The Man Outside the Church
H. Edwin Young
Traditionally, the church has shown more interest in legalism, dogma and principle than it has in persons for whom Jesus Christ died. Jesus was not so much concerned about Jewish orthodoxy as he was concerned about folks; about people. I know a church where a woman was afflicted and she came to know the Lord. This was a Baptist church. She was physically unable to be baptized. The issue was taken to the official diaconate, the deacons and they said if she cannot be baptized by immersion she cannot be a member of this church; and she was rejected. The pastor protested and the people began to say, "You know there is a strange thing about our pastor - he's more interested in folks than he is in good ole Baptist doctrine." They said it in a derogatory fashion, but I think it was a compliment to the man and I believe in true tradition with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. We've got a fellow in our scripture tonight that should stagger most of us. Should surprise most of us, because this Centurion is some kind of man! Most Centurions, I have a feeling, were hard and coarse and cruel and ruthless; they cared nothing for people, only for themselves and for the state. But not so this Centurion. He reverenced the Jewish religion. Did you get it in the scripture and it said, "He built a synagogue." ? He thought well of Hebrew tradition, he honored these Israelites and now we see that he is even concerned with a slave and remember a slave at this time was little more than just a piece of propert; something to own; something you have a claim to; a deed to. But his slave, his servant was ill, and the Centurion went to unusual lengths to try to get in contact with Jesus. Now notice he didn't fell worthy to just go right up to the Lord and make his demands and state his case and ask his question about the healing of his servant. He went through the proper channel. He went to the leaders of the synagogue saying, "I'm not ...
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