Friday, February 19
Luke 7:1-23 — Unexpected Faith & Raising the Dead
7:1 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.
11 Soon afterward, Jesus went to a town called Nain, and his disciples and a large crowd went along with him.
12 As he approached the town gate, a dead person was being carried out—the only son of his mother, and she was a widow. And a large crowd from the town was with her. 13 When the Lord saw her, his heart went out to her and he said, “Don’t cry.”
14 Then he went up and touched the bier they were carrying him on, and the bearers stood still. He said, “Young man, I say to you, get up!” 15 The dead man sat up and began to talk, and Jesus gave him back to his mother.
16 They were all filled with awe and praised God. “A great prophet has appeared among us,” they said. “God has come to help his people.” 17 This news about Jesus spread throughout Judea and the surrounding country.
18 John’s disciples told him about all these things. Calling two of them, 19 he sent them to the Lord to ask, “Are you the one who was to come, or should we expect someone else?”
20 When the men came to Jesus, they said, “John the Baptist sent us to you to ask, ‘Are you the one who was to come, or should we expect someone else?’ “
21 At that very time Jesus cured many who had diseases, sicknesses and evil spirits, and gave sight to many who were blind. 22 So he replied to the messengers, “Go back and report to John what you have seen and heard: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor. 23 Blessed is anyone who does not stumble on account of me.”
Points of Interest:
- (v.2) “a centurion’s servant”—a centurion is a Roman army officer, more or less equivalent to a modern captain.
- (v.5) “he loves our nation and has built our synagogue”—in other words, whether or not he’s actually heard the sermons of John and Jesus, he’s been living by them: he’s not taking advantage of his position to gain at the expense of someone else; instead he’s loving his enemies and doing good to those who hate him.
- (v.9) “I have not found such great faith even in Israel”—the friends of the paralytic were willing to dig through a roof to get their friend into Jesus’ presence, but the centurion has utter confidence that a simple word from him will suffice. He recognizes that Jesus is more than a healer: he is a ruler, who can command others to do his bidding. This centurion probably wasn’t even looking for a Messiah, like the Jews were, but he recognizes one when he sees him.
- (13) “his heart went out to her”— All of the other miracles Jesus has done so far have been in response to a request; but this time, Jesus decides to do this one on his own, out of deep sympathy for the suffering of this widow. In Zechariah’s song in chapter one, he looks forward to forgiveness of sins and rescue from the shadow of death. Now, we’ve seen Jesus bring both. He showed his authority to forgive by healing the paralytic, and now he demonstrates his power over death by raising the widow’s son.
- (v.16) “God has come to help his people”—the people recognize that something very special is happening. Everyone recognizes that Jesus is a great prophet such as hasn’t been seen in a long time, but some go so far as to think that God himself has come to them.
- (v.22) “The blind receive sight”—Jesus is referring to Isaiah 35, where Isaiah predicts that just such miracles will happen in the time when the Lord comes to replace sorrow with joy.
Taking it home:
- For you: In this passage, we see Jesus answer a prayer from a distance, and raise someone from the dead! God is capable of doing much more than you might imagine or think of asking. Try increasing the boldness of what you ask him for today. Who knows what might happen?
- For yourSix: Ask Jesus to show your Six what they need to see in order to know he’s the one they’ve been waiting for.
- For our church/ILTJ: Ask God to sustain anyone in our church who is about to lose hope. Specifically pray for protection against discouragement for the ministry leaders in our church.