A Sick Servant and a Dead Son
August 20 - Nº 232 Matthew 7:28 - 8:13; Luke 7:1-17; 9:1-6; Mark 6:7-13
The people who had gathered to hear Jesus teach were amazed at what he said. He didn’t follow the teaching guidelines used by the Pharisees (see #230 - Jesus Selects Twelve Apostles and Begins to Teach Them & #231 - We Must Be Perfect). He spoke as if he had authority to interpret God’s Laws on his own without referencing other important rabbis. When he decided it was time to come down from the mountainside, large crowds followed him. They wanted to hear and see more. As he entered Capernaum, a Roman centurion (an officer in charge of 100 soldiers) met Jesus. One of the centurion’s servants was about to die. “Lord,” he said, “my servant is suffering terribly. Please heal him!” The officer was a good man and he treated the Israelites very well. He had even built them a synagogue. So the leaders of the Jews encouraged Jesus to help him. While Jesus was on the way, the centurion said, “Lord, I do not deserve to have you come to my house. I am a man of authority. I have 100 soldiers under me. When I give them commands they obey immediately. If you just say the word, my servant will be healed.” Jesus was amazed! He turned to the crowd and said, “I haven’t seen anyone with this much faith in all of Israel!” Then he said to the centurion, “Go! It will be done just as you believe it will.” At that moment, the officer’s servant was healed. Soon after this, Jesus took his disciples to another town called Nain. Again, a large crowd followed along. As they approached the city gates, it was obvious that a funeral was taking place. Pallbearers were carrying the body of a young man out of the city to bury him. It turned out that he was the only son of a woman who had already lost her husband. There were a lot of people from the town accompanying the grieving mother. When Jesus saw her, his heart was sad. “Don’t cry!” he said. Then he went up and touched the open coffin. The people carrying it immediately stood still. It was not acceptable for anyone, particularly a rabbi, to touch a dead body. It was one of the most contaminating things a Jewish person could do. Jesus said to the body, “Young man, listen to me. Get up!” The dead man sat up and started talking. Jesus helped him out of the coffin and gave him back to his mother. The crowd was astonished! They had just witnessed someone being raised from the dead! They began to praise God. News of the miracle quickly spread all over Israel. Jesus knew it was time to send the 12 apostles he had selected (see #230 - Jesus Selects Twelve Apostles and Begins to Teach Them) out on their own, both to learn and to expand the work he was doing. He called them together and equipped them with power and authority to heal the sick and to cast out demons. Then he sent them out in pairs. They were not to take any belongings with them. When a villager invited them to stay in their home, they were to stay there until it was time to leave. If no one welcomed them, they were to shake the dust off their feet as they left town (indicating that they had done all that they could). They went from village to village preaching the Gospel and healing.
Traveling light kept the apostles dependent on God. He planned to provide everything they needed to accomplish the task He assigned. How often do we miss out on amazing adventures with God because we don’t think we are equipped to handle them? Next time remember: He promises to provide everything we need!