The centurion’s servant healed

The centurion’s servant healed

Centurion’s Servant healed.

(The Gospel History, Section 44)

After he had ended all his sayings in the ears of the people, he entered into Capernaum.

And a certain centurion’s servant, who was dear unto him, was lying in the house sick of the palsy, grievously tormented, and at the point of death. And when he heard concerning Jesus, he sent unto him elders of the Jews, asking that he would come and save his servant. And they, when they came to Jesus, besought him earnestly, saying, He is worthy that thou shouldest do this for him: for he loveth our nation, and himself built us our synagogue. And Jesus saith, I will come and heal him. And he went with them. And when he was now not far from the house, the centurion sent friends to him, saying unto him, Lord, trouble not thyself: for I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof: wherefore neither thought I myself worthy to come unto thee: but only say the word, and my servant shall be healed. For I also am a man set under authority, having under myself soldiers: and I say to this one, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it. And when Jesus heard these things, he marvelled at him, and turned and said to the multitude that followed him, Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel. And I say unto you, that many shall come from the east and the west, and shall sit down with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven: but the sons of the kingdom shall be cast forth into the outer darkness: there shall be the weeping and the gnashing of teeth. And Jesus said unto the centurion, Go thy way; as thou hast believed, so be it done unto thee. And the servant was healed in that hour. And they that were sent, returning to the house, found the servant whole.

The centurion’s servant healed

(The Saviour of the World, Vol III Book I Poem I)

Christ and the Centurion by Paolo Veronese

Six days the Father worked—and, lo, the world!
The Almighty rested on the Seventh day.
Work comparable for processes begun,
For magnitude of issues, deep design,
Had Christ the Son wrought on that blessèd day
When He called forth His Church, and—it was good,
That new creation, now to have a name
And blessedest uses for the sons of men!

A man outworn with giving all he has,
Or wealth, or thought, or love, or what he has,
Falls emptied, as sky-vessel drained of air;
And, quick, new ministrants are set to work
To lift him, prostrate; with new hopes, inflate:
The Father of us all graced His own Son,
Begotten of Him ere the worlds were made,
E’en as He graces any o’er-spent soul;
But, for the Son had wrought a vaster thought
Into expression than a man might work,
There was conferred on Him more perfect gift,
And adequate, than comes to any man.
Christ sought once more the city of His choice;
There, waited Him the elders of the Jews
Who ruled in synagogue: a plea they brought
And earnestly they urged for sake of him,
The Gentile friend who loved them and had built
For them their synagogue: man of clear mind,
This Roman soldier,—captain stationed there,
In garrison at Capernaum,—not of those
Who let men’s notions, practices, beliefs,
Pass him all unconcerned: he would fain know
What meaneth this or that, why do ye thus;—
Answer, heart-searching brought: God of the Jews,
Jehovah,—more than Cæsar, than all gods:
All spirit forces His, to bid or chide;
All must subserve His will Who all has made:
Well, then, for him to honour this great God,
Almighty, with his substance, kindly care
For the Jews, His chosen people!

Aware was he

Of thing new-manifest in Capernaum;
Claim to authority, could any weigh
More certainly than he, who Cæsar’s right
Supported here in province far removed?
But, Cæsar,—his the power that comes of place,
Another Cæsar should hold equal sway;—
This prophet of the Jews, supremacy
He wielded as a man swings his right arm
In labour of his choosing. Power of God
Was his, to do or to refrain; reveal,
Keep hid: did God indeed impart Himself,
His sole authority? Or, was this—God?
That righteous man, of trained integrity,
Found much to ponder in the common talk
Of Jesus, filled the mouths of all the folk.

Calamity o’ertook this good man’s house;
A servant whom he loved,—perhaps, who knows?
A foster-brother, with him from the breast,
And holding charge of all things for his lord,—
Lay in his house now at the point of death
And grievously tormented, palsy-struck:
Watching his servant’s anguish, all his thoughts
Turned whither they had turned for many a day:
Authority was present in the world,
Could bid, not men alone, all ministers
Of health or sickness, happiness or grief,—
Authority supreme: but how approach
This uncrowned Potentate? A Roman, he,
With what plea might he move this princely Jew?
Clothed with humility as good men be,
E’en when they sit controlling subject race,
This noble Roman sought his friends’ good word;
And they, the Jewish elders, came to Christ
And praised their friend: “Worthy is he,” they say,
“That Thou shouldst do this for him, for our sake!”
And, Jesus, “I will come and heal the man;”
And He went with them, ever prompt to hear
The prayer of friend for friend. Elate, the Jews
Went with Him in their midst, right glad to serve
The man who them had served, nor arrogant
Had shown him to them, subject.

He alone,

This Roman soldier, saw beyond the seeming,
Perceived immeasurable condescension
Of Him upon the road to his poor house!
Intolerable to him that One so great
Should serve his servant, take a step to please!
So, friends he sends to the approaching Christ;—
“Lord, trouble not Thyself,” their eager word
From him, “Not worthy I, that Thou shouldst come
Beneath my roof; not worthy thought myself
To come to Thee and pray my servant’s life:
Why shouldst Thou come to heal? But speak the word,
And lo, my servant shall be well. I know
How one with servants bids and is obeyed;
I am a man under authority—
The thing which I am bidden, that I do;
And under me are soldiers; Go, I say,
To this one, and he goeth; Come, to that,
And on the word, he comes: Do this, I bid
My servant, and he does it. Lord, I know
How biddeth he who hath authority
And how his servants hasten on his hest;
Health is Thy servant, health and very life!
But bid them and they run at Thy command!”

When Jesus heard these words He turned Him round,
Marvelling at greatness of the gift this man
Had laid at His feet: and to the multitude
Who followed, saith He, “Verily, I say,
No, not in Israel have I found such faith!”
Faith, great in comprehension! Many proofs
Of faith hath Israel offered; see the Twelve,
How they left all and followed Him; how John
Knew Him the Lamb of God that taketh away
The sins of all the world; but here, a man,
Doth more than love, serve, follow to the end;
Doth more than see the Hope of Israel,
Fulfilment of all promise! What, say they,
What more is left for any to believe?
Giving his heart, what further can man do?
Yea, verily, there is a greater faith,
Begot not solely of a nation’s hope
Fulfilled for loving hearts: this faith is much:
But, single-eyed intelligence to see
With seraph keenness, how, if God be all,
All things that come and go in human life
Must at His bidding come, go at His word:
To see, that if One speak the Word of God,
E’en to forgive men’s sins, then, of a truth,
Not to another giveth God His power
And He who doth these things—the Son of God!
The faith to compass this is fit reward
Of that integrity which worthy thoughts
Concerning all things worthy entertains:
Such an one sees the truth, and seeing, loves,
Frankly embraces, and tenacious, holds!

“This Roman presageth a mighty host,
Men of just mind, thronging from east and west,
With faith like his: tho’ not of the kingdom, they
With Abraham, his son, and his son’s son
Shall sit in heavenly places; while true sons,
Woe worth the day! outcast shall find themselves,
In darkness, where is weeping and dismay,
Because they had not faith to know the hour
Of visitation by the Son of man!”
We may not let things pass, nor understand,
Nor ask ourselves if God be in the world,
Nor what He meaneth by the signs He sends:
Who scans his heart in this wise, he hath faith,
And, lo, to faith, the promises!


The Centurion, following his friends, drew nigh;
The Lord discerned him, spake the word he craved,—
“Thou, blessèd, go thy way; as thou believ’dst,
So be it done to thee!” Nor questioned he,
But found within his house—the sick man whole:
And more than life of friend gat he that day;
To faith was added love; he knew the Lord!

All faith is graced of God; there be degrees;
Their “great” and “little” faith men brought to Christ,
An offering in their hand, and all, He took;
But not with equal favour; how should men
Else know gift most acceptable to God?
According to his insight is man’s faith;
In measure of his faith, he gives his love,
And ample service issues from great love.

St. Luke vii. 1-10.
St. Matthew viii. 5-13.