Episode NT10 – A Foreigner with Faith

tale2tell original Bible Stories series – New Testament

Based on Luke chapter 7 verses 1 to 17

A foreigner with faith

 ‘I am a Centurion, a soldier of Rome and an officer in charge of 100 men. My commander has placed me here in Israel, in the town of Capernaum where I look after the interests of Rome and also do my best to work well with the people I rule over.’

‘When my commander sent me to Capernaum I did not question his command, but simply obeyed – as is my duty. And when I commanded my the 100 solders to come and set up barracks in Capernaum, they too did not question my command, but obeyed it – as is their duty.’

‘And during my time here I have learnt much about the religious beliefs of the Jewish people, and of the Great God they worship. I have learnt that He is sovereign – the absolute ruler over all things.’

‘And my dealings with the Jews have gone well so far, and, as it was in my power, I built a meeting place for them to come together and learn from their Holy writing – they call this place a synagogue. (P) We have grown close, these Jewish leaders and I, and I am satisfied with our relationship.’

‘But one day, not so long ago something went wrong – something that no one seemed able to do anything about. There are many servants and slaves in my household, and I try to treat them well, but one day I was called to one side to be told that one of the young men in my household, a slave of whom I am very fond, had taken ill and was on his death bed.’

‘At once I sent for the doctors to come and see what could be done. But after much time with the young man, I was told that there was no hope and that he would surely die. I was furious! What good is my authority and power now when I cannot do a single thing to save the life of my servant? And so I asked, is there nothing that can be done? Is there nobody who can help? (P) It was then that I was told about this man – Jesus. Of all the miracles He had performed, of all the people He had healed – and – by the grace of God – that He was close by.’

‘But why should such a man, a Holy and Pure man, a true Man of God come to my house, the house of His enemy – the house of the occupier that was so despised by most of the people of the land? What could I do that would make this Man come and heal my servant?’

‘And so I set upon a plan. I called at once on the leaders of the synagogue, those men for whom I had gone out of my way to help, and I asked them to go and see this Jesus on my behalf. (P) They honoured me by agreeing to go and ask Him to come and heal my servant, whose condition grew worse by the hour. And so they hurried off.’

‘But as they left, I began to think more about who this Jesus must be. There was no doubt that He was a man filled with the power of the living God, for how else could He do all these wonderful deeds. But what if He were more? What if He were God Himself – come as a man and with total power over all sickness and disease? What other explanation could there be? How else could this man do such wonderful things? And then I started to fear, who am I to ask such a person to come to my house? How can I, a nobody in this world, ask this wonderful Man to leave what He’s doing to come to my house and heal my servant?’

‘And so, I sent some of my own servants to meet Jesus before He arrived. And this was the message I gave them to pass on to Him. ‘Lord, please do not trouble yourself to come to my house; I am not worthy of such an honour. I am not even worthy to come and meet with you myself. But if you will just say the word – right where you are, then my servant will be healed. (P) I understand this, because I am a man under authority – answerable to my superior officer. And I too, have authority over my soldiers. If I say to one of them ‘Go’, they go. And if I say ‘Come,’ they come. And, if I say to my slaves, ‘Do this or do that,’ they do it. So I know that if you command it, the sickness will leave and my slave will be well again.’

‘After that I waited. And I now know exactly when my message was given to Jesus, for shortly after my servants left the house to meet with Him, my slave recovered – being completely healed – just like I knew He would be. How I thanked God for his recovery.’ (PAUSE)

‘Apparently, my messages caused Jesus some surprise. For my servants tell me that after they had delivered it, Jesus said that He had never seen faith like this in all Israel.’ (PAUSE)

‘But my story is just one of many stories of all this wonderful man Jesus has done. And the way He continuously brought great glory to God, were reported from wherever Jesus had been. For example, not long after Jesus had healed my slave, another story of His love for an outsider spread around the area like wildfire. It seems that as Jesus and His disciples had travelled around, they came to a small village called Nain, south of Nazareth. A great crowd of people were following Jesus, and as they came to Nain, another large crowd met them coming out of the village. But this crowd had not come to see Jesus, but to bury the dead son of a widow. And as they travelled out to the graveyard, the widow’s grief was enough to break your heart. Not only had she already lost her husband, but now her only son, and with him her only means of support – but now he was dead and to be buried with his father. The large crowd of mourners joined the lady in her grief, and as Jesus and His disciples came to them, Jesus Himself was deeply moved by her lost – so moved that His heart overflowed with compassion.’ (P)

‘And then He did something that had not been done in Israel for many centuries, not since the days of the great prophets of old. Looking at the poor widow so overcome with grief, Jesus said, ‘Don’t worry.’ Then He walked up to the coffin being carried by mourners, reached up and touched it. At this the whole procession stopped, and then Jesus called out, ‘Young man, get up!’’

‘At Jesus’ command, the young man, who had been dead in his open-topped coffin, sat up and started to talk to the people carrying him! They quickly put the coffin down and Jesus helped him out and gave him back to his mother.’

‘What joy followed – can only be imagined, but it was not the joy that we heard about, but the fear that swept through both sets of people, those following Jesus and those of the funeral procession. And the question on everybody’s lips was the same that had been on mine – ‘who is this man Jesus?’’

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