Sermon: March 4, 2018
Key Verses: Luke 7:1-10 (NKJV)
Intro: The event which we just read is really a remarkable account of the amazing grace of our Savior, the great faith of a Gentile soldier, and common misconceptions of the religious people of the day. Luke records that after Jesus wrapped up his Sermon on the Mount, he entered Capernaum. This journey could have been up to several days in length, we're just not sure.
We are told about a centurion, a professional officer in the Roman army who would have commanded a unit of about 100 men. The Roman centurion was the equivalent of today's Army Captain, and senior centurions equivalent to our Majors. This man had probably been charged to keep peace in Capernaum and the surrounding area, had probably lived there for several years and had developed a good relationship with the people. We're also told that he had a slave that was terminally ill, but that this slave was very special to him. Our centurion wanted his slave to live, thus sending the delegation to Jesus for help.
The centurion was a Roman, a Gentile - an outsider, and while he may have enjoyed a good relationship with the local Jews, he would always be considered an outsider.
I. The Pitch
When they got to Jesus the Jews began their pitch. "Look Jesus, if anyone is deserving of your goodness it is this man. We know he's a Gentile but look at all the good he's done for us. We really need you to come through for us on this thing."
Verse 6 says that Jesus went with them, but as He was going the centurion sent a second delegation, this time with a different message. Surely, he wouldn't want to give the impression that he was something great when he was just a man in need of help.
II. The Real Message
The is a remarkable account of the amazing grace of our Savior, the great faith of a Gentile soldier, and of the common misconceptions of the religious people of the day, but understanding the message running through this text and why it's even included here is found in the sermon Jesus preached in chapter 6.
Reference Luke 6:27 (NKJV) and Luke 6:33-36
The Jewish leaders came to Jesus with their reasons that this guy should be helped. He had done some great things for them, that he needed his back scratched.
III. Their motive was messed up
They had another problem-and that was their motive. Not only did they misunderstand the basis of God's goodness, but they were interceding for this man, not for his benefit but because of what they might get out of it. They couldn't have been more contrary to what Jesus has just preached! Kingdom people do good, not because of how they might benefit, but because they are portraying God!
Consider Jesus - He gives us a great example of what grace and love ought to look like. He didn't care about social boundaries. This man was a Gentile, a Roman soldier, an enemy of Israel, but Jesus intended to help him and was headed to his residence anyway. The centurion was an unwelcome outsider - a stranger to the grace of God. Jesus treated him with grace and compassion. The man was unworthy - but Jesus didn't work on the basis of merit.
IV. If in doubt, reconsider
If you've ever doubted the love and grace of God, you ought to reconsider this morning. Jesus doesn't care who you are or where you've been or what you've done. It doesn't matter if you're a great big sinner or if you're just getting started - His love for you is the same. He loves His enemies and those who call Him a friend.
Reference Luke 6:43 (NKJV)
He healed this centurion's servant, not because the man was worthy or good, but because Jesus is inherently good.
Is there any boundary that would stop Jesus from doing good in your life or in the life of anyone else? If the answer is no (it is), then how in the world can we set up boundaries unless we are not being the imitators of Christ we have been called to be?
Close: The truth of the matter is that you and I have been called to reach our community for Christ. We've been called to be salt and light. We've been called to share the good news. We've been called to do good to others, period.