The Centurion, Jesus, and Contradictions

The Centurion, Jesus, and Contradictions

The Centurion was a Roman officer who had charged over 80-100 men. This particular officer addresses Jesus as “Lord,” while the leaders of Israel do not. What caused Jesus to marvel was this Roman citizen, who had grown up in a culture which worshipped a multitude of gods, believed that Jesus was the promised Messiah of the Hebrew scriptures. Where did he learn about the Messiah? Who taught Him? What was it that brought his heart to this place of preparation? It may be that he had studied Jesus and the works that He had done, for some time. It is certainly possible the he had a few Jewish friends who had told him about the prophecies of the coming Messiah. Perhaps he had compared Jesus’ words and actions with the Hebrew scriptures and came to the conclusion that Jesus was the Messiah who was promised. Finding faith in the God of the Hebrews while being a Gentile and a leader amongst the soldiers of Rome was a truly amazing event.

The Centurion shows that he is sensitive to the traditions of the Jewish culture, which believed that a Jew who entered the house of a Gentile, would become defiled. When Jesus offers to come and heal his servant, the Centurion refuses, not wanting to bring any disrepute to Jesus. This humble man does not disdain this tradition nor debate it. He acknowledges that this is a Jewish custom, and he submits himself to its demands though he may not have believed it himself. Although he has great authority, he humbly submits himself before Jesus as Lord.