22 Mar Jesus Heals a Roman
Read Matthew 8:5-13 (NLT)
Thought for the Day: Even enemies are loved by God!
Jesus’ ministry did not take place in a free country. For those of us who live in a society with various liberties and freedoms, it can be hard to imagine what typical day-to-day life must have been like for Jesus and the other Jewish people living in the First Century. Rather than governing their own cities, they were under Roman authority and occupation. To make matters worse, the hostile ruling government collected taxes for Caesar… thousands of miles away. So anyone who saw Roman soldiers did not feel a sense of peace or protection. Rather, they felt invaded by enemies who didn’t share their values and made their lives more difficult.
In this context, a Roman officer with a paralyzed servant approached Jesus and asked Him for healing. But, rather than coming in with an entitled or demanding posture, the officer did something very different: “Just say the word from where You are, and my servant will be healed. I know this because I am under the authority of my superior officers, and I have authority over my soldiers.” Jesus was astonished by the man’s request. While many people gave Jesus a hard time, this man – who could have been an ‘enemy’ – demonstrated faith. Immediately, his servant was healed and the soldier was treated like an ally. He was no longer just a faceless, nameless, anonymous enemy.
How often do we find ourselves labeling others without taking the time to remember that they are loved by God? Sometimes, life seems to make no sense because we fail to recognize that our so-called enemies are just regular, ordinary people. When Jesus healed the Roman soldier’s servant, He demonstrated that He came for everyone. He also demonstrated a different way to live. At the times we are tempted to write-off others, let’s stop and pray for the wisdom to have Jesus’ perspective!
Pastors Stan and David