The centurion’s servant

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When Jesus entered Capernaum,
a centurion approached him and appealed to him, saying,
“Lord, my servant is lying at home paralyzed, suffering dreadfully.”

It is Advent, and any of the gospel readings at this time of year I can’t help but read against the backdrop of the season. When Jesus heals the centurions servant one of the first things that I notice today is that the centurion is likely a Roman. He is coming to Jesus so that one of his servants can be healed, and in doing so he mentions the number of people that he has authority over. In mentioning how many people he has authority over, he acknowledges also Jesus authority. Somehow in thinking of this scene, I envision a battlefield with that Centurion and his troops faced off against Jesus and those under his authority. The thing though is they are not standing at a battlefield with a battle about to begin, but rather it is that Centurion that is surrendering so that his servants, those under his authority, might be healed. In that surrendering that Roman leader recognizes something about his own society, and the illnesses of his culture. He also recognizes Jesus ability to bring healing to his people, and all people. By bringing healing to that Roman, Jesus gospel is not limited to one group of people, but extends to all mankind. His kingship is universal, and perhaps this reading also points back to that last Sunday of the year: Christ the King, a king of heaven and earth.

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