“A certain centurion’s slave, who was highly regarded by him, was sick and about to die. And when he heard about Jesus, he sent some Jewish elders asking Him to come and save the life of his slave.” Luke 7:2-3 (NASB77)
This is quite amazing in these Roman times that a centurion, a man high up in the hierarchy of the day, would be concerned about a slave-someone who no one pays attention to! This centurion was concerned about his slave, however, and he sent Jewish elders to Jesus in order that he might be healed: “Now Jesus started on His way with them; and when He was already not far from the house, the centurion sent friends, saying to Him, ‘Lord, do not trouble Yourself further, for I am not worthy for You to come under my roof; for this reason, I did not even consider myself worthy to come to You, but just say the word, and my servant will be healed.'” Luke 7:6-7 (NASB77)
Here is another amazing thing: This centurion, so high in the hierarchy of his day, felt-unworthy! Wow! What a difference from other centurions! And this man displays yet another difference between himself and other centurions of his day: He shows utmost faith in Jesus! He adamantly tells Jesus that He doesn’t even need to come in his dwelling, for just one word and the slave will be healed: “For I, too, am a man under authority, with soldiers under me; and I say to this one, ‘Go!’ And he goes; and to another, ‘Come!’ And he comes; and to my slave, ‘Do this!’ And he does it.” Luke 7:8) (NASB77)
Jesus’ response? “Now when Jesus heard this, He marveled at him, and turned and said to the multitude that was following Him, ‘I say to you, not even in Israel have I found such great faith.'” Luke 7:8-9 (NASB77) And this faith lead to healing: “And when those who had been sent returned to the house, they found the slave in good health.” Luke 7:10 (NASB77)
All we need is a mustard seed-sized faith. The smallest seed in the world; however, once planted, it grows and grows and grows: “If you have faith as a mustard seed, you shall say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it shall move; and nothing shall be impossible to you.'” Matthew 17:20 (NASB77)
The husband of one of my former colleagues at school was facing cancer. I asked her if I could come and visit him to pray for his healing, but she explained that this would make him uncomfortable. He was having a hard time sharing with others that he had cancer, and to date, he had only told his best friends and hadn’t even told his brother. She then looked up at me and asked, “Will you pray for him anyway?”
I assured her I would, and I did. Jesus was, after all, quite creative when He healed people. He was always personal, and he healed anyone, even that slave whom He had never seen! Three weeks later while my students were watching skits in another classroom, the teacher of that classroom came to me saying there was someone who wanted to see me…in the cloak room! That seemed pretty strange to me, but I dutifully entered the cloak room, and there was my former colleague whose husband had cancer. She was crying as she reached out to give me a bit hug: “I want to thank you for your prayers. My husband had two cancer nodules. They disappeared completely. The doctor has declared he is cancer free.” I quickly reassured her that the One who deserved the thanks was our Heavenly Father, and she acknowledged this.
As I went back to my class, I couldn’t help feeling exhilarated and humbled at the same time. How good it is to help others and pray for their illnesses, and how humbling to be chosen to be used on God’s team. Our Father wants us to work hand-in-hand with Him. When we do, that mustard seed of faith will grow and grow, and nothing will stop it. This is how we learn to trust Him completely: We pray in faith and God intervenes. It’s as simple as that.
This incident also served as a witness to the teacher whose cloak room I visited. She is beginning to talk more and more about God, for she now realizes that there is a Heavenly Father who cares for her. It all started with one simple prayer. God did the rest.
Why not team up with our loving father. Just one prayer can change the life of someone in need!
(To access the entire “The Forgotten Message” devotional series, please click here.)