The centurion, the character, the miracle – Part 1

Israel Akinadewo

(Luke 7: 1-10)
(1)Now when he had ended all his sayings in the audience of the people, he entered into Capernaum. (2)And a certain centurion’s servant, who was dear unto him, was sick, and ready to die. (3)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. (4)And when they came to Jesus, they besought him instantly, saying, That he was worthy for whom he should do this: (5)For he loveth our nation, and he hath built us a synagogue. (6)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. (7)Wherefore neither thought I myself worthy to come unto thee: but say in a word, and my servant shall be healed. (8)For I am a man set under authority, having under me soldiers, and I say unto one, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it. (9)When Jesus heard these things, he marvelled at him, and turned him about, and said unto the people that followed him, I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel. (10)And they that were sent, returning to the house, found the servant whole that had been sick.

There is a proverb in Yoruba, South West of Nigeria, which says that pele l’ako, o l’abo, which literally means that to appeal to an angry or offended person, it could either be done in a way that will make the concerned to be more angry, or to totally calm him down. The approach matters. It is also to acknowledge that appealing to angry persons, in an aggressive way will aggravate the issue, but if done in in a gentle way will go a long way in solving the matter.

This was exactly the predicament of this centurion, whose servant was at the point of death. He was a man of power and influence, and a good man to the Jews, who himself is acknowledged to have built a Synagogue for the nation. This was the resume presented to Jesus Christ by elders the centurion sent to appeal to the Messiah to come and heal his servant. The elders believed their revered centurion had a very intimidating resume, which would make him get whatever he wanted, including ‘mandating’ Jesus Christ to urgently come and heal his servant. The elders must have thought, “Who would not know this kind-hearted centurion?” “Who, among the Jews would hear his name and not tremble?”

However, despite what the elders thought they knew about the centurion, there was something in him (centurion), which they did not know, hence, their coming to Jesus Christ to display the political influence of the man that sent them. These elders and those around the centurion that did not take their time to understand the level of the centurion’s godliness could not differentiate between secularity and spirituality.

They were ignorant of the fact that earthly positions cannot influence our spiritual needs and growth. They were also not in tune with the fact that they had displayed arrogance in the Messiah’s presence, as if all what they have said about the centurion was what would influence Jesus Christ to heal the servant.

Avoiding praises of overzealous servants and those around us
One of the areas in which several leaders have failed and tumbled is yielding to praises and the “you have no equal among your people” dispositions of their servants and close associates. Just like the elders sent by the centurion to Jesus Christ, these people will always want to add their own words to messages from their masters. Some are even very arrogant that they display this to the people who come around on appointments to see their masters, thereby giving a wrong impression about their leaders’ true character.

Some have even enslaved their masters, to the extent that they only dictate who their masters would see; whom they should relate with; and writing their masters’ speech in a way to project self-righteousness and devaluing the godliness in their masters and replacing this with not-approachable personalities. If Jesus Christ were not to be in spirit, He would not have followed the elders for displaying the earthly personalities of the centurion.

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