. Richard Burton had been such a Roman just a few years before both of these movies. Rome controlled the Mediterranean and beyond.
Sunday morning I was reminded of a Roman who fit into God’s category:
He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God? (Micah 6:8 KJV)
Yep, a humble – yet widely respected – Roman.
Beginning in Luke 7, Jesus had just finished what is called in Matthew the Sermon on the Mount and head into Capernaum:
Now when he had ended all his sayings in the audience of the people, he entered into Capernaum. (Luke 7:1 KJV)
A Roman centurion heard Jesus was coming, also heard of His healing and the Roman had a dear servant who was ready for death. Ready. Think about that – I did for the first time Sunday. Oh, I had read these verses before, many times. But this time I noticed:
And a certain centurion's servant, who was dear unto him, was sick, and ready to die. (Luke 7:2 KJV)
I have had several friends and family members become ill and die. I can honestly say there is only one that said she was ready. I believe her because she has been truthful before. She has inoperable cancer and her doctors have confirmed liver failure. But she is prepared, and ready to die. Many of her friends are not as ready, just as the Roman was not as ready as his servant. He called Jewish leaders and asked them to take his case to Jesus.
And when he heard of Jesus, he sent unto him the elders of the Jews, beseeching him that he would come and heal his servant. And when they came to Jesus, they besought him instantly, saying, That he was worthy for whom he should do this: For he loveth our nation, and he hath built us a synagogue. (Luke 7:3-5 KJV)
He was worthy. Only – he felt he wasn’t:
Then Jesus went with them. And when he was now not far from the house, the centurion sent friends to him, saying unto him, Lord, trouble not thyself: for I am not worthy that thou shouldest enter under my roof: Wherefore neither thought I myself worthy to come unto thee:
Is that why there were times we couldn’t approach Jesus? Is that why we could not open our hearts and invite Him in? Because we were not worthy? Oh, that we could have understood His power, as the Roman did:
but say in a word, and my servant shall be healed. (Luke 7:6-7 KJV)
He did not feel worthy – but He knew what Jesus could do.
Tomorrow we’ll read a bit more and think about what Jesus did, what He said – and what it means to us. Overnight, think about the Roman, the power behind him, the authority he wielded and the fact all this was said without meeting Jesus.