“When he had entered Capernaum, a centurion came forward to him, appealing to him, ‘Lord, my servant is lying paralyzed at home, suffering terribly.’ And he said to him, ‘I will come and heal him.’ But the centurion replied, ‘Lord, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof, but only say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I too am a man 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 servant, “Do this,” and he does it.’ When Jesus heard this, he marveled and said to those who followed him, ‘Truly, I tell you, with no one in Israel have I found such faith… And to the centurion Jesus said, ‘Go; let it be done for you as you have believed.’ And the servant was healed at that very moment.” Matthew 8:5-10,13
A centurion was commander of a hundred soldiers, presumably having risen in the ranks, very capable, brave, holding sway with tough men. But this one was remarkable in his humility, tenderness of heart, and deep compassion. He had an uncanny understanding of worthy, and is commended by Jesus for his unmatched faith. He respected authority both above and below him, yet for him, the source of all authority and goodness and strength was only Jesus. He was unworthy to have Jesus come to his home, yet he knew Jesus was worthy to be called upon for this supernatural act of healing.
In contrast, Peter always wanted to add something, do something, contribute something, be in on everything. At Jesus’s transfiguration, Peter’s enthusiastic impulse was arrested by God’s voice saying, ‘This is my Son, listen to Him,’ then he ‘saw Jesus only.’ The centurion never presumed to make a fuss over Jesus or erect a shrine for Jesus; he didn’t even need to rub shoulders with Him as an inner-circle confidante. He simply knew Who He was and what He was capable of, and implored Him to have His marvelous way with his beloved servant. And so He did. (Matthew 17:1-8; John 20:3-6; 21:7)
Do my eyes dart to and fro as I spend energy wanting or getting a special ‘public’ audience with Jesus, making much over a spiritual show for others to notice, telling Him how to answer my prayers? Or do I know Him well enough to appeal only to Him, and trust His power and goodness with the issues concerning me? Do I have to contribute my words, or will I take Him at His? Where I need healing in a relationship, my outlook, my habits of thought and practice, will I determine to see Jesus only?
“Spirit of the living God,… when You speak, when You move, when You do what only You can do, it changes us; it changes what we see and what we seek.” ~Vertical Worship (2015)
You alone, my Lord, know the burdens and needs of my heart. My eyes are toward you. Teach me, change me, that in every situation, I seek and see You only. (Psalm 141:8)