The Faith Of A Centurion

The Faith Of A Centurion

Thursday’s Column: Captain’s Blog

Carl Pollard

In 1999 John F. Kennedy Jr. flew his small airplane from New York City to his family home in Massachusetts for a wedding. On board were his wife Carolyn and her sister. Though Kennedy was a licensed pilot, he had not yet been approved for instrument flight (using only instruments to navigate). When their takeoff was delayed until after dark, Kennedy should have waited for daylight or sought a more experienced pilot to help. Yet, Kennedy took off into the darkness. The plane never reached its destination, and all three passengers were killed in the crash.

Investigators determined that the crash was likely caused by disorientation from flying over open water at night without any landmarks or visible horizon. Kennedy’s lack of experience may well have led him to trust what he thought he was seeing more than what his instrument panel was telling him.

As humans we tend to feel comfortable with what we can see with our own eyes. That’s why blind dates never seem to go well. We want to see who we are going out with before we get there. We read of a man in Scripture who trusted the Messiah more than his own eyes. 

In Matthew chapter 8, starting in verse five, it says, “When he had entered Capernaum, a centurion came forward to him, appealing to him,  ‘Lord, my servant is lying paralyzed at home, suffering terribly.’ And he said to him, ‘I will come and heal him.’ But the centurion replied, ‘Lord, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof, but only say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I too am a man 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.’ When Jesus heard this, he marveled and said to those who followed him, ‘Truly, I tell you, with no one in Israel have I found such faith.’”

This centurion comes to Jesus with a faith that caused Jesus to marvel. It’s rare to find someone with this kind of faith. Many today have a hard time trusting others, and for good reason since many have evil intentions. But we must be careful not to let this impact our faith in God. We can and should trust in the Lord. He cares for our well being and we can rely on Him. We can be wary of the world, but we should never believe God to be a liar. 

The centurion came to Jesus with a great faith. But why was it great? Notice what he says to Jesus, “You don’t even have to come.” He believed that Jesus had the power to heal his servant without even being present. Most people in his position would have wanted to see Jesus heal in person. That way you could watch Jesus do it, and watch the sickness leave. But the centurion was so confident in Christ that he knew his servant would be healed, even though he was separated from him. He saw Jesus for who He was. A man/God with power and authority. 

Verse 13 says, “And to the centurion Jesus said, ‘Go; let it be done for you as you have believed.’ And the servant was healed at that very moment.” The centurion’s faith was placed in the right thing. His faith paid off and his servant was healed “at that very moment.” He would go home to a perfectly healthy servant. And that is the result of a great faith in the Almighty God. 

Is my faith as strong as this centurion?