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,
Copyright 2017, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved