Read Luke – Chapter 7
As you read about Jesus and the Centurion (a Roman officer), look at two contrasting attitudes toward Jesus and his power to heal.
The Centurion asked some Jewish leaders to ask Jesus to heal his servant. The leaders appealed to Jesus to help the soldier’s servant on the basis of his love for the Jewish people and his generosity in building them a synagogue — they believed that he deserved it.
Compare that with the attitude of the Centurion himself. He sent servants to meet Jesus on his way, humbly saying he didn’t even deserve to meet Jesus or have him come under his roof. He had observed and recognized Jesus’s authority in God’s upside down Kingdom. He knew all Jesus needed to do was say the word and the natural, physical world obeyed.
This Roman soldier understood the reality of God’s Kingdom and Jesus place of authority in it in a way that many Jewish people did not — and because he recognized Jesus as the one in charge and appropriately humbled himself, Jesus honored him in front of the people for his faith.
Interestingly, Jesus did what was asked of him with both approaches. He started toward the Centurion’s home with the Jewish leaders, despite their appeal of entitlement. And, he honored the humble and faith-filled request of the Centurion. Perhaps Jesus recognizes our level of faith and meets us where we currently are.
Where has entitlement crept into your relationship with Jesus? When you appeal to him to heal a loved one, do you build your case by noting that “she loves you so much” or “he has been faithful for so many years”? How can you adopt a more appropriate posture of humility?
Today’s chapter ends with another account of contrasting attitudes revealed through the actions of Simon, a Pharisee (devout Jew) and a sinful woman. Simon failed to provide common courtesies given to honor guests (greeting him with a kiss, washing his feet and anointing him with oil). Did he perhaps think he was of equal or higher station than Jesus, so therefore he didn’t need to honor him this way?
Compare Simon’s attitude and action with that of a sinful woman who humbly kissed Jesus’s feet, washed them with her tears and hair and poured expensive perfume on them.
When Simon’s attitude is one of judgment, Jesus hears his thoughts and points out that overflowing love is a natural reaction to forgiveness. And again, Jesus honored the “outsider” for her faith.
Whose attitude more closely matches yours? How had God blessed you beyond what you deserve? How does that come out in your attitudes and actions?
Return to the Gospel of Luke overview page