1 Timothy 2:1-8; Psalm 27(28):2,7-9; Luke 7:1-10
A centurion in popular culture is often portrayed as a military man, capable of savage brutal discipline on his soldiers. Indeed – some centurions were, but this one, we see in Lukes Gospel is well liked by the local Jewish community, well known by the elders, and he had funded the building of a synagogue. He probably was not Roman, as there is little evidence in the archaeology of romans in Gallile until well after Jesus' life. He certainly would have known about Jesus’s healings in his local community. There was quite a stir about, large crowds were on the move to see Jesus! As the local military commander he would certainly have concerns about keeping the local peace!
The Centurion talks about authority. He himself is in a hierarchy, and expects men to quick march if he commands it, to fetch him food on demand, to anticipate his will, as a wise servant must. Equally, he knows he must respect those in authority over himself.
This influential and powerful man recognises in Jesus a greater authority than any other he knows. He recognises his own place in the Lord’s hierarchy. He is below the believers – they can enter each other's homes, but Leviticus forbids them to enter an outsider’s house which would make them ritually unclean and thus forbidden to enter the synagogue until purified. He places himself below a leper! Immediately before todays incident Jesus has made himself ritually unclean by touching a leper to heal him. But the Centurian does not ask Jesus to come in contact with his servant, nor indeed with himself. He is asking Jesus to heal a lowly, but loved person in his household without even coming to the threshold.
His display of humility leads directly to a healing - a good model for us today!