“When Jesus had finished saying all this to the people who were listening, he entered Capernaum. 2 There a centurion’s servant, whom his master valued highly, was sick and about to die. 3 The centurion heard of Jesus and sent some elders of the Jews to him, asking him to come and heal his servant. 4 When they came to Jesus, they pleaded earnestly with him, “This man deserves to have you do this, 5 because he loves our nation and has built our synagogue.” 6 So Jesus went with them.
He was not far from the house when the centurion sent friends to say to him: “Lord, don’t trouble yourself, for I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. 7 That is why I did not even consider myself worthy to come to you. But say the word, and my servant will be healed. 8 For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and that one, ‘Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.”
9 When Jesus heard this, he was amazed at him, and turning to the crowd following him, he said, “I tell you, I have not found such great faith even in Israel.” 10 Then the men who had been sent returned to the house and found the servant well.”
– Luke 7:1-10
In Part 1 of this devotional series, we learned how God brought Rich Stearns to a point of decision by using an executive recruiter’s question: “Are you willing to be open to God’s will for your life?” With that probing question, God got Stearns’ attention. How did Stearns respond? Stay tuned for the answer. His response truly amazed Jesus.
From the above text from Luke, I want you to consider carefully three individuals and one group of men, learning truth from each, and in the process, answer the question “What does it take to amaze Jesus?”
First, consider the servant. What one truth can we learn from this man about whom we know very little? Well, let’s begin by examining what we do know about him. We know that he was very sick, even to the point of death. We also know he was highly valued by his owner. Thus, here is the one significant truth we learn from the servant: We are all sick; we are all dying; yet, we are all highly valued by God.
If you were to ask if man is basically good, most people would say, “Yes!” The majority of people see themselves as basically good. They see themselves as morally good compared to other people. This is particularly true of religious people. But what does the Bible say? Paul writes in Romans 3:10-12, 23, “There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one….For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God…” Jeremiah 17:9 provides an inside look at the human heart. Jeremiah writes, “The heart is devious above all else; it is perverse—who can understand it?” The prophet Isaiah concurs, “We have all become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a filthy cloth” (Isaiah 64:6). Are you beginning to get the picture? We are all desperately sinful!
Our hearts are full of sinful desires. Understand that the heart of the problem is the problem of the heart! We all are born with this heart condition. Spiritually speaking, because we are born without Christ in our hearts, we are just like the centurion’s servant. In other words, we are slaves to sin. We are deathly sick and in desperate need of a physician. Before anyone ever cries out to Jesus, he must become aware of his desperate condition.
In Luke 5, Matthew held a great party for all of his sinful friends. A large crowd of tax collectors and some others were eating and drinking and having a merry old time. It was simply a gathering of sinners. Then, a group of religious Pharisees and teachers of the law happened upon the scene. Can’t you just see them standing there, in their clerical robes and collars, looking down at this horrible group of sinners? In their disgust, they asked the disciples, “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and ‘sinners’?!” In verse 31, Jesus answered them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”
What can we learn from the centurion’s servant? We learn that all of us are spiritually sick and in need of a spiritual doctor. Thankfully, we also learn that we are highly valued by God. God loves sinners. Remember this truth: Jesus was a friend of sinners! Paul writes in Romans 5:8, “But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
The people of the world are desperately sick, but sadly, most of the people that you and I know see themselves as healthy. Therefore, they see no need for a doctor. It is only when you recognize you are in desperate need that you call out for help. That is the one significant truth we learn from this nameless servant. We are all sick, dying and in desperate need of a Savior.
Let me ask you a series of very important questions: Do you see yourself as a sinner in need of a Savior? If so, have you ever cried out to the only One who can truly come to your rescue? If you haven’t, why not call out to Him today? Remember, He is a friend of sinners just like you and me. Amen!