2012-09-13 - Seating Arrangements
Matt 8:10-12 When Jesus heard him, He marveled and said to those who followed Him [who adhered steadfastly to Him, conforming to His example in living and, if need be, in dying also], I tell you truly, I have not found so much faith as this with anyone, even in Israel. 11 I tell you, many will come from east and west, and will sit at table with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven, 12 While the sons and heirs of the kingdom will be driven out into the darkness outside, where there will be weeping and grinding of teeth. (NASB)
A Roman Centurion had come to Jesus. This person was the living embodiment of the occupying Roman force that was despised by the Jewish population they subjugated. Reading a few verses above this the soldier addresses Jesus as Lord. The Centurion had been exposed to Jesus' teaching and at least heard about the miracles He had performed. It is at least odd and quite possible very risky to address Jesus with the title Lord. It is a clear recognition of Christ's position over the soldier.
The Centurion's request was for Jesus to heal one of the soldier's servants who was very ill. When Jesus agrees to come and heal the servant the Centurion makes a powerful observation that really puts a handle of the power and position of Christ for us. The man who had been placed in charge of 100 soldiers by Rome understood the order of command. When he issued an order to a subordinate the order was carried out without question. He also recognized his unworthiness and accepted that if Jesus would issue a command to satisfy his request the servant would be made whole.
In verse ten Jesus addresses His disciples and close followers very impressed at the faith this hated Roman and a gentile, was displaying. There was no demand in the request. There was recognition of Jesus' authority and humility in His presence. To say that He had not found faith this great in all of Israel; did this include the men who followed Jesus so very closely? Many will come from east and west - from the ends of the Earth - not all from Israel is the implication - to sit at table with great prophets. Even more stunning, the heirs of the kingdom, those who trust in their position only, would be rejected. This is the indication that the door would be opened to the gentiles as well as the sons and heirs of the kingdom.
How well do we today measure up to this Centurion? His faith was very concrete and practical. Do we recognize Jesus' position and understand that His commands and training are to be followed? Yes, we who have made Him Lord of our lives are made sons and daughters of the kingdom. We are called ambassadors. We have the opportunity for fellowship that is close, but that does not excuse us from our responsibilities. When we stumble do we ask forgiveness with a humble heart? Are we forgiving of others? Of course the Centurion is not the measure which we are to keep. It is perhaps a good milepost on the journey to being more like Christ.
Where is your seat at the table?
Grace & Peace,