· Jesus went from the plains to the city of Capernaum (Right on the northern tip of the Sea of Galilea).
· A centurion who had a sick servant sent some of his Jewish friends to ask Jesus for help
· These Jewish elders pleaded on behalf of the centurion because he was a good man who supported the Jews and helped them get their synagogue built
· Jesus decided to help
· When the centurion heard that Jesus was coming he sent other friends to communicate on his behalf because he felt unworthy of having Jesus come all the way to his home
· He understood that Jesus had authority over illness and that his authority was not tied to proximity but to will
· Like himself with his troops, he knew that if Jesus ordered the healing it would be done
· Jesus was amazed at the centurion’s faith and commended him before the Jewish audience
· The servant was healed
· The next section takes place in a town called Nain (south-east of the Sea of Galilea)
· He was being followed by a large crowd as he was entering the city
· A funeral procession was coming out of the city for the only male child of a widow
· Jesus felt deep compassion for this widow
· Jesus comforted her and then commanded the boy to awake from death
· The boy awoke and returned back to his mother
· The people praised God and were speaking of Jesus as a great prophet
· News spread through all Judea and the crowds grew
· John the Baptist’s disciples also heard these things and went and told John (who was in prison)
· John wants to clarify if he understood correctly that Jesus really is the Messiah or was another coming? (This could be because he was in prison and was wondering why. However the context is unclear)
· John’s disciples asked Jesus the question while observing Jesus’ ministry
· Jesus respond’s by simply telling them to let John know about his miraculous ministry and then adds an encouragement, “Blessed are those who do not fall away on account of me.” In other words, John continue to remain faithful and you will be blessed.
· Jesus identifies John as the promised one who would precede the Messiah (Malachi teaches this person is Elijah, and Jesus teaches that John came in the spirit of Elijah)
· Jesus commends John (as the last of the Old Testament prophets), but also elevates those who believe and follow him (a new era of Christians who are empowered by the Holy Spirit)
· Luke contrast the people’s response verses the religious leaders response. The people agree because they repented and were baptized by John, the religious leaders disagree because they did not.
· Jesus highlights this sharing a familiar saying at the time that whether they played something happy or sad, whether the prophet hung out with the religious or unreligious, it didn’t matter they would be rejected (he is speaking of the religious leaders).
· A Pharisee invited Jesus over for dinner
· A woman who was scandalously a sinner interrupted and began to cry and Jesus’ feet and washing them with her tears, she also poured perfume on them.
· The Pharisee assumed that if Jesus knew about the woman’s past he would not want her touching him
· Jesus knowing this told a story as an example of two people who had debts forgiven, one big one small.
· Jesus asked which of them would love the forgiver the most
· The Pharisee, Simon, responded that the one who had been forgiven the bigger debt
· Jesus commended him on his answer, and then pointed out that the woman had done things for Jesus that Simon didn’t because she loved more - - because she had more forgiven
· Jesus the authoritatively tells the woman her sins were forgiven
· The religious guests wonder why he would say such a thing
· Jesus declares that because she believed in him she was saved, and now at peace with God (cf. Romans 5:1-2)
I think at the heart of this passage is the authority of Jesus. He had the authority to heal, to raise the dead, and to forgive sins. The common folk like the Gentile Centurion, the widow, and the people accepted this authority and understood it was from God. The religious leaders rejected this authority and refused to yield to Jesus and his divine authority.
What do I think of Jesus’ authority? Do I really believe he can do the miracles I would ask of him? Do my prayers reflect that if Jesus wills to do something that nothing is impossible? I find that I usually want to see God at work. Or at least I want him to answer my prayers in a specific way that I know it was him. However, the centurion believed without seeing. He believed – the only question was willingness. I need to ask like I believe and accept whatever happens as a sign of God’s will.
Do I believe that Jesus can raise the dead souls of those I meet on a daily basis? Do I believe that Jesus has great compassion for me and the loved ones I pray for who are heading for an eternity apart from God? I need to trust that God’s heart breaks for those my heart breaks for, and that he does raise the dead.
Do I believe that Jesus has absolute authority over my life? Am I willing to yield my ways to his ways or am I simply playing a religious game where I believe in God but only so long as I don’t have to give up control? Today I need to seek God and stop putting conditions on whether or not I am going to do what he shows me.
Father in heaven,
Forgive me for wanting to be my own authority and seeing what you want as another option I can choose. Jesus, I want to see your authority displayed. I want to experience a miracle without insisting you prove yourself to me by doing one. Would you raise up my spiritually dead neighbors. And if you want me to share something with them, help me obey and be obedient to the Holy Spirit’s guidance. I want to echo John’s prayer “less of me, more of Christ.”
In Jesus name I pray, Amen
Posted on Fri, January 9, 2015
by Joel King