Greetings in the name of Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Faith shows the reality of what we hope for; it is the evidence of things we cannot see. (Hebrews 11:1)
“What did you go into the wilderness to see? Was he a weak reed, swayed by every breath of wind? Or were you expecting to see a man dressed in expensive clothes? No, people with expensive clothes live in palaces. Were you looking for a prophet?” (Matthew 11:7b-9a)
This is the question that we should ask to ourselves. Why we are here and why do we do what we are doing now? If we want to see a man dressed in expensive clothes, we’d better be in palaces. Jesus looked around again the crowd gathered in the wilderness with Jesus. The crowd were in the wilderness because of Jesus and to His message.
At that time, John the Baptist in jail. Then John’s disciples came to Jesus, and asked, “Are you the Messiah we’ve been expecting or should we keep looking for someone else?”
Then Jesus told them, “Go back to John and tell him what you have heard and seen— the blind see, the lame walk, those with leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised to life, and the Good News is being preached to the poor.” (Matthew 11:4-5)
Jesus’ answer was simple – “Just see what’s happening.” The blind saw, the lame walked, the deaf heard, those with leprosy were cured, and even the dead were raised to life. Most of all, the Good News were being preached to the people, especially those who were poor in spirit. Those who hungered and thirsted for justice were satisfied in Him. Jesus was the healer and comforter. Through Him, they received healing and peace in heart. Yes, Jesus was, is and will continue being the king of peace, love, mercy, hope, grace and faith for all, not only at the time of Jesus on earth, and at present time but also when His Kingdom comes. Especially, when His kingdom comes, His forgiveness and mercy will be magnified, and those who have faith in Him will inherit His Kingdom eternally. This is HIs promise and our hope and faith in Him.
People flocked Jesus, and Jesus loved them. His love and peace were prevailing in their hearts. They were truly blessed by Him. After teaching the Kingdom of Heaven, the truth and hidden secret, He sent them home, and He returned to Capernaum.
In Capernaum, there was a highly respected Roman Centurion, who had one hundred Roman soldiers under him. Most of Roman soldiers were arrogant, and looked down on the Jews because they were the conquerors of the Jewish nation. Many of them took advantage of the Jewish people. They took away money from the Jewish people by falsely accusing them and receiving bribes. Even so, nobody could speak up against them. However, the very Roman Centurion was different. He was honest and fair to all — both the Romans and the Jews. He even helped the Jews. For example, he provided resources under his control to support building of the local synagogue. Due to his good heart and fairness without desiring false profits, he was welcomed by the local Jewish people. Many of the Jews loved him, and he had many good Jewish friends.
One of the highly valued servants of the Roman Centurion became sick. As days passed by, he was getting worse. The Roman Centurion’s heart was breaking, and he did everything to heal him. He brought doctors to home for his sick servant, but nothing worked. His servant’s condition was getting worse, and he was near death. Thus, he reached out his Jewish friends to save his servant. He told about his servant dying. Upon hearing, his Jewish friends mentioned Jesus, who was a miracule healer. They shared about Jesus’ miraculous healing of the blind, the deaf, the mute, even raising the death.
Initially, the Roman Centurion could not believe what he was hearing. To him, it was impossible to heal the blind, the deaf, the mute and raising the dead to life because he had never seen such thing in his entire life. When he looked back his life, the blind had never been cured. The blind was always blind, the deaf was always deaf, the mute was always mute, and the dead was always dead without exception. Now, he was hearing about the miracles that Jesus performed. His life-long experience and logic questioned in his heart, “How can it be possible?” On the way back home, he was thinking about what he heard, and asking to himself, “is it real?” “Really has Jesus healed the sick that nobody could cure?”
As he entered his house, he essentially woke up from his deep question about Jesus and Jesus’ miracle healings. Then he remembered his dying savant who he loved. Rather than going to his room, he went to his dying servant lying on bed. His heart was breaking when he saw his servant. Hiding his emotion, he comforted his servant. The dying servant was surrounded by his family members and his servants. This added more pains in his heart. He did not want to think about what would happen to the servant’s family and friends if he actually died. He came back to his room, and he sit down on his chair while thinking all things happened that day one by one. The story about Jesus who always loved people, Jesus’ miraculous healing, and his dying servant. He was struggling: what really all these meant and what he had to do. His heart was heavy and his mind was in confusion. He could not know what to do next. His struggle kept him from going to bed. He stayed up into night. In the deep night, suddenly he remembered one of the Jewish friends, who told the Centurion, “we need to pray to God, especially when we don’t know what to do. All things come from God, and God is our master. He guides us, and protects us because He loves us, and we are His children. Therefore, we should pray to God always as if a child talks to one’s father.” Then he knelt down with bended knee, and started praying to God for his dying servant with all of his heart and mind. He started praying, and he could not stop praying. Whenever he closed his eyes, he could see his dying servant. He kept on praying. He did not know how long he actually prayed. The night was getting deeper, but he was praying. Suddenly, he felt peace, which was not something that he had experienced before. It was truly different from anything he experienced before. His heart was comforted by some supernatural power that he had never known. He could not tell exactly, but he was starting to believe Jesus would heal his dying servant. After having this in his heart, he was hardly waiting for morning.
On the following morning, he called in his friend Jewish elders, who were well respected by the people. He asked Jesus to come and heal his servant. They heard his earnest plea for his dying servant, and all were completely moved in their hearts. They also noticed that something was quite different in the Centurion. His face was full of mercy, compassion and especially hope and faith in Jesus., while he was talking.
So the Jewish friend elders went to Jesus, and earnestly begged Jesus to help the Centurion. “If anyone deserves your help, he does,” they said, “for he loves the Jewish people and even built a synagogue for us.”
So Jesus went with them. After the Centurion sent his friends to Jesus, he could not sit and wait for Jesus. He continued praying for his dying servant to God. Then God revealed the truth. Through his earnest and fervent prayer, he started realizing who the Father God was – the creator and the master of the universe. God created heaven and earth, and everything in including trees, animals, and all humans, and then God was governing everything. What God did for the world was similar to what he was doing everyday as his duty for his emperor. He governed the region and the people in the region as the emperor assigned to him, and he gave commands to govern the region. Then his soldiers obeyed his command. Before God, the true master of the universe, all things must obeyed His command. As soon as he realized this truth, he could not stand still. What he did in the morning was done poorly. The Centurion sent his Jewish friends to bring Jesus to his home to heal his dying servant, but it was not necessary. He realized that this truth through his prayer as God revealed him.
Immediately, the Centurion got out of his house and ran to see Jesus, who was on the way to his house. As soon as he saw Jesus, he knelt down and said, “Lord, don’t trouble yourself by coming to my home, for I am not worthy of such an honor. I am not even worthy to come and meet you. Just say the word from where you are, and my servant will be healed. I know this because I am under the authority of my superior officers, and I have authority over my soldiers. I only need to say, ‘Go,’ and they go, or ‘Come,’ and they come. And if I say to my slaves, ‘Do this,’ they do it.” What a wonderful confession of faith!
When Jesus heard this, he was amazed. Turning to those who were following him, he said, “I tell you the truth, I haven’t seen faith like this in all Israel! (Matthew 8:10)
Jesus gave the highest praise to the faith of the Centurion. In fact , the faith came from God, and God granted to him when he prayed with all of his heart and mind for his dying servant in his fervent prayer. God loved his prayer for his dying servant. Yes, God loves our prayers, and especially our prayers for those who are suffering.
Then Jesus said to the Roman Centurion, “Go back home. Because you believed, it has happened.” (Matthew 8:13a)
As soon as hearing Jesus’ answer, the Centurion believed without any doubts. Immediately, he returned to his house with his Jewish friend elders.
When the Centurion and his Jewish elders arrived, they found the dying servant was completely healed and waiting for the Centurion. The Centurion in true joy asked when the dying servant was healed. Then he realized that the dying servant was healed that same hour. He immediately fell down and prayed to God for His mercy and grace given to him by healing of his servant. He experienced God and his healing power. He also realized the power of prayer, and faith in Him even before impossibility of healing his dying servant. God loved his faith, and God answered his prayer. Prayer is the key to open God’s mercy and grace.
Are we praying like the Centurion? Prayer is our spiritual breath. How long can we hold off our breathing on earth? Very short. Surely, we cannot survive even one single hour without breading. Then how about our prayer to God? When was the last time that we pray to God fervently like the Centurion? A day ago? A week ago? A month ago? Or never?
God is eagerly waiting for our prayer because our prayer is our voice to God. God loves to hear our own voice in prayer because we are His children. In fact, He loves to listen to each word by word from our mouth presented as prayer to Him. Our fervent prayer from our contrite heart is a song that He especially love to hear. Why? God truly cares for us.
Then what should do? Of course, we should pray. We pray to God with opening our heart and mind, and then pouring what we have in our heart to God as our prayer. God always and surely hears our prayer one word by word, and answer to our prayer without failing accordingly to His infinitely goodness toward us. This is our faith and our prayer before God.
And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him. (Hebrews 11:6)