From Heaven With Love


Chapter 32—An Army Officer Asks Help for His Servant

This chapter is based on Matthew 8:5-13; Luke 7:1-17.

Christ was grieved that His own nation should require outward signs of His Messiahship. But He marveled that the centurion who came to Him did not even ask Him to come in person to perform the miracle. “Speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed.” HLv 209.1

The centurion's servant, stricken with palsy, lay at the point of death. Among the Romans, servants were slaves, bought and sold and treated with abuse and cruelty. But the centurion, tenderly attached to his servant, greatly desired his recovery. He believed that Jesus could heal him. The reports he heard had inspired him with faith. HLv 209.2

This Roman was convinced that the Jews’ religion was superior to his own. He had broken through the prejudice and hatred that separated the conquerors from the conquered, and had shown kindness to the Jews. In the teaching of Christ he found that which met the need of the soul. All that was spiritual within him responded to the Saviour's words. But he felt unworthy to come into the presence of Jesus, and appealed to the Jewish elders to request the healing of his servant. They were acquainted with the Great Teacher, and would, he thought, know how to approach Him so as to win His favor. As Jesus entered Capernaum, He was met by a delegation of the elders. They urged that “he was worthy for whom He should do this: for he loveth our nation, and he hath built us a synagogue.” HLv 209.3

Jesus immediately set out for the officer's home; but, pressed by the multitude, He advanced slowly. The centurion, in his self-distrust, sent Him the message, “Lord, ... I am not worthy that Thou shouldest come under my roof.” But the Saviour kept on His way. Venturing at last to approach Him, the centurion said, “Neither thought I myself worthy to come unto Thee.” “Speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed. For I am a man under authority, having soldiers under me: and I say to this man, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it.” As I represent the power of Rome, and my soldiers recognize my authority, so You represent the power of the Infinite God, and all created things obey Your word. You can command the disease to depart, and it shall obey. You can summon heavenly messengers to impart healing virtue. Speak but the word, and my servant shall be healed. HLv 210.1

“When Jesus heard these things, He marveled at him, and turned Him about, and said unto the people that followed Him, I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel.” And to the centurion He said, “As thou hast believed, so be it done unto thee. And his servant was healed in the selfsame hour.” HLv 210.2

In their self-righteousness the Jewish elders commended the centurion because of the favor he had shown to “our nation.” But the centurion said of himself, “I am not worthy.” He trusted not to his own goodness. His faith took hold on Christ in His true character, the Friend and Saviour of mankind. HLv 210.3

When Satan tells you that you are a sinner, tell him that Christ came into the world to save sinners. The plea that we may urge now and ever is our utterly helpless condition that makes His redeeming power a necessity. HLv 210.4

In my hand no price I bring;
Simply to Thy cross I cling.

The Jews saw in Jesus nothing to be desired. But the centurion, educated in the idolatry of Rome, seemingly cut off from spiritual life by education and surroundings, and shut out by the bigotry of the Jews—this man perceived truth to which the children of Abraham were blind. The “Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world” (John 1:9) had shone upon him, and he had discerned the glory of the Son of God. To Jesus this was an earnest of the gathering of souls from all nations to His kingdom. HLv 211.1