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An Officer of the Roman Army

THERE was at Capernaum an officer of the Roman army, a man who had under him a company of a hundred men. They called him a "centurion." He was not a Jew, but was what the Jews called a "Gentile," that is, a foreigner, a name which the Jews gave to all people outside of their own race.

This Roman centurion was a good man, and he loved the Jews because through them he had heard of God and how to worship Him. Out of his own money he built a synagogue for the Jews. The centurion had a young servant, a boy, whom he loved very much. This boy was sick with a palsy and near death.

The centurion had heard that Jesus could cure those who were sick; so he asked the chief men of the synagogue, who were called its "elders," to go to Jesus and ask Him to come and cure his servant. The centurion himself also entreated Him, saying, "Lord, my servant is lying sick in the house, paralyzed, and is grievously afflicted."

Then Jesus said, "I will go and heal him." But in answer the centurion said, "Lord, I am not worthy that You should come under my roof; but only say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I too am a man subject to authority, and have soldiers subject to me; and I say to one, 'Go,' and he goes; and to another, 'Come,' and he comes; and to my servant, 'Do this,' and he does it."

When Jesus heard this, He wondered at this man's faith. He turned to the people following Him and said, "I have not found such great faith in Israel." Then Jesus said to the centurion, "Go your way; as you have believed, so be it done to you." And the servant was healed in that very hour.


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