They had him.
Joel wanted to let out a small cry of victory, but refrained. Jesus was coming with them! Joel and several other elders had rushed out to do the centurion's bidding. Deeply moved by the concern he had for his ill servant, they were more then happy to help.
When they found Jesus, they went on and on about how worthy the centurion was! He loved the nation and the people. Why He had even built their synagogue for them!
As they moved through the throngs of people - how did he travel like this? - Joel recognized a messenger from the centurion's house. They weren't very far away. What was he doing here? Had something happened? Were they too late to save the sick servant?
The messenger cast Joel an awkward glance before delivering his message to Jesus. He stumbled over the words, clearly uncertain about the message.
Joel could understand. His jaw had gone slack during the first sentence.
"My master said, '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 when I say to one "Go," and he goes. To another, "Come," and he comes. To my servant, "Do this," and he does it.'"
Joel was even more flabbergasted by what Jesus said next.
Jesus looked at the crowd and loudly said, "I tell you, not even in Israel have I found such faith."
Based on Luke 7:1-10
I found this account to be pretty cool. The centurion guy is pretty cool! First of all, he is concerned for the welfare of his servant. His servant! It was not uncommon to treat your servants like garbage, but this man actually cared about his. The centurion sends out elders among the Jewish people to find Jesus, and bring him back to his house to heal his sick servant. They go! When they get to Jesus, they go on and on about what a good man the centurion is. "He loves our nation." "He is a worthy man!" "He built our synagogue!"
But then the centurion sends out more messengers. This one with the message that he is in fact, not worthy enough to have Jesus cross the threshold of his house.
But wasn't the point to convince Jesus that he was worthy? Why say something to the contrary?
This man knew what power and authority were, and he knew that Jesus possessed that, but he also knew that no one was worthy compared to Jesus. He wasn't going to pretend. He knew Who was worthy, and he had no problem recognizing that.
So often, we try to be worthy. We boast our worthiness. But it's just not something we have or can earn. Jesus makes us worthy. In God's eyes, we are worthy. Not because of anything we did or could ever hope to do. No, it's a gift. It's grace. It's life.
"Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God." 1 Corinthians 6:9-11
Lets face it, we are all these things. Maybe not to the worst degree imaginable, but we are. But we were washed, sanctified, and justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ by the Spirit of our God. We are made worthy because He is worthy.
V. Joy Palmer