When Jesus entered Capernaum, an army captain approached him, to ask his help, “Sir, my servant lies sick at home. He is paralyzed and suffers terribly.” Jesus said to him, “I will come and heal him.”
The captain answered, “I am not worthy to have you under my roof. Just give an order and my boy will be healed. For I myself, a junior officer, give orders to my soldiers. And if I say to one, ‘Go!’ he goes; and if I say to another, ‘Come!’ he comes; and if I say to my servant, ‘Do this!’ he does it.”
When Jesus heard this, he was astonished; and said to those who were following him, “I tell you, I have not found such faith in Israel. I say to you, many will come from east and west and sit down with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob at the feast in the kingdom of heaven.
The concept of command must be coupled with responsibility in order to temper the sense of power with personal integrity. The army captain in our reading showed why he was the one in command. He did not only wield the power of his office but showed that his people’s welfare meant a lot to him. Thus he humbled himself in front of the Lord not to seek a personal favor but for his servant. In a human way he mirrored God’s lordship over us. We are not mere subordinates but we have value and worth before Him. Thus the Son did not hesitate to “empty Himself” and take the form of a slave in order to effect our healing. In the first week of Advent, may we be guided by the army captain in our quest to prepare a fitting reception for the Lord when He comes in glory.
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