My father-in-law used to give me a hard time about being a Yankee. In fact, I have told people that one of my greatest accomplishments in life was getting him to say “yankee” in only two syllables. (If you aren’t from the south, you may have to think about that one.) He also told me that as an adopted Texan, I should never ask a person where they were from. “If they’re from Texas, they’ll tell you soon enough. If they ain’t from Texas, you don’t want to embarrass them.”
Texans are known to be a proud group, but the Romans far surpassed them in the pride and arrogance department. This makes the story in Luke 7 all the more amazing. As the story begins, a Roman Centurion is concerned about a slave who was sick. That’s your first clue that something was strange about this story. Slaves were easily replaced – yet he cared about a slave. Then he sent some elders of the Jews to ask Jesus to heal his slave. Romans and Jews did not get along, yet the Jewish leaders were willing to ask Jesus on his behalf. And notice that they asked Jesus, they didn’t demand. Finally, as Jesus is coming, the Centurion sends word: “I’m not worthy to have you come to my house. Just say the word and it will be done.” At the time, Jesus was a rabbi from Nazareth who was just beginning to get a reputation. No one was talking about Him being the Messiah yet. Still, this Centurion recognized the authority Jesus had over the spirits.
“When Jesus heard this, he was amazed at him, and turning to the crowd following him, he said, “‘ tell you, I have not found such great faith even in Israel.’” (Luke 7:9) The faith of this Centurion amazed Jesus. Let that thought soak in a bit. While this story is another story of Jesus healing people who are sick, it is even more a story of faith. We have Christians today who could learn about faith from this Roman. He enlisted his friends in his quest to get Jesus to heal his slave, but he didn’t seek signs or wonders. He asked. His friends asked. He showed even greater faith than those who should have had faith, and his servant was healed.
From the beginning of my wife’s cancer diagnosis, we have done two things. First, we have trusted God that He would be in charge of the medical process. Ok, we complained a lot about the human side of the process, but we have always believed that no matter what doctors did, God would be in charge. We have also asked friends to pray for us. They have prayed. I always knew that people could tell when others were praying for them, but I have never experienced that knowledge and that strength like I have during this time. I pray that while our faith certainly won’t amaze Jesus, that He would bring healing – and I trust Him for that. Whatever difficulty you are going through, you can trust God to take care of things and you can ask God’s people to pray for you. It is the example given to us by one least likely to have faith.
Lord, I trust in You. As we deal with personal issues and health issues we know that all healing comes from You. We ask You to say the word, and send healing: for my wife, for others fighting cancer, and for other issues that trouble our brothers and sisters. We are eternally grateful for your presence in our lives.