Note: This series is written as a first-person narrative in order to present Jesus in the context he walked with the unknown disciple that narrates presenting my thoughts and sparking more thoughts with his questions.
After Jesus’s sermon, we walked down the mountain towards Capernaum with a small crowd following. As we entered the city gates we were met by the local elders. Jesus stopped, and one began to speak.
“There is a centurion here in the city whose servant is dying. He asked that we come ask you to heal his servant.”
Simon the Zealot exclaimed, “You want Jesus to heal one of our country’s oppressors!”
Jesus raised a quieting hand. Jesus said to him, “Shall I come and heal him?”
The elders continued, “This man deserves to have you do this, because he loves our nation and has built our synagogue.”
A God-fearing Gentile was rare, I thought as we followed Jesus and the elders. Let alone one that financially supported a synagogue. That was more common in the Decapolis where Jews and Gentiles were more intermixed. Jews simply did not enter the home of an unclean Gentile.
We were almost there when more people met us. They were friends of the centurion, and they had another message.
“Lord, don’t trouble yourself, for I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. That is why I did not even consider myself worthy to come to you. But say the word, and my servant will be healed. 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.”
Jesus looked at us in amazement. He said to us, “Truly I tell you, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith. I say to you that many will come from the east and the west, and will take their places at the feast with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. But the subjects of the kingdom will be thrown outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
Believing in long-distance healing took a special faith. What really got my attention was Jesus talking about the Gentiles being counted among God’s righteous. And some of the Jews being left out? Being Jewish was supposed to guarantee us a seat at the table! God picked us!
Instead, some Jews will be damned. How? Why?
Then Jesus said to the centurion’s friends, “Go! Let it be done just as you believed it would.”
They returned to find him healed. We stayed in the city for awhile, but soon we were on our way to Nain.