16. Faith in the military

A Bible Study by Paula Yingst …

Several years ago, I clipped a newspaper photo of a group of soldiers huddled in a prayer circle. I treasure that picture because it not only encourages me to pray for believers in military units around the world, it brings to mind something amazing that happened as Jesus journeyed to the cross …

“When Yeshua [Jesus] had finished speaking to the people, he went back to K’far-Nachum [Capernaum].

A Roman army officer [a centurion] there had a servant he regarded highly, who was sick to the point of death. Hearing about Yeshua, the officer sent some Jewish elders to him with the request that he come and heal his servant. They came to Yeshua and pleaded earnestly with him, ‘He really deserves to have you do this, for he loves our people — in fact, he built the synagogue for us!’

“So Yeshua went with them. He had not gone far from the house, when the officer sent friends who said to him, ‘Sir, don’t trouble yourself. I’m not worthy to have you come under my roof — this is why I didn’t presume to approach you myself. Instead, just give a command and let my servant recover. For I too am a man set under authority. I have soldiers under me; and I say to this one, “Go!” and he goes; and to another, “Come!” and he comes; and to my slave, “Do this!” and he does it.’

Yeshua was astonished at him when he heard this; and he turned and said to the crowd following him, ‘I tell you, not even in Isra’el have I found such trust!’

“When the messengers got back to the officer’s house, they found the servant in good health.

(Luke 7:1-10, The Complete Jewish Bible)

In this passage lies an important fact that I don’t remember being taught in Sunday school — the Roman soldier did not meet with Jesus face-to-face! Sincere humility discouraged him from personally approaching the Jewish Son of God with his request. The centurion didn’t touch Jesus’ robe or plead with Him for a miracle. He simply communicated that there was a desperate need — not for his own benefit, but on behalf of his very ill servant.


SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT:  When comparing the New International Version with The Complete Jewish Bible translation of this passage into English, two words are used to describe the centurion’s state of mind in that moment: “faith” and “trust.” Is one easier to comprehend than the other?