Amazingly Unworthy

January 28, 2021

1 When he had concluded saying all this to the people who were listening, he entered Capernaum. 2 A centurion’s servant, who was highly valued by him, was sick and about to die. 3 When the centurion heard about Jesus, he sent some Jewish elders to him, requesting him to come and save the life of his servant. 4 When they reached Jesus, they pleaded with him earnestly, saying, “He is worthy for you to grant this, 5 because he loves our nation and has built us a synagogue.” 6 Jesus went with them, and when he was not far from the house, the centurion sent friends to tell him, “Lord, don’t trouble yourself, since I am not worthy to have you come under my roof. 7 That is why I didn’t even consider myself worthy to come to you. But say the word, and my servant will be healed. 8 For I too am a man placed under authority, having soldiers under my command. I say to this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes; and to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” 9 Jesus heard this and was amazed at him, and turning to the crowd following him, he said, “I tell you, I have not found so great a faith even in Israel.” 10 When those who had been sent returned to the house, they found the servant in good health.

Luke 7:1-10

Written by Josh Lynn from the West Franklin Campus

When was the last time you applied for a job and had to list your references? Or when was the last time you were a reference for someone else? If you think about it, the entire culture around being a reference for someone is a bit odd. For some reason it is expected that when called upon to be a reference, we will give a glowing, over-the-top advocacy for how amazing the person will be in this position or how worthy the person is for that role.

Things weren’t so different in the ancient world. In our passage, we see a Roman centurion—a leader for the foreign occupying force in the Jewish port city of Capernaum—reach out to Jesus for help by way of sending character references in the form of Jewish leaders (7:3). Clearly, the centurion had heard of Jesus’ reputation and ministry, and he believed Jesus could restore his valued servant who was dying.

The Jewish leaders approached Jesus and pled with him to come and save the life of the servant, at the same time praising the worthiness of the centurion. They explained that he was a friend to the Jewish people of the area and that he even supported the building of a synagogue in their town. Like all references, they offered a glowing account of how amazing, admirable, and worthy the centurion was of Jesus’ help.

So, Jesus went.

As He was approaching the centurion’s home, some friends rushed out with a message from the centurion for Jesus to stop. The centurion felt he was unworthy of Jesus’ presence, but he knew Jesus could help him merely by saying the word.

Note what happened next. “Jesus heard this and was amazed at him” (vs. 9). He then turned to the gathered crowd and said, “I tell you, I have not found so great a faith even in Israel.” The centurion was able to believe even before the servant was healed.

There are only two places in Scripture where we’re told that Jesus was amazed—here, and in Mark 6:6 when He was amazed at the disbelief of the people of His hometown.

The theme here should be plain to us. Our inclination is to advocate for ourselves and our friends, giving glowing references of the worthiness we have. But when we are at the feet of Jesus, the only appropriate response is to recognize that despite all our accomplishments, we are truly unworthy of His presence or blessing.

In His hometown, as He stood amazed by their disbelief, Jesus did no miracles. But at Capernaum, before the friends even returned to the centurion’s house, the servant was healed. So, do we want Jesus to be amazed because of our faith or amazed because of our disbelief?

Questions to Ask Yourself

  1. How have you been approaching Jesus lately? Somewhere in your heart, is there a list of the things you’ve done for God or for the church?
  2. If Jesus walked through your neighborhood, what would people write about your interaction with Him?
  3. The next time you pray, try to model your request after the centurion’s message by doing these things:
    • Verbally recognize your unworthiness to have Jesus care for your needs, but your thankfulness that He cares for you anyway.
    • Verbally recognize that Jesus has authority over your needs.
    • Pray that Jesus would help you answer the above questions honestly so you can approach Him with amazingly unworthy humility.

Missions Prayer
Pray for community missions outreach from our campuses to schools in our communities over Christmas to continue to bear fruit of encouragement, hope, and answers only found in Jesus Christ. Pray for open doors to meet needs and have gospel conversations as our education professionals give of themselves in unique ways this school year.