“When Jesus had come down from the mountain, great crowds followed him; and there was a leper who came to him and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, if you chose you can make me clean.” He stretched out his hand and touched him, saying, “I do choose. Be made clean!” Immediately his leprosy was cleansed. Then Jesus said to him, “See that you say nothing to anyone; but go, show yourself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.”
When he entered Capernaum, a centurion came to him, appealing to him and saying, “Lord, my servant is lying at home paralyzed, in terrible distress.” And he said to him, “I will come and cure him.” The centurion answered, “Lord, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof; but only speak the word, and my servant will be healed. For I also am a man 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 him, he was amazed and said to those who followed him, “Truly I tell you, in no one in Israel have I found such faith. I tell you, many will come from east and west and will eat with Abraham and Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of Heaven, while the heirs of the kingdom will be thrown into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” And to the centurion Jesus said, “Go; let it be done for you according to your faith.” And the servant was healed in that hour.”
In Sunday School a couple of weeks ago we talked about the “little people” in Matthew, and how out of everyone in the Bible often these minor characters have the most faith. The centurion exemplifies that. He asks Jesus to heal his servant, and is confident Jesus can do so without even being there! Furthermore, he shows a deep understanding of who Jesus is by calling him a “man under authority.” Basically he says, people will do whatever you tell them, including being healed. What faith!
How different that is from our culture, constantly seeking proof! And Jesus acknowledges his faith, saying He has seen no one, even in Israel, with such faith. And the centurion’s faith is what healed the servant, not Jesus.
The leper also shows this to a smaller extent. He shows that he understands Jesus can choose to heal him. That Jesus is the one with authority, not some uncontrollable spirit or magic power. But I think the lesson from the leper is Jesus’s response. When we have a personal, life-changing encounter with Jesus, it isn’t proper to go tell the whole world about it. Rather, one should take the time to thank God for the blessing.
In this day of social media we are so quick to post to the world, “Look how God has blessed my life!” without first spending quiet time with the Lord. I am personally extremely guilty of this. But, as the one blessing us, GOD deserves our thanks and celebrations first.
Oh my word, I can’t believe I went through this whole process without realizing the EXTREME significance of Jesus’s speech in verses 10-12! Wow, what a statement to the people of Israel! Jesus is telling them that no longer is being a Son of Abraham the path to Heaven. Instead God’s Kingdom is now open to anyone with faith. And guess what, some of those Gentiles have more faith than the Jews, and they are going to be the ones to inherit God’s kingdom if the Jews don’t heed this warning. No wonder the Pharisees hated Jesus…