The Unlikely Story
This reflection on Luke 7:1-11 draws on the role of story-telling in inspiring our faith.
7 After Jesus had finished all his sayings in the hearing of the people, he entered Capernaum. 2 A centurion there had a slave whom he valued highly, and who was ill and close to death. 3 When he heard about Jesus, he sent some Jewish elders to him, asking him to come and heal his slave.
4 When they came to Jesus, they appealed to him earnestly, saying, ‘He is worthy of having you do this for him, 5 for he loves our people, and it is he who built our synagogue for us.’
6 And Jesus went with them, but when he was not far from the house, the centurion sent friends to say to him, “Lord, do not trouble yourself, for I am not worthy to have you come under my roof; 7 therefore I did not presume to come to you. But only speak the word, and let my servant be healed. 8 For I also 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 slave, ‘Do this,’ and the slave does it.”
9 When Jesus heard this he was amazed at him, and turning to the crowd that followed him, he said, ‘I tell you, not even in Israel have I found such faith.’ 10 When those who had been sent returned to the house, they found the slave in good health.
New Revised Standard Version
The story of the centurion in Luke 7:1-10 highlights the power of sharing stories. The centurion, who had not met Jesus nor seen what he had done, responded on behalf of his servant from what he had heard. The stories he had been told helped him draw two conclusions – Jesus is worthy of respect and honour, and Jesus has authority over sickness.
What stories do we share that help inform others of who Jesus is?
Jesus responds to the request by saying something that would shock his hearers, ‘I tell you, not even in Israel have I found such faith’ (v. 9d). Israel, as the nation who held a covenant relationship with God, should be the obvious place of faith. But faith was found in a non-Israelite who responded with an uncomplicated openness to what he had heard. Now we, with many who have gone before, have heard the centurion’s story – a man who showed a deep compassion for the one who served him and a generous and loving stance towards his community.
Lord, may we respond by faith to what we hear,
and use our mouths to share who you are.
May we tell of your good deeds and love,
and inspire faith in those around us.
Help us to have compassion for those in need,
and respond in love with acts of generosity