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Sunday Club 14th Oct 2012 The healing of the Centurion's servant. Matt 8 v5-13,   Luke 7 v1-9

This is the story of a Roman Centurion who asked Jesus for help. The Roman army was very powerful and the Roman soldiers were the best fighters in the world. They had conquered Palestine and the Jews had to do what the Romans told them. (They conquered much of Britain as well.)
A Centurion was an officer in the Roman army and he commanded 100 men.

                                                                                                                         Picture of Roman Centurion with 2 soldiers. 

 The centurion in this story knew all about orders. He could tell his soldiers what to do and they had to do it. He had a servant who had to obey his orders. The Centurion had to do what his commanding officer told him. He knew that in the army everything worked by people giving orders to other people. Now Roman soldiers could also give orders to Jews. If a Roman soldier was carrying something heavy he could look round for a Jewish person and say, "Carry this !" and the person had to pick it up and carry it for him. Some Romans probably ordered people about a lot and the people did not like them.

The Centurion in this story was probably not like this because the Bible said that he built a Synagogue for the Jews. Perhaps he was a proselyte. A proselyte was someone who was not a Jew but believed in the Jewish God.
The Bible does not actually tell us this but this might be why he helped the Jews by building them a synagogue. It would also explain why he thought that Jesus would be able to help him. One day his servant took ill and became paralysed and the centurion was very upset. He talked to some Jewish friends and they said that they would take a message to Jesus and ask him to heal the servant.

They said, "This Centurion deserves your help. He loves our nation and he has built us a synagogue." Jesus agreed and set out for the centurion's house. The Centurion heard he was coming but there was something that worried him. Jesus was a Jewish Rabi and a Jewish Rabi was not supposed to go into the house of someone who was not a Jew. It would be very awkward for him and people would say that he had broken the rules. Then he thought that Jesus did not really need to come into his house. He did not even need to walk all the way there. All he needed to do was to give the order and the servant would be made well.

The Centurion sent a message to Jesus. "I know it would be awkward for you to come into my house but that is not necessary. My commanding officer gives orders to me and I give orders to others and they are carried out. I know that all that is needed is for you to give the order and my servant will be well." Jesus was very surprised. This man's faith was so great that he believed Jesus could heal the man at a distance . Jesus said, "I have not found such great faith among the people of my own country. Many people from other countries will come to join the feast in the kingdom of heaven.” Jesus gave the order and the servant was well again.
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