I want to conclude this week with a couple of stories of faith. The kind of faith in the Healer that brought healing. In Luke 7 there is a story of a Centurion who had that kind of faith. Now this Centurion was not like the others. The Centurion was a Roman soldier and history tells us they were not always likable guys. But this man was different. We can look at the language in Luke’s story and gather that.
“Now a centurion had a servant who was sick and at the point of death, who was highly valued by him.” Luke 7:2
When you look into the story you can see first of all this man’s servant was sick but the statement “highly valued by him” gives you the detail. The Roman soldiers were not especially known for valuing others much less their servants. But the fact that it was stated shows you that this centurion looked on his servant not only as a valuable asset to his home, but possibly as a friend. The centurion heard about Jesus so he requested from the elders of the Jews that they would ask Jesus for him to come heal his servant. The Jews also spoke highly of this centurion which was unusual.
“And when they came to Jesus, they pleaded with him earnestly, saying, ‘He is worthy to have you do this for him, for he loves our nation, and he is the one who built us our synagogue.’” Luke 7:4-5
Here we have seen that the centurion was a good guy, he treated his servants well, and he apparently had some type of friendship with the Jewish elders. Otherwise he would not have been able to appeal to them to get their help for Jesus to come to his house, nor would they have done it. Friendship across cultures was not a common practice back in those days. Then the centurion has second thoughts about Jesus coming to his house.
“And Jesus went with them. When he was not far from the house, the centurion sent friends, saying to him, ‘Lord, do not trouble yourself, for I am not worthy to have you come under my roof. Therefore I did not presume to come to you. But say the word, and let my servant be healed. For I too am a man set 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 servant, ‘Do this’ and he does it.” Luke 7:6-8
As Jesus neared the centurions home, the centurion was humbled to think that He would enter it. So he sends word to Jesus, look I have a lot of people who do what I say, but I am nothing like You so You just say the word and heal my servant from afar. No need for You to come to my home. He was showing humility, he knew his place, even though he was a very important man. Or actually he knew Jesus place! He believed Jesus had the power to heal by a word.
“When Jesus heard these things, he marveled at him, and turning to the crowd that followed him, said, ‘I tell you, not even in Israel have I found such faith.’ And when those who had been sent returned to the house, they found the servant well.” Luke 7:9-10
Don’t miss this, this centurion marveled Jesus with his faith. Oh how I want my faith to be so deep that it could marvel Jesus! This centurion knew who he was dealing with. He had humility, even though he was an important man. But he knew Jesus! He knew that Jesus could just say the word and heal his servant. He didn’t have to lay hands on him. All he had to do was speak it and it “marveled” Jesus.
One more story of healing that is probably my favorite of all healing stories is just one chapter over. This is a story within a story in Luke 8:40-56. Jesus was on his way to a man named Jairus’ house to heal Jairus daughter. Jairus was the ruler of the synagogue and when his daughter fell ill he came and fell at Jesus feet and begged him to come and heal her. While Jesus was on his way there, he was walking in a crowd and this woman, who had been ill for 12 years saw him. She had been to doctor after doctor trying to find answers to her illness but no one had been able to help her. She sees Jesus in the crowd and she thinks if I can just touch the hem of his garment I will be healed. And that is what she does.
“She came up behind him and touched the fringe of his garment, and immediately her discharge of blood ceased. And Jesus said, ‘Who was it that touched me?’ When all denied it, Peter said, ‘Master the crowds surround you and are pressing in on you!’ But Jesus said, ‘Someone touched me, for I perceive that power has gone out from me.’” Luke 8:44-46
This woman’s faith was such that she knew that all she had to do was touch his garment and she reached out. Friends I have had many times in my life I felt I was hanging on by the threads of his garments. But that was enough to hold me together at the time.
“And when the woman saw that she was not hidden, she came trembling, and falling down before him declared in the presence of all the people why she had touched him, and how she had been immediately healed. And he said to her, ‘Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace.’” Luke 8:47-48
I have wondered about this woman many times. I feel like she came trembling and fell down before Jesus because she would have been considered unclean and she was afraid. She could have gotten in serious trouble for being in the crowd much less reaching out and touching Jesus. But Jesus in his love and compassion, heals her by her faith. This time, all she had to do was reach out and touch Him, and she received His healing power. Oh my friends, if you have something you know that needs healing today, whether physical, emotional, or mental, please please reach out and touch the one who can heal you! Our Jehovah-Rapha!