[forthright] The Centurion

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From: Forthright Magazine <forthrightmag@...>
Date: Wed, 21 Jul 2010 05:09:37 -0700 (PDT)
Forthright Magazine
Straight to the Cross

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The Centurion
 by John Henson

The life of a Roman centurion was one of combat,
leadership and the continued pursuit of seniority and

A centurion usually commanded a "century" of 80-100
soldiers, but some of them rose to the senior ranks and
were the backbone of the Roman legion. A senior
centurion, or prima pilus was only outranked by seven
other officers in the legion, and was considered a
member of the senior staff of the legate, who commanded
the legion.

To be considered for senior command, a centurion had to
be fiercely loyal to Rome and have no other
considerations in his mind. Rome and the emperor were
his gods, so it is quite surprising to see such a
dedicated soldier developing a love for God's law and a
desire to see Jesus (Matthew 8:5-13; Luke 7:1-10).

There's more. This centurion cared about a slave. The
centurion's servant was a slave, and slaves were
generally considered property by Romans. Yet this
centurion had compassion on a servant that had become
ill and close to death.

Humility was not a common quality in Romans, perhaps
much less among centurions, but this one did not
believe himself worthy to address Jesus (Luke 7:7). He
asked the Jews to intercede on his behalf, which they

While the world is filled with the proud, in the eyes
of God, it is much better to be like this centurion 
(Proverbs 29:23).

The centurion was willing to believe and obey Jesus.
The Lord said that the soldier possessed "great faith"
(Luke 7:9), because the commander told Jesus that all
the Savior had to do was "say in a word," and his
servant would be healed.

The centurion demonstrates many things about the new
kingdom of faith in Christ Jesus, starting with the
beginnings of a kingdom based on faithful obedience,
not birth; a kingdom based not on personal merit, but
on the mercy of Christ (Ephesians 2:4-7); and a
kingdom formed on the greatness of godliness and

As important as these matters are, the centurion shows
the importance of becoming involved in something he
believed mattered. Isn't that one of the really
important lessons for us who live in a world that
doesn't want to get involved?

The centurion didn't want to sit on the sidelines and
watch his friend die. May we all have the same kind of
love and desire as this humble soldier, and get
involved in teaching the world about Jesus! 
John serves with the Grand Blanc, Mich., church. He's a
graduate of University of Tennessee at Nashville and
Tennessee Bible College.

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