Multi-cultural Emphasis Month – Day 29, 2018

March 29
Rev. Wayne Frazier
Church Vitality Coach, Outreach North America

Matthew 8:5-13
When he had entered Capernaum, a centurion came forward to him, appealing to
him, “Lord, my servant is lying paralyzed at home, suffering terribly.” And he said to
him, “I will come and heal him.” But the centurion replied, “Lord, I am not worthy to
have you come under my roof, but only say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I
too am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. And I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he
goes, and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes, and to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does
it.” When Jesus heard this, he marveled and said to those who followed him, “Truly, I tell
you, with no one in Israel have I found such faith. I tell you, many will come from east
and west and recline at table with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of
heaven, while the sons of the kingdom will be thrown into the outer darkness. In that
place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” And to the centurion Jesus
said, “Go; let it be done for you as you have believed.” And the servant was healed at
that very moment.

In Matthew 8:5-13, as Jesus walked into Capernaum a centurion met him. Someone
important to him needed to be healed. Jesus said, “I will come and heal him.” But this
Roman soldier, a Gentile, understood the problem. Jesus offering to come to his house
would be contrary to Jewish customs. Jesus was willing to reach over cultural and
religious barriers.

This centurion also understood authority. He called Jesus, “Lord” two times. “Lord, I am
not worthy to have you come under my roof, but only say the word, and my servant will
be healed” (vs. 8). The centurion was a man with authority. When he said, “Go and
come,” soldiers or servants would go and come. He understood the power of Jesus’
authority. All Jesus needed to do was say the word and the centurion’s servant would be
healed.

Jesus “marveled” at the humility and faith of this man. In Jesus’s humanity He had not
seen anything like that in Israel. Today people from many tribes and nations are moving
around the world. Many are hearing the gospel of Jesus for the first time and coming to
faith. This challenges and encourages the faith of those raised in the covenant
community. Oh, the wonder of what God is doing!

Could it be that the nations coming to Jesus also answers an objection today? A
common argument is that people embrace the religion of their parents or culture.
Religious commitment is determined by geography at birth. Indians are Hindus. Arabs
are Muslims and so forth. But what can be said when people from vastly different
ethnicities come to faith in Jesus and are welcomed into our churches? Congregations
with different ethnicities are an incredible apologetic for the gospel of Jesus Christ!
Naturalistic explanations breakdown! The supernatural gospel of Jesus becomes visible
and causes believers to marvel too!

Questions for Further Study
1. What does today’s passage teach us about the character of God?
2. What are some other passages of Scripture that also teach us this?
3. How does today’s passage and devotion lead you to pray? How does it lead you
to act?