Psalm 122:1-9;Matthew 8:5-11
Only say the word. (Matthew 8:8)
If you were a Jewish man living in Jesus’ time, how would you have reacted to this centurion’s request? Because you lived under Roman occupation, you might have hesitated. After all, it’s possible that this soldier had arrested or even killed some of your neighbors or family members. Not only that, but he was a pagan who worshipped false gods. Wouldn’t you want to tell him to go to his own “gods” for help instead?
But Jesus didn’t take this attitude. He treated the soldier with compassion and listened closely as he poured out his heart. And what he heard amazed him: here was a pagan who showed greater faith than many of his fellow Jews! This prompted Jesus to prophesy that many more Gentiles would follow this man’s example and enter the kingdom of God (Matthew 8:11).
This story is one of the most dramatic illustrations of the fact that God sent his Son so that everyone could have eternal life and the healing and wholeness that come with it!
If Jesus was so gracious toward this Gentile, clearly he won’t scorn or ignore your requests. No, his compassion and mercy are for everyone, even you. No matter how unworthy you may think you are. No matter how sinful you think you are. No matter how—anything—you think you are!
As many times as we hear this, we may still find it hard to accept. Feelings of shame, guilt, and unworthiness tell us that we don’t measure up. And if we’ve experienced rejection from people we once trusted, we can start to believe that Jesus will treat us the same way. But the truth is just the opposite. He stretches his arms out to embrace everyone—the lost and confused just as much as the strong and self-confident. No matter what we’ve been through, we can bring him all of our needs. Nothing is too hard for Jesus to handle.
Don’t ever believe that you are beyond hope. Jesus is ready to “only say the word.”
“Father, I hand my challenges and trials over to you. I believe that you have a perfect plan, and I trust in your providence. Come, Lord Jesus!”~WAU