When Jesus had finished all his words to the people,
he entered Capernaum.
A centurion there had a slave who was ill and about to die,
and he was valuable to him.
When he heard about Jesus, he sent elders of the Jews to him,
asking him to come and save the life of his slave.
They approached Jesus and strongly urged him to come, saying,
“He deserves to have you do this for him,
for he loves our nation and he built the synagogue for us.”
And Jesus went with them,
but when he was only a short distance from the house,
the centurion sent friends to tell him,
“Lord, do not trouble yourself,
for I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof.
Therefore, I did not consider myself worthy to come to you;
but say the word and let my servant be healed.
For I too am a person subject to authority,
with soldiers subject to me.
And I say to one, Go, and he goes;
and to another, Come here, and he comes;
and to my slave, Do this, and he does it.”
When Jesus heard this he was amazed at him
and, turning, said to the crowd following him,
“I tell you, not even in Israel have I found such faith.”
When the messengers returned to the house,
they found the slave in good health.
7:1 Capernaum This fishing village on the northern shore of the Sea of Galilee served as Jesus’ base of operations during His public ministry.
7:2 centurion’s A centurion was a Roman military officer in charge of roughly 80 soldiers.
7:3 he sent elders of the Jews Since he was a Gentile (non-Jew), the centurion sent Jewish leaders to vouch for him to Jesus, a Jewish teacher.
7:4 He deserves The elders’ opinion of the centurion is based on his generosity to the Jewish community. The centurion himself recognizes that he is not worthy (vv. 6–7).
7:6 I am not worthy Coming from a leader in the Roman occupying force, this would have been a shocking expression of reverence toward a Jewish teacher. The centurion probably was aware that a Jew who entered a Gentile’s house became ritually unclean and thus doing so would have been a serious inconvenience for a Jewish person like Jesus
7:8 a person subject to authority The centurion recognizes that Jesus has considerable authority over sickness, similar to his own authority within the military chain of command.
7:9 found such faith This statement, praising one of Israel’s foreign rulers, would not have been well received by Jesus’ Jewish listeners. Jesus frequently links faith and healing (compare Luke 5:20).
What stands out here is the centurion’s humility: he did not belong to the chosen people, he was a pagan; but he makes his request through friends, with deep humility. Humility is a route to faith, whether to receive faith for the first time or to revive it.
Speaking of his own conversion experience, St Augustine says that because he was not humble, he could not understand how Jesus, who was such a humble person, could be God, nor how God could teach anyone by lowering himself to the point of taking on our human condition. This was precisely why the Word, eternal Truth, became man—to demolish our pride, to encourage our love, to subdue all things and thereby be able to raise us up (cf. Confessions).