Be a Soldier of Christ

Matthew 8: 5-11 Isa 4:2-6 / Psa 122

Lord, I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof; only say the word and my servant will be healed. (Matthew 8: 8)

Take the Centurion as your model If you must be a soldier of Christ. Engage the enemy in battle, For our eternal life is the prize.

When Jesus entered Capernaum, a centurion approached Him and appealed to Him, saying, “Lord, my servant is lying at home paralyzed, suffering dreadfully.” He said to him, “I will come and cure him.” The centurion said in reply, “Lord, I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof; only say the word and my servant will be healed. For I too am a person subject to authority, with soldiers subject to me. I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come here,’ and he comes; and to my slave, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” When Jesus heard this, He was amazed, and said to those following Him, “Truly, I say to you, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith. I say to you, many will come from the east and the west, and will recline with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob at the banquet in the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 8:5-11)

Reflection

As we enter this season of Advent, the first lessons that the Gospel teaches us are about compassion, humility and faith, qualities that we find in the Roman centurion, who serves as a perfect model if we aspire to become a soldier of Christ. As shown in today’s Gospel, he had genuine compassion for his servant who was “paralyzed and suffering dreadfully” (8:6). He had heard about Jesus, the Great Healer, and went out of his way to seek the Lord for help. The commander’s compassion was matched only by his humility, displayed by his willingness to beg for assistance, his high station notwithstanding. How many of us, under whose authority many subordinates defer and obey, will personally attend to the needs of our servant when we learn that he is sick? Wouldn’t we rather put the burdensome affair into the hands of our assistant? Or perhaps even assume that the matter will be taken care of by one of our subordinates?

Being compassionate and humble, it was but natural that the man would also be respectful, as well as considerate of other peoples’ customs and traditions. When Jesus said He would go with him to heal his servant, the centurion responded, “Lord, I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof.” He didn’t want Jesus’ principles as a Jew compromised by entering a gentile’s house. And best of all, the centurion showed great faith in the power of God’s Word.

What does it mean to be “a soldier of Christ” as exemplified by the Roman centurion? First of all, a soldier of Christ knows that the greatest battle that must first be won is within. The world is not the battlefield; it is our minds and hearts. And the prizes at stake are our souls. For this spiritual battle, we must arm ourselves with the virtues of compassion (love), humility, respect and most important of all, faith. However, these will not serve us well unless we have first committed to “subject ourselves to the authority” and discipline of God, our Father, delegated to His Commander-in-Chief, our Lord, Jesus Christ. His commands and “strategies of warfare” against the forces of evil are all contained in the Bible. If we must be guided accordingly, we should read it prayerfully every day.

We offer You our life, Lord God, to mold according to Your will. Help us to discipline our base desires; bend our will to become humble, compassionate, respectful, and faithful to all Your commands as a good soldier should. Amen.

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