A centurion approached Him and appealed to Him, saying, “Lord, my servant is lying at home paralyzed, suffering dreadfully.”Matthew 8:5-10, 13
He said to him, “I will come and cure him.”
The centurion said in reply, “Lord, I am not worthy to have You enter under my roof; only say the word and my servant will be healed. For I too am a person subject to authority, with soldiers subject to me. And I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come here,’ and he comes; and to my slave, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.”
When Jesus heard this, He was amazed and said to those following Him, “Amen, I say to you, in no one in Israel have I found such faith…” And Jesus said to the centurion, “You may go; as you have believed, let it be done for you.”
And at that very hour his servant was healed.
The centurion’s faith amazed Our Lord. It consisted in the understanding that Christ, who appeared to be a man like any other, truly had charge of such things as disease and health. Just as an officer has authority over his troops and a master over his slave, so the Lord has authority over all things.
God created everything from nothing. Before creation, only He existed. Even time is a creation for the sake of material beings. Before time, God is eternally.
Creation–the act of giving existence–belongs to God. When He created, it was necessary that He give of Himself. He wanted creation to exist, so He Who is Existence itself made it to participate in His existence. He wanted it to be beautiful, so He Who is Beauty Itself allowed it to participate in His beauty.
God wanted His creatures to have some powers of their own, so He allowed them to participate in His powers. These powers are called their “natures”. He created the sun to illuminate the heavens and heat the earth. Although God enlightens and warms better than the sun, He loved the sun and gave it some of His own power.
In His goodness, God wanted living creatures to participate even in the act of creation; they cannot bring anything into existence from nothing, but they can sustain themselves. He gave them powers to take in food, to grow, to heal themselves, and to procreate–to pass on an existence like their own to another.
Each nature is an echo of what God has perfectly. Because all the powers of nature are from God, His powers are first and greatest. Although nature’s derived powers are more apparent to us, God’s powers are truly primary. We see this most profoundly in death.
Death is natural. It happens when nature’s powers fail. While the nature of a living creature is to heal itself from disease or injury, everything dies. The derivative powers of nature cannot sustain themselves forever.
When the centurion made his profession of faith, he acknowledged the supreme power of God. Everyone else, seeing nature’s powers, would have given up. His servant was dying, but he believed.
In asking for a healing, the centurion witnesses to his faith that God can act where nature has failed. God’s power is stronger than nature’s, for His power is first. All the centurion needed was Christ’s word–His goodwill–and he knew all would be well.
His faith was so strong, he didn’t even insist Christ come to prove His powers. That faith granted Him the miracle, the healing of his servant. May we have such faith as we pray, “Lord, I am not worthy…”