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 salvation and answered prayer are built on Jesus’ goodness and not ours.
‘The centurion heard of Jesus and sent some elders of the Jews to him, asking him to come and heal his servant. When they came to Jesus, they pleaded earnestly with him, “This man deserves to have you do this, because he loves our nation and has built our synagogue.” So Jesus went with them. He was not far from the house when the centurion sent friends to say to him: “Lord, don’t trouble yourself, for I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. That is why I did not even consider myself worthy to come to you. But say the word, and my servant will be healed.’ (Luke 7:3-7)
Lesson: All of God’s acts including salvation and healing are by His grace and not because we have any merit.
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I think it’s true that many people don’t pray for the sick, or receive prayer, because they don’t feel worthy or qualified. We are all drawn toward legalism and self-righteousness, believing that our performance wins us spiritual benefits and authority. We believe that we have to pay the price for true spiritual success. Many fast and deprive themselves in an effort to win God’s hearing. I’m not negating the use of fasting but it is a means of humbling us rather than of earning merit with God. God does not owe us anything. He doesn’t owe us salvation, healing or anything else. Anything we get from God is because of His love and mercy and nothing in ourselves.
In our reading, the Jewish leaders who go to Jesus on the Centurion’s behalf use the goodness of the centurion and a reason for Jesus to help. In effect they are saying, “Jesus this man is good and so you should help Him because you are surely more disposed to helping good people than others.”
However, the text makes it clear that this centurion is not heard because he is worthy. This servant is not healed because he is worthy. In fact the man expresses his lack of worth:
“Lord, don’t trouble yourself, for I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. That is why I did not even consider myself worthy to come to you…”
‘The centurion voices the theological truth that applies to all. His hope is based on the goodness and power of Jesus, not on his own goodness and power. He knows himself to be unworthy, but he does not need to be worthy to seek Christ’s help. He also recognises his desperate need for help and his complete helplessness to do anything himself.’ (Garland, David E.; Clinton E. Arnold. Luke. Zondervan Exegetical Commentary on The New Testament series Book 3)
It’s so important that we all continue to remember that we are not worthy and that God saves and heals by His grace. Tomorrow I want to talk about the importance of repentance and confession but today, I simply want us to see that we can pray confidently because Jesus perfect righteousness has been given to all who have received Him as Lord and Saviour.
All of God’s acts including salvation and healing are by His grace and not because we have any merit. So are you standing on your own worth or the worth of Jesus? Is your confidence in prayer for the sick and anything else built not on your good works but on the goodness and mercy of God?
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?