An opportunity for you to continue your study of God’s Word throughout the week…
Now when He concluded all His sayings in the hearing of the people, He entered Capernaum. And a certain centurion’s servant, who was dear to him, was sick and ready to die. So when he heard about Jesus, he sent elders of the Jews to Him, pleading with Him to come and heal his servant. And when they came to Jesus, they begged Him earnestly, saying that the one for whom He should do this was deserving, “for he loves our nation, and has built us a synagogue.”
Jesus just completed an extended time of teaching and Luke now presents two miracles that serve to validate his message and ministry. One of the most interesting aspects of this first event is the “elders of the Jews” coming to Jesus on behalf of the centurion who was a Gentile.
The title “Gentile” most commonly meant “anyone who is not a Jew” and had a very negative connotation. This centurion, unlike most Romans, was well liked and respected by the Jewish people around Capernaum because he built them a synagogue. However, Jews and Gentiles did not usually get along this well. Gentiles were commonly referred to as dogs.
Jesus extended grace to this Gentile, which helped Luke’s original Gentile audience understand that Jesus’ mission included both Jews and Gentiles. This sent a clear message to Jewish readers who would have naturally concluded that they should see no problem with accepting Gentiles into the church. This was a RADICAL idea.
THOUGHT: The message and ministry of Christ has no boundaries.