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The Man Who Caused Our Lord to Marvel (1 of 10)
Great Faith Series
In this series of sermons we are to link together ten instances where our Lord highly commended individuals or groups of people.
A centurion was an officer in the Roman army. Centurions commanded 100 foot soldiers. There were 10 centurions in a Cohort of 1000 soldiers, and 60 centurions in a Legion of 6000 soldiers. Centurions were career officers serving at least 20 years, often longer. They were well paid, receiving large bonuses at retirement after 20 years.
The system was built on promoting centurions and moving them frequently to more and more prestigious posts. An ancient history of Rome written by Polybius has this description of centurions:
"Centurions are required not to be bold and adventurous so much as good leaders, of steady and prudent mind, not prone to take the offensive or start fighting wantonly, but able when overwhelmed and hard-pressed to stand fast and die at their post."
Centurions had 4 basic responsibilities.
First to discipline the troops, the insignia for a centurion was a vine staff used on the backs of any soldiers who were disobedient.
Secondly- to oversee scourging and executions, including crucifixions.
Thirdly- to drill, inspect, and command soldiers in the field
Fourthly- to ensure the safety of those collecting tribute for Rome with the understanding the centurion could collect some of that for himself.
So a centurion, an officer of the occupying Army of Jesus' homeland came to Jesus to ask him a favor. Jesus says an immediate yes. "I will come and cure him."
He had evidently heard of Jesus: possibly he had witnessed His miraculous power, and at any rate he become convinced about the Person of Christ- that He was sent one of God and the only Savior for lost men.
This centurion had a servant whom he loved very much and who was very ill. Luke tells us that the man was sick and "ready to die." (Luke 7:2)
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