"Lord, don't trouble Yourself, for I do not deserve to have You come under my roof." Luke 7:6
Do any of you remember Chris Hughes? Known by his men as “No-Slack Hughes,” he commanded the 2nd Battalion, America’s 327th Infantry Regiment in Iraq. While seeking the support of a Muslim holy man for their stay in a southern city, Hughes and his soldiers ran into a group of angry Iraqi men who blocked their progress. Shouting, “God is great,” the group turned into a crowd, and the crowd turned into a rock-throwing mob.
At that point Lieutenant Colonel Hughes could have issued the command to “open fire.” He could have been involved with a misunderstanding and a massacre. Instead, using good judgment rather than guns, creativity rather than confrontation, Hughes told his boys, "Smile, relax." He told them to “take a knee” and point their weapons toward the ground. Then Hughes backed his men away, turned the vehicles around, and went back to the compound. When tempers had calmed, the religious leader of the community called upon his people to welcome Hughes and his soldiers.
Centuries ago, a Roman centurion in Capernaum could have commanded Jesus to come to his house and heal his servant. Instead of sending soldiers with a demand, he asked a delegation of his friends to speak to Jesus on his behalf. Like our generation’s Colonel Hughes, the centurion, with humility, asked Jesus for help. And Jesus responded favorably. We shouldn’t be surprised. Back then, just as now, Jesus is receptive to those who come to Him in faith. Jesus was glad to be of help to the centurion, just as He is glad to help us. To help the hurting, to reclaim the lost, and to bring sinners from spiritual darkness into the light of God's saving grace was why Jesus had been born into this world of sin.
Look at the record of the loving Lord. The blind that came to Him were given sight; the lame He left walking; loathed lepers were cleansed; the deaf, having met the Savior were able to hear; the dead were raised; and the Gospel was preached to those who were poor (see Luke 7:22). Even today, Jesus brings forgiveness to the most serious of sinners and hope to those who find themselves beyond any concept of happiness. Having carried our sins, having been our substitute, Jesus still comes this day to you, to me, to any who, like the centurion, come to Him in faith.
Excerpt from The Lutheran Hour sermon preached on June 13, 2004
THE PRAYER: Loving Lord, I look at your record of healing and hope, and I am filled with joy. I know that You come to those who come in faith. I come to You today, Lord, and ask that You guide my path today and always. In Your Name, Amen.