The Centurion’s Faith

Matthew 8: 5-11
Isa 2:1-5 / Ps 122: 1-9

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)

What does it take to be Christ’s soldier
To win the battle raging within?
All it takes is total surrender,
Plus a big amount of discipline.

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, “Amen, I say to you, in no one in Israel have I found such 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. . .” (Mt.8:5-11)


That Roman centurion is the perfect model for those who aspire to become soldiers of Christ. As shown in today’s Gospel, he had genuine compassion for his servant who was “paralyzed and suffering dreadfully” (8:6). He went out of his way to seek out the Lord Jesus for help. The commander’s compassion was matched only by his humility, shown in his willingness to beg for assistance, his high station notwith-standing. How many of us, under whose authority a hundred subordinates defer and obey, will personally attend to the needs of our servant when we learn that he is ill? Wouldn’t we rather put the burdensome affair into the hands of our assistant? Maybe 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 Roman commander 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 objected, saying, “Lord, I am not worthy to have you enter my house.” He simply did not want to compromise the principles of Jesus as a Jew by entering a Gentile’s house. But best of all, the centurion showed great faith in the power of God’s Word.

To be a soldier of Christ is to know that the greatest battle that must first be won lies within. The world is not the battlefield; it is our minds and hearts. And the prize at stake are our souls. It takes a great amount of discipline in the formation of a soldier. But to be a soldier of Christ, one must also learn the virtues of compassion, humility, respect and faith. These virtues, however, will not serve us well unless we first commit to subject ourselves to the authority of God and to His discipline.

As heads of our BCBP chapters, we also have a hundred or so “soldiers” under our commission. But unlike the centurion, we consider ourselves chief servants, or more appropriately, servant leaders. We only lead in serving the Lord and our community, and none of our members are subject to us, even as we subject ourselves to the directives of Mancom. Still, as commanders of God’s army, we have the responsibility of mapping out the strategies needed to conquer and win the marketplace for Christ.

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 commander of your army should. Amen.

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