A Centurion’s Slave, a Widow’s Son & Doubting John (Luke 7)
A Centurion’s Slave (vv. 1-10)
Luke offers no details about the diagnosis of the centurion’s slave, which is uncharacteristic for him as a physician, but by doing this he focuses our attention on the prognosis. The prognosis is terrible, even terminal. The centurion, therefore, sends for Jesus that He might come and save his slave. Jesus responds graciously and begins the trek to the centurion’s house to save. However, before Jesus arrives the centurion sends friends asking Jesus not come into his house, but rather heal by just saying a word. Jesus marvels at the centurion’s faith and answers the request by saving the dying slave.
First, the centurion sends the elders so that they might ask Jesus to come and heal the slave. Second the centurion sends friends asking Jesus to heal without coming to his house. God is holy and lofty and also tender and caring.
– Do you feel the tension of being unworthy and yet hearing and obeying the commandment to draw near to God? Read Hebrews 4:14-16 and know with confidence that God does hear us.
Widow’s Son (vv. 11-17)
The Gospel is for everyone; for a rich Centurion and a poor widow. As Jesus entered the city of Nain He witnessed a funeral procession – a widow is burying her only son, who was her only source of present protection and future sustenance. However, Jesus compassionately says to the widow, “Do not weep.” He then touched the coffin and raised the dead son. The people responded with fear and said, “A great prophet has arisen among us.” and “God has visited His people!”
If Jesus had said, “Do not weep” without raising her son He would have expressed an unnatural aloofness and stoicism. However, Jesus gave the mother reason for joy, the raising of the son from the dead! As a new mom, she had once forgotten her birth pangs as they were replaced with the joy of her only son being born. Now, she forgets her sorrow because her son has been restored to life.
– Even though Jesus no longer interrupts funeral processions and raises the dead, can Christians still find hope and comfort when burying those they love most? (See 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18)
– What is the climatic conclusion to the reality that God has visited His people? (See Luke 1:68; Matthew 1:21-25)
John’s Uncertainty (vv. 18-35)
John is in prison for speaking out boldly against sin when his disciples bring news of Christ’s ministry. John came preaching repentance and judgment, and, yet, Jesus is displaying marvelous acts of mercy. Due to John’s situation, the disconnect results in doubts. These doubts lead John to send two disciples and to ask, “Are You the expected One, or do we look for someone else?” Jesus responds by calling attention to the miracles He had performed and by quoting Isaiah as it was fulfilled in His ministry, “the poor have the gospel preached to them.”
– In essence the answer that Jesus sends to John is, ?“I am doing what the Scriptures promised that I would do.” When we are plagued by doubts, the same remedy should be applied, “What do the Scriptures say about Jesus?”
– Jesus afterwards commends John, even after John was wrestling with doubts. Jesus also states, “he who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.” This is due to the fact that we as believers have: better privileges, brighter light, more grace and a greater display of love.
– As you contemplate the wonderful privileges that you have in God’s kingdom, how should this affect your daily life?