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What Do We Expect? (It makes a difference!)

And Jesus said to the centurion, “Go; and it shall be done for you as you have believed.” And the servant was healed that very moment. ~Matthew 8:13

The centurion came to Jesus in Capernaum with a need. The centurion’s servant was paralyzed, and this soldier knew that Jesus could heal, if only asked. So, in Matthew 8:6, that’s exactly what the centurion does: He asks.

We know the story from there. Jesus says he will go and heal the servant, but the centurion replies, “Lord, I am not worthy for you to come under my roof, but just say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I also am a man under authority, with soldiers under me; and I say, “Go!” and he goes, and to another, “Come!” and he comes, and to my slave, “Do this!” and he does it.” (Matthew 8:9)

Jesus marvels at the centurion’s great faith; then from a distance, heals the servant.

I don’t think the centurion wanted his servant to be healed for personal reasons (“I need my servant back so I can get some work done around here”). He could have found another servant, certainly. This centurion cared enough about another person to go the distance, find Jesus, and ask for a miracle.

Every day when we walk into Raffa Clinic, we are “going the distance” for someone else. We all know this work is not about us, not about our needs and desires. Our work is about reaching out to others and in many, many instances, asking for miracles on their behalf, just like the centurion in this narrative.

And like the centurion’s request, when our prayer comes with confidence and expectation, I believe Jesus smiles. Sitting at the right hand of God our Father, perhaps Jesus looks to his left and says, “This one gets it! This is the kind of faith I saw in the centurion! Remember that day? Remember?”

I’m not smart enough to guarantee that every single one of our confident requests will be answered just as we expect. But I do know this: When the centurion, a Gentile, came to Jesus with expectation and confidence, Jesus used this moment to marvel at his faith. Jesus pointed him out as an example to all.

The centurion’s servant was paralyzed. The same is true, spiritually and emotionally speaking, for many of those who come in our door. They are, just as the centurion’s servant, “fearfully tormented” (Matthew 8:6). Let’s ask on their behalf. Let’s do it with confidence. When we do, Jesus is pleased with our faith. We too, can be an example. And we might receive answers we never imagined.



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