There’s a story about a military leader, a centurion, who desires Jesus to heal his dying servant.
The centurion doesn’t approach Jesus himself, but instead he calls in a favor, asking some Jewish leaders to go on his behalf. If these men are like most of the religious leaders we read about in the Bible, they don’t like Jesus and must be humiliated to ask him for help.
In presenting their case, the Jewish leaders claim the centurion is worthy to receive Jesus’ assistance. This perspective is consistent with the people’s understanding of the Old Testament, which they see as focusing on right behavior.
Despite the admirable qualities of the centurion, the reality is no one deserves God’s favor. But while we can’t earn God’s attention, he gives it anyway.
Jesus agrees to help, but the centurion deems himself unworthy to meet Jesus or for Jesus to come to his house. In and of ourselves, we are not worthy either; it’s only through Jesus that we become worthy.
Jesus is amazed at the centurion’s faith; the servant is made well in absentia.
[Read through the Bible with us this year. Today’s reading is Luke 7-9, and today’s post is on Luke 7:1-10.]
Read more about the book of Luke in That You May Know: A 40-Day Devotional Exploring the Life of Jesus from the Gospel of Luke, now available in e-book, paperback, and hardcover.
Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices.
Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.
4 replies on “It Doesn’t Matter if You’re Worthy or Not”
The idea that Jesus is an all powerful male God persists today. As such a centurion who was a commander of a centuria, which was the smallest unit of a Roman legion, would not feel worthy to be in the presence of a more powerful male commander.
What is striking about the Luke 7 passage is the Centurion’s recognition of Jesus’ authority. As you pointed out Peter, the religious leaders were not in “friendly” accord with Jesus. They like military commanders were trained to put personal feelings aside when performing their duty to keep and enforce the Law. In contrast, Jesus’ authority comes from being in friendly accord, being in an eternal “friendly” triune relationship that exists to care for and bring wholeness to all Creation…even the smallest and the most insignificant unit!
Linda, thanks for adding to the discussion.
It’s so great that we can all approach Jesus without an intermediary!
Well not quite. Remember it is about discipleship and friendship. The Centurion recognized Jesus’ authority and the way to approach Jesus. The Centurion didn’t send in troops to conquer Jesus. An intermediary is a peacemaker and someone who will go and bring two opposing forces together. And sometimes as Paul mentions in Romans, people have a mind that is focused on the flesh rather than the heart (Romans 8:6; 27). However, the Spirit is the one who brings life and peace and intercedes for all and yahoo Jesus is an intermediary and an advocate that works to keep people’s hearts healthy. Jesus calls the disciples to be peacemakers…to be intermediaries (Ephesians 2:14). So if people are opposed to Jesus or not too sure about Jesus’ credentials, they do need a friend to help them get acquainted with Jesus. And all Christians need to be discipled and become better acquainted with the WORD….the Bible so they can live into the life God has planned and live in peace.
You Peter are helping me become better acquainted with the Word. Thank you!