Blessed… You Are Loved

When Jesus went to Capernaum, a centurion approached, pleading with him, “Lord, my servant is flat on his back at home, paralyzed, and his suffering is awful.” Jesus responded, “I’ll come and heal him.” But the centurion replied, “Lord, I don’t deserve to have you come under my roof. Just say the word and my servant will be healed. I’m a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes, and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and the servant does it.” When Jesus heard this, he was impressed and said to the people following him, “I say to you with all seriousness that even in Israel I haven’t found faith like this.  I say to you that there are many who will come from east and west and sit down to eat with Abraham and Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven.  But the children of the kingdom will be thrown outside into the darkness. People there will be weeping and grinding their teeth.” Jesus said to the centurion, “Go; it will be done for you just as you have believed.” And his servant was healed that very moment (Matthew 8:5-13, Common English Bible).

I am currently preaching a sermon series titled, “Seven Essential Questions.” This Sunday’s sermon title is, “Am I Accepted?” My Scripture text will be John 8:1-11, the story of the woman caught in adultery. But, it also could have been this story.

The centurion, who wants Jesus to heal his servant doesn’t want Jesus to come to his home. Who knows, maybe he didn’t clean house before he left to find Jesus and is too embarrassed to have Jesus over for a visit. What we do know is, he doesn’t believe he deserves to have Jesus over and says as much.

In truth, he is right. He didn’t deserve to have Jesus over to heal his servant or to come over for a cup of coffee or to have dinner. But, here is a news flash for all of us. We aren’t worthy of that either!

What is interesting, however is, Jesus had a habit of going to visit with the people who aren’t deserving. Zacchaeus was a guy who believed himself to be so unworthy, just to have a chance for a glimpse of Jesus he climbed a tree. When Jesus announced he was going to Zacchaeus’ home, Zacchaeus went about trying to clean up his mess. Truly, Zacchaeus wasn’t worthy even after trying to make things right. It was absolutely a step in the right direction, but he still wasn’t worthy, at least not on his own.

Jesus is who made Zacchaeus worthy. If the centurion in today’s lesson would have allowed it, Jesus would have made him worthy too. Jesus was impressed with the guy for having a faith that knew healing was possible even via long distance, but Jesus actually makes the centurion worthy. Jesus makes us worthy too.

Jesus making us worthy can be summed up in one word, grace and it comes by faith. The centurion had faith in Jesus and Jesus can use that faith to make the person worthy. It’s grace. And just as the centurion can become worthy, so can we. It doesn’t happen because of anything we do. It happens because Jesus responds with grace to the faith in our hearts.

How do you know yourself to be worthy of the grace of Jesus Christ?

Have a blessed day in the Lord.

Joy, Peace and Thanksgiving,
Keith

Copyright 2017, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved

Author:

Spirita Spiro (Esperanza for "Spirit's Breath) is rather new in my life. But the blog is not. I began writing a blog several years ago. It lived under the title, "The Pastor Ponders." Over the years I have tried several different names and "The Pastor Ponders" always seemed to fit best. I am trying again with Spirita Spiro. For 27 years I was a full-time pastor in the United Methodist Church. This year, August 2018, I semi-retired (I can't actually retire quite yet) and began teaching social studies. It is something I have always wanted to do and if I was going to do this, I needed to make it sooner rather than later. So, I made the move. I thought with the career change there also needed to be a name change to the blog and other things, such as spiritual direction. Spirita Spiro is my attempt to share some of my thoughts. I often share what I am thinking with my dog "Bishop," but he keeps his thoughts to himself. He will even go to sleep sometimes while I am sharing my thoughts with him. The truth is, if it doesn't involve getting his ears scratched, his belly rubbed or some kind of treat, he really doesn't care. I will say this for him, he never argues with me or tells me I am wrong. So, I decided to share some of my thoughts with whoever might come across this blog in their ramblings around the Internet. I live with my wife Cindy and our little dog in Lufkin, Texas. I spent the past 27 years as a full-time United Methodist pastor. Most recently I served as pastor of First United Methodist Church in Sweeny, Texas. I have also served United Methodist congregations throughout East Texas including rural Madison County (Elwood UMC), Lovelady (First UMC) and Kennard (Center Hill UMC), Canton (First UMC), rural Smith County (Mt. Sylvan UMC and Union Chapel UMC), Grapeland (First UMC), Tyler (Pleasant Retreat UMC), Santa Fe (Aldersgate UMC), Freeport (First UMC) and Oyster Creek (Oyster Creek UMC), Diboll (First UMC), and now Sweeny (First UMC). My wife Cindy and I have been married for over 40 years. We have two grown sons. Wayne and his wife Nikki and all our grandsons (Kaleb, Noah, and Jaxon) live in Southern California. Christopher and his wife Morgan and both our granddaughters (Jenna and Natalie) live in Tyler Texas. I enjoy preaching and all aspects of preaching from research to writing to the actual preaching event. I also love writing, reading, playing the guitar as well as a bit of drawing. I have spent quite a bit of time over the past two years working with paracord on various projects, mostly prayer ropes I usually give away. I sing bass with a local barbershop chorus called The Coastalaires. I have also recently begun doing a little wood carving. I also enjoy playing with Bishop, something he likes a great deal better than listening to my thoughts. I hold an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Business Data Processing, specializing in Microcomputers from San Jacinto College in Pasadena, Texas, a Bachelor of Science in Political Science with a minor in History from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, TX, a Master of Divinity from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX and a Doctor of Ministry from Carolina University of Theology. When I was a student at Carolina, the school was in Iron Station North Carolina. They have since relocated to Manassas Virginia (Yeah, go figure, a school named Carolina geographically in Virginia). This blog is mostly devotional writing, but there are other things here too. Just about every week I will either post my sermon manuscript or a video of the worship service. On occasion, I will post something I see in society. Occasionally I write a short story, a poem, or a song and will post it here too. I will say this, my motivations for writing this blog are really selfish. I write it to get what I am thinking out of my head and onto something a bit more permanent. They say, after all, once something is on the internet it never really goes away. Still, I hope you enjoy reading it. And, should you desire, you can one-up Bishop and actually tell me what you think. Who knows, it might generate a bit of discussion between you and me and anyone else who might make their way here. With Joy and Thankfulness, Keith Sweeny, Texas May 2018

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