This week, as we continue in our series in Luke, we will be reflecting on Jesus’ teaching from Luke 7:1-10 where Jesus praises the faith of a Roman centurion as he asks Jesus to heal his servant. Today, I want us to see that this event reveals God's heart for all types of people.
‘When Jesus had finished saying all this to the people who were listening, he entered Capernaum. There a centurion’s servant, whom his master valued highly, was ill and about to die. The centurion heard of Jesus and sent some elders of the Jews to him, asking him to come and heal his servant.’ (Luke 7:1-3)
Lesson: Jesus wants to and will bring people from all ethnic and social backgrounds into His kingdom so let’s be prepared to seek to bring anyone to Jesus.
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I’m often in settings where I’m tempted just to speak to and spend time with those that I feel most comfortable with. In a church setting this can be seen in our sitting in the same seats and speaking with the same people each week. Like most, I find it a challenge to overcome my inner reluctance to reach out and get to know new people. This reluctance can also spill over into how I share my faith. I’m sure that we all feel more comfortable and more confident in sharing our faith with certain people. This will be due to many reasons such as friendliness, their current religious convictions, their language, gender, age, stage of life, etc. Of course, this is reasonable and we all find it easier for us to speak to certain people. However, we should all put our trust in God’s mercy and power to be able to use us to speak to anyone and to bring anyone closer to Jesus. None of us should limit God or His gospel.
In this account, we see a Roman centurion - part of Israel’s occupying enemy - putting his faith in Christ and him then bringing (not in person) his servant to Jesus for healing. We read that
‘When the centurion heard about Jesus, he sent to him elders of the Jews, asking him to come and heal his servant.’ (Luke 7:2-3)
He ‘heard about Jesus’ as reports of Jesus’ teaching and ministry had reached him. In concert with his challenging circumstances, he had been inspired to reach out to Jesus. In this account, we are to see God’s desire that people from every nation tribe and tongue come to Jesus as Lord and Saviour. This Roman, like Theophilus to whom this letter is addressed, had come to faith in Christ through the testimony of others. Likewise, God wants to use us in unexpected ways to influence people we might find surprising if we are compassionate and faithful."
Luke was most probably a non-Jew who had come to faith, and his gospel emphasises God’s heart for all nations. Jesus, as He’s presented in the temple just after His birth, receives a prophecy about His salvation extending to all nations:"
‘Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying: “Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you may now dismiss your servant in peace. For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all nations: a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of your people Israel.”’ (Luke 2:28-32)
Jesus desires to bring people from all ethnic and social backgrounds into His kingdom. Therefore, let’s be ready to seek to bring anyone to Jesus. It's crucial to avoid the routine of only serving, investing, and inviting those who make us feel comfortable. In every setting, may we reach out to befriend new people, even if they are very different from us. Each day, let's be mindful and prepared to invest in the various people God brings across our path. May we be moved with faith and compassion to share the gospel with anyone.
Let’s pray together:
“Father, just as the centurion heard about you, may many hear about you through me and my church. Fill my heart with faith and compassion for those who are not yet in your kingdom. Amen."
COMMUNITY GROUP NOTES AND STUDY
It might be good to begin with notices. Please share from this week’s Church News.
Very importantly, let’s be praying and inviting to our carol service on 10th December; in preparation for this, we have Carol Singing on the 3rd.
How has God been speaking to you from His Word this week and how has this helped you?
3. Worship together
Let’s begin our time together by lifting our eyes and hearts to worship our great God. Perhaps you have readings and songs that you would like to use together. Let’s be open to the gifts that the Spirit wants to give in order to encourage one another.
4. Study and pray together
This week, as we continue in our series in Luke, we will be reflecting on Jesus’ teaching from Luke 7:1-10. Jesus is asked to heal the servant of a Roman centurion. Through this event we are taught about God’s desire to save people from all backgrounds and His desire to see faith in all of us.
Please read Luke 7:1-10
Why do you think that Luke wants us to see that this centurion (rather the Theophilus for whom this gospel is written) is not Jewish?
What do we learn about the place of status and good works for salvation and things like healing?
What do we learn about healing from this narrative?
SIV - Why does this centurion believe and intercede to Jesus?
SIV - What does this account teach us about how we can affectively serve and bring our community to Jesus?
SIV - Do we have any stories of how we have ‘Served, Invested, and inVited’ this week?
SIV - Lets now pray together that, this week, we will have opportunities to SIV.
Does anyone want prayer for healing or prayer for someone else who is sick or in need?