“After Jesus had finished all his sayings in the hearing of the people, he entered Capernaum. A centurion there had a slave whom he valued highly, and who was ill and close to death. When he heard about Jesus, he sent some Jewish elders to him, asking him to come and heal his slave. When they came to Jesus, they appealed to him earnestly, saying, “He is worthy of having you do this for him, for he loves our people, and it is he who built our synagogue for us.” And Jesus went with them, but when he was not far from the house, the centurion sent friends to say to him, “Lord, do not trouble yourself, for I am not worthy to have you come under my roof; therefore I did not presume to come to you. But only speak the word, and let my servant be healed. For I also am a man set under authority, with soldiers under me; and I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes, and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes, and to my slave, ‘Do this,’ and the slave does it.” When Jesus heard this he was amazed at him, and turning to the crowd that followed him, he said, “I tell you, not even in Israel have I found such faith.” When those who had been sent returned to the house, they found the slave in good health.” (Luke 7:1-10)
Healing stories are hard for me right now. And no more so than healing stories that rest on faith and authority. Before I say more, let me look at and consider this story.
The Jewish elders, we can presume, are not of the same ilk that Jesus criticizes but good men in whom leadership and strong belief rest. They undertake to seek out Jesus and on the behalf of this centurion ask that Jesus come and heal the centurion’s slave who he is very fond of. That speaks well of the centurion, and that the Jewish leaders also hold the centurion in high regard says great deal too. Not all Romans were the enemy to the Jews, just as not all Jewish leaders were opposed to Jesus (nor he to them.) In the midst of the mutual affirmation and camaraderie, the centurion sends a message to Jesus that just the authority of Jesus spoken word would be enough to accomplish the healing. That Jesus’ authority over life and death is very much like the centurion’s authority to those under him – it is accomplished without question. And the centurion’s faith in Jesus is commended and rewarded, and as we see is this story, Jesus’ authority was very real and true.
The centurion asked for healing for his servant because without that healing his servant would lose his/her ability to function and even his/her life. I do not mean the centurion was thinking only of what the servant could do for him, but that the servant’s functionality and life was in danger. And because of their relationship, the centurion desired his servant to be healing.
Now, back to me. I often wonder if I am lacking in faith, and faith in the Lord, because I do not ask for healing for myself. I have to confess, I have wrestled with this many times over. And each time I come out at the same place, that healing is not mine to ask for. That does not mean I do not think I am worthy or deserving of faith. Or that I do not believe the Lord can heal. Nor that I do not think my situation is not serious enough to need healing. Nor even that I do not have people who would be found worthy by the Lord to ask for healing on my behalf. And, let me hasten to add, that I think it entirely good and proper that people of faith ask the Lord for healing. But what I have found over the years, for my self, is that the Lord’s grace and blessing to me has been sufficient for my to cope with what has come my way in terms of ill health.
I have asked many times for help and strength in dealing with other things in my life – both work and personal, and help within my circle of friends, family, and faith groups. The Lord has seen me through so many things, such that I have not needed healing to be able to be the person I feel the Lord has called me to.
But in spite of my ill health, I can function. And I trust in the Lord to give me the strength and ability to continue functioning in whatever capacity the Lord calls me to. And if you allow, beloved reader, I think that calls for a good deal of faith on my part.
May you, beloved reader, place all of your faith in the Lord trusting in the authority that the Lord has over all things. Selah!