Nepaug Bible Church - - Pastor's Prayer Meeting Lesson Notes -

Luke: Jesus, The Son Of Man For All Mankind
Part XXII: Christ's Identity As God's Savior By His Response To Great Gentile Faith
(Luke 7:1-10)
  1. Introduction
    1. If Jesus is God's worldwide Savior from sin, His evaluations of the greatness or weakness of faith He saw in other people should have been free of cultural or racial bias.
    2. Luke 7:1-10 reveals Christ's exclamation that the faith he saw in a Gentile centurion exceeded in greatness the faith He had witnessed in anyone of His earthly people in Israel. This claim both gives evidence that Christ is the Creator God's worldwide Savior, and it offers us a lesson in how God wants us to trust Him:
  2. Christ's Identity As God's Savior By His Response To Great Gentile Faith, Luke 7:1-10.
    1. After His "sermon on the mount," Jesus entered Capernaum where some Jewish elders met Him with a request that Jesus come to heal a Gentile centurion's servant of a life-threatening illness, Luke 7:1-3.
    2. This request was very unusual for two reasons:
      1. First, it was unusual that Jewish elders would plead the case of a Roman soldier, Luke 7:3; Bible Knowledge Commentary, New Testament, p. 221. Many Roman soldiers were despised for using their power to take cruel and unjust advantage of Jewish people (cf. Luke 3:14), but not this man.
      2. Second, the Jewish elders noted this centurion had loved the Jewish nation to the extent that he had built them a synagogue of worship, Luke 7:5.
    3. Thus, the Jewish elders told Jesus this centurion was "worthy" of His help (Luke 7:4), the word worthy coming from the Greek Testament word, haxios, meaning "deserving," cf. U. B. S. Greek N. T., 1966 ed., p. 231; Arndt & Ging., A Grk.-Eng. Lexicon of the N. T., 1967, p. 77.
    4. Jesus agreed to go with the elders, but, before He could enter the home, the centurion sent friends to say Christ did not need to enter his house, nor did he feel he could approach Jesus, but that He could speak the word and his servant would be healed, Luke 7:6-7. The centurion explained himself as follows:
      1. First, the centurion felt he was "unworthy" for Jesus to come under his roof, that is, he felt inadequate in station to host One Who was his Superior as was Jesus ("unworthy" is from the Greek word, hikanos, "sufficient, qualified," Ibid., U. B. S. Grk. N. T.; Ibid., Arndt & Ging., p. 375); Luke 7:6b.
      2. Second, the centurion felt he was "unworthy" to go to Jesus, the word "unworthy" being from the verb, axioo, "deserving" (as in Luke 7:4), Lk. 7:7b; Ibid., U. B. S. Grk. N. T. ; Ibid., Arndt & Ging., p. 77-78.
      3. Thus, the centurion confessed Jesus was his Superior Whom he could not adequately socially entertain in his home, but also that Jesus was so lofty, he did not feel comfortable even asking Jesus for help!
    5. The centurion further explained that he was both under superior officers and over soldiers inferior in rank, and, in this illustration, realized that Jesus as God's Messenger was so lofty and holy in rank above him (like an emperor) that he as a Gentile centurion did not know how to interact well with Him, Luke 7:8!
    6. Jesus responded with great approval of this centurion's view of himself and of Jesus, marveling before the Jewish onlookers that He had not found so great a faith in all of Israel, Luke 7:9.
    7. Accordingly, Jesus spoke the word to heal the centurion's servant so that when the centurion's friends had returned to him, they found his servant completely healed of his life-threatening illness! (Luke 7:7b, 10)
Lesson: When a Gentile centurion who believed in Israel's God exhibited great respect for the lofty position of Christ as God's Messenger, and that by daring to ask Jesus' help, but only from a distance, Jesus marveled that his faith was greater than what He had witnessed in all of Israel, and He healed the centurion's gravely ill servant. This reveals the lack of cultural and racial bias in Jesus' view of man, for He complemented a Gentile above all Jews in Israel, indicating He is God's worldwide Savior.

Application: (1) May we believe Christ is God's worldwide Savior due to His great objectivity in viewing the heart of man free of racial and ethnic bias. (2) God wants us to appreciate the fact that we come to Him for help totally on the grounds of GRACE: (a) we do not deserve anything from Him as we are sinners, and (b) as sinners, we cannot in ourselves rightly approach Him for help apart from Christ. (3) Yet, God wants us to know He deeply desires to help us, so we should come to Him as the centurion.