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God of Emmanuel

Weekly Devotionals

God of Emmanuel

Matthew 8:5-13

5 When Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to him, asking for help. 6 “Lord,” he said, “my servant lies at home paralyzed, suffering terribly.”7 Jesus said to him, “Shall I come and heal him?” 8 The centurion replied, “Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed.9 For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and that one, ‘Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” 10 When Jesus heard this, he was amazed and said to those following him, “Truly I tell you, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith.11 I say to you that many will come from the east and the west, and will take their places at the feast with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven.12 But the subjects of the kingdom will be thrown outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” 13 Then Jesus said to the centurion, “Go! Let it be done just as you believed it would.” And his servant was healed at that moment.

It is very easy that we sometimes feel like God is in certain places or not in certain places. Where is God? This was a critical and frequent question for the people of Israelites. Is He on the mountains like the time of Moses? Or is He in the temple? Then where is He now? Many people have been and are and will be asking this question. It seems like God is full in the sanctuary in worship while He doesn’t seem to be present in the street of dying people.

In today’s scripture, we see one man’s perspective. It records that Jesus was surprised and impressed by this man’s idea of how the presence and the power of God works. There are several things that the centurion understood.

He first seemed to understand compassion. He was a leader of a hundreds of soldiers. He was somewhat influential, powerful person in that culture. However, we see how he cared for his servant. Not his soldiers under his authority but a servant that was considered as just property like animals or furniture. He was waiting for Jesus to come into that town so that he could ask for healing.

And then he understood the authority structure. He even explained to Jesus how he thought it should work. “Just say the word, then my servant will be healed.” He knew that the physical presence of Jesus wouldn’t matter too much when it comes to supernatural matters. This is contrasting from the understanding of Martha and Mary when Lazarus died. They told Jesus that her brother had been there, he wouldn’t have died. She thought the physical presence of Jesus was what was missing. This gives us a fresh perspective that even the ones that spent a lot of time with Jesus didn’t understand the spirituality and authority. Jesus complimented the centurion’s faith and perspective by saying He has not seen such faith.

We may sometimes feel like God is not here because of what we see in sight. Some countries are overcoming Covid-19 while some countries are struggling. It could feel like God is in certain countries only. However, as we see the centurion’s faith, we need to understand that His presence is everywhere, at once. What is missing often time is our faith and willingness to see that He just needs to say the word. His presence brings healing, comforts, and peace over storms. He is there, either we feel it or not.