(1-10) Jesus Heals a Centurion’s Servant
When we come before Jesus in prayer and ask Him to do something for us, we should not do as the Jewish elders in this situation did and try to impress Him with our credentials. We don’t have to give God a reason as to why He should answer us. The elders thought the centurion was worthy to have Jesus heal his servant because “he loves our nation and built us our synagogue.”
Did Jesus heal the centurion’s servant for these reasons? Not at all.
Jesus accomplished this healing because the centurion had faith that Jesus could just say the word and his servant would be healed. God does nothing but by prayer, and He cannot be pleased without faith. We are not saved by our works of righteousness. We are saved by faith alone. Likewise, God does not grant our requests based on church attendance or love of country or any other good deeds. He grants our requests based on our faith.
(11-17) Jesus Raises a Widow’s Son
The Gospels contain several instances in which Jesus is described as having compassion on individuals. He had a heart to help people. He could not leave them suffering in grief or sin or sickness. When we are moved with compassion, we will not be able to sit by and let people suffer without trying to alleviate their pain in some way. Christ in us will move us to help the hurting in a meaningful way.
(18-30) Messengers from John the Baptist
I’ve often wondered about this passage. It appears that John the Baptist, who prepared the way for Jesus, is now questioning if He is indeed the Christ. I think part of this doubt is because (1) John the Baptist was in prison, and (2) many of the Jews in Jesus’ day were expecting deliverance from Roman rule. They were looking for a Maccabean revolt-type Messiah, not a miracle-working Messiah. They wanted political salvation, not spiritual salvation. God, however, had a different plan. He did not only want to save His people from their temporary tax and whip oppressors. He wanted to save Jews and Gentiles (the whole world) from the oppression of sin, death, and hell.
John the Baptist probably wondered how Jesus could let him rot in prison and then be beheaded without even attempting an intervention. But Jesus shattered all Messianic expectations that people had of him. He arrived as a baby, not a warrior. He rode on a colt, not a horse. He came not to kill, but to be killed. He mostly showed His power through small, humble acts of service which is why He said “blessed is the one who is not offended by me.”
Favorite verse: (22) And he answered them, “Go and tell John what you have seen and heard: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, the poor have good news preached to them.”