God’s Presence

2013.09.05

“The centurion replied, “Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed.”

(Matthew 8:8)

Reflection:

One day as Jesus was entering Capernaum a Gentile centurion approached Him. He asked Jesus to help his servant who was lying at home paralysed and in terrible suffering. Jesus, ignoring the laws that forbade a Jew to enter a Gentile home, immediately offered to go and heal him. Much to His surprise the centurion responded with the words above – going on to say that he understood authority because he was both under authority and in authority himself. The centurion derived his authority from his superiors and his orders were therefore obeyed.

 His understanding and trust were still remarkable. He gave orders to other men who then carried them out. In the case of Jesus he saw that there was another power at work, and that it was enough for Jesus to speak the words of command. Jesus did so, and the servant ‘was healed at that very hour.’

 This clearly underlines the power and authority of God who does only have to speak the word for something to take place. In doing so He expresses both His desire and His intention and ensures that it is carried out.

  • “God said, ‘Let there be light’ and there was light.” (Gen 1:3)
  • “He sent forth His word and healed them.” (Psalm 107:20)
  • “My word … will accomplish what I desire.” ( Isaiah 55:11)
  • Jesus “got up and rebuked the wind and the raging waters … and all was calm.” (Luke 8:24)

 Notwithstanding this great power most of Jesus healing miracles took place in very close proximity to the sufferer and often involved touch. This is highlighted in the incident immediately following the healing of the centurion’s servant. Finding Peter’s mother-in-law suffering with a fever He ‘touched her hand’ and the fever left her. The touch was clearly unnecessary for the healing but it would have conveyed far more.

 Throughout His ministry Jesus paid great attention to people. He seemed far more interested in establishing a relationship with them than merely exercising His power from a distance. In the latter case He would have been little more than a powerful healer – available when needed but nothing else. In reality He was more intent on sharing His person than just His power. It is in His person that our salvation and relationship with God lie. So He calls us to Come to Him, Follow Him, and Remain in Him – and promises His presence in our lives. Through Him we become sons and daughters of the Father – not just distant patients!

 In this case Jesus had been willing to go to the servant Himself, as He had done in other instances. Here however He had clearly decided to affirm the centurion’s faith and use it to teach an important and real point.

Response:

Do I try and use Jesus to meet my needs or have I a real relationship with Him as Lord and Saviour?

Prayer:

Lord Jesus please help me to love and honour You more, and not only try to make use of You when I want something. Amen.

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