The story is of a Roman officer. He had a servant whom he cared about who was near death. He was on good terms with the leaders of the local synagogue…a synagogue the official had helped to build. He asked them to help him approach Jesus about curing his servant.
The officials were glad to lend a hand. The officer had treated them well. They brought the petition to Jesus and He agreed to go. Before He reached the man’s house, the official came out. “I am unworthy to have you enter my home,” he told Jesus. “I am a man under authority and I am an authority over men. I tell this one to come, and he comes. I tell that one to go and he goes. If you give the word, my servant will be healed.”
Why didn’t he feel worthy? It was against Jewish law to enter the home of an unbeliever. The officer more than likely knew that. He had heard about Jesus and obviously respected Him. He also respected the Law, whether he believed/followed it or not. Again, I would guess the latter.
The nature of faith: The officer had faith that his servants and soldiers would do what he told them to do. He could back that faith up with action if they didn’t.
The faith he showed in Jesus was a different type of faith. He couldn’t back it up with any physical actions like he could with his servants and soldiers. It had to come from a different source. He heard and he believed.
Why is this story in the Bible? I strongly believe that every story in the Bible is in there for a purpose. I can’t back up this bit, but I’ve thought about it often enough that it’s a pretty strong conclusion. I believe this story is in here because God spoke to this officer. He wouldn’t have had the educational background otherwise.
What can we learn from this? When Jesus said, “For God so loved the world, He gave His only begotten Son that *whosoever* believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life. He didn’t leave anyone out. He didn’t leave out the Roman officials. He didn’t leave out the sinners and the tax collectors. He didn’t leave out the poor or the rich.
If He isn’t leaving them out of His love, that’s a pretty strong indication that we can’t, either. We also need to remember John 3:17, “For He came not into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved.” It all goes back to the second great commandment…love one another.