Saturday, April 16, 2016

Luke 7:1-5

Luke 7:1-5
After He completed all of His sayings into the people, He entered into Capernaum.  And a slave of a certain centurion, who was having a good character and honor was upon him, was on the brink of coming to his end.  And after hearing about Jesus, he sent out to Him some Jewish elders who questioned Him whether after coming He should save his slave.  And the ones who came near to Jesus hastily summoned Him while saying that, “It is worthy that you cause this to happen, for he loves our nation and he built the synagogue for us.”

Thoughts for Today

First Thought:

The centurion sends Jewish elders to Jesus.  This is an interesting move.  It could be that the centurion did not want to bother with doing it himself.  This is unlikely, however, because the centurion seems genuinely concerned about his slave.  It is most likely that the centurion is showing some respect to Jesus.  He knows that Jesus is a powerful and skilled Jewish teacher.  Yet the centurion is himself a Gentile.  The centurion is likely realizing that a good Jewish teacher would be more likely to accept the request if his Jewish sensibilities are respected.  Of course we know that Jesus wouldn’t have been offended by the Gentile nature of the centurion.  But it speaks highly of this centurion to humbly show respect to Jesus – especially since he is a commander of the occupying army!

Are you impressed when people of authority show respect to people they are not required to show respect?  When do you see this the most often?

Second Thought:

Furthermore, notice the message that the centurion sends through these Jewish elders.  The centurion doesn’t demand that Jesus come to them.  The centurion asks if Jesus could heal the slave.  The centurion is deferring to Jesus’ opinion.  Again, remember that this centurion is a high ranking official in an occupying army.  He has every reason to be authoritative instead of submissive.  However, he understands something about Jesus.  Jesus respects humbleness.  Jesus respects people who are willing to put themselves aside and act in submission.

Where are you naturally able to submit?  How has God ever shown an appreciation to you for your ability to submit to Him?

Third Thought:

I think that it is interesting to see the rationale behind the Jewish elders’ request.  Why is it worth answer this centurion’s request?  The Jewish elders know that this centurion had done a bunch of things for them.  Now, don’t get me wrong.  We do treat people nicely so that they will do the same to us.  We talked about that a few days ago.  But at the same time, I can’t help but wonder if the Jewish leaders make this request out of their gratitude or out of their understanding that the centurion has money and power and influence.  Are they making the request to Jesus because they want to thank the centurion or are they saying it because they want to keep the centurion on their side for their own advantage?  I think it is important that we remember to stop and pause and remember to question the motives of the people around us.  Some of them are genuine.  Others are looking for their own gain.  We should be diligent in knowing the difference.

When are you guilty of selfishly looking at the people around you with respect for what they can do for you?  Why do humans tend to be willing to manipulate people?  How do you avoid the manipulation of the people around you?

Passage for Tomorrow: Luke 7:6-10
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