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Tuesday, April 19 2016
Luke 7: The Conversion Of The Roman Army Commanders
"The centurion sent friends to Him, saying ... Neither thought I myself worthy to come unto Thee: but say in a word, and my servant shall be healed ... When Jesus heard these things, He marvelled at him ... and said ... I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel"
A "Centurion" was a Roman army or navy officer with a command of a "century" - 100 troops (the Latin term for 100, cent, is still widely evident today e.g. a century of 100 years, 100 cents in a dollar, 100 centimeters in a meter, per cent i.e. per 100). Centurions are mentioned frequently in the New Testament, in which some of them, either the easy way, or the hard way, became believers in the Messiah after they were set free of their brutal arrogance.
Some documented examples:
The Centurion in charge of the Messiah's torture (a hideous form of sadism that some today refer to as "Enhanced Interrogation Techniques") and Crucifixion became a believer after he killed Him. As such, he became a believer from fear of realizing what they had done i.e. when they "saw the earthquake, and those things that were done, they feared greatly" and cried out "Truly this was the Son of God."
"27:54 Now when the centurion, and they that were with him, watching Jesus, saw the earthquake, and those things that were done, they feared greatly, saying, Truly this was the Son of God." (Matthew 27:54 KJV)
In later years, Cornelius was a Roman Centurion whose conversion happened through the apostle Peter (see Peter's Lesson In Joppa):
"10:1 There was a certain man in Caesarea called Cornelius, a centurion of the band called the Italian band, 10:2 A devout man, and one that feared God with all his house, which gave much alms to the people, and prayed to God alway. 10:3 He saw in a vision evidently about the ninth hour of the day an angel of God coming in to him, and saying unto him, Cornelius.
Other Centurions found their humility the easier way - without the Blood of the Messiah on their hands. Among those was a Centurion who sought healing for his servant - from which the Messiah "marvelled at him" and described him with "I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel."
"7:1 Now when he had ended all his sayings in the audience of the people, he entered into Capernaum. 7:2 And a certain centurion's servant, who was dear unto him, was sick, and ready to die. 7:3 And when he heard of Jesus, he sent unto him the elders of the Jews, beseeching him that he would come and heal his servant. 7:4 And when they came to Jesus, they besought him instantly, saying, That he was worthy for whom he should do this: 7:5 For he loveth our nation, and he hath built us a synagogue. 7:6 Then Jesus went with them.
The miraculous healings continued with power and at the growing amazement of all who witnessed them (see also Healings Of Man And Nature).
"7:11 And it came to pass the day after, that he went into a city called Nain; and many of his disciples went with him, and much people. 7:12 Now when he came nigh to the gate of the city, behold, there was a dead man carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow: and much people of the city was with her. 7:13 And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her, and said unto her, Weep not.
The beginning of the Messiah's Ministry was marked by the successful completion of the "prepare the way" ministry of John the Baptist (see The Miraculous Birth Of John The Baptist and John's Voice In The Wilderness Prophecy). Although John spent his last days as a prisoner and martyr of the Romans, just as the Messiah Himself allowed Himself to be subjected to, the Messiah did not abandon John to death - He healed him, in due time, to eternal life (see How Did The Messiah Free John The Baptist From Prison?).
"7:18 And the disciples of John shewed him of all these things. 7:19 And John calling unto him two of his disciples sent them to Jesus, saying, Art thou he that should come? or look we for another?
For some people, the greater the sinner, the greater the Christian they became after repentance. The "woman who was a sinner" was an example of "Wherefore I say unto thee, Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little."
"7:36 And one of the Pharisees desired him that he would eat with him. And he went into the Pharisee's house, and sat down to meat. 7:37 And, behold, a woman in the city, which was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at meat in the Pharisee's house, brought an alabaster box of ointment, 7:38 And stood at his feet behind him weeping, and began to wash his feet with tears, and did wipe them with the hairs of her head, and kissed his feet, and anointed them with the ointment.
Fact Finder: What does "patriotism" mean in the Bible? Why is the place of Salvation called the Kingdom of God?
This Day In History, April 19
65: Milichus betrayed Piso's plot to assassinate the Emperor Nero (see also Nero's Torches).
531: The Battle of Callinicum. A Byzantine army under the command of Belisarius was defeated by the Persians (Persia is today known as Iran) at Ar-Raqqah in northern Syria.
1012: Aelfheah, the 29th Archbishop of Canterbury, was murdered by Danes who had been ravaging the south of England.
1529: In Germany at the Diet of Spires (Speyer), a document signed by Lutheran leaders lodged a "protest" that demanded freedom of religion and the right of minorities. From then on, the German Lutheran Reformers were known as "Protestants."
1539: Holy Roman Emperor Charles V signed the Truce of Frankfurt with rebellious Protestant princes (see The Holy Roman Empire Of The German Nation).
1587: English Admiral Sir Francis Drake entered Cadiz harbor and sank the Spanish fleet, an action he referred to "as singeing the king of Spain's beard."
1689: Queen Christina of Sweden died. Queen from 1644-54, she gave up the throne because of her secret conversion to Roman Catholicism, which was outlawed in Sweden.
1713: Holy Roman emperor Charles VI issued the Pragmatic Sanction, giving women the rights of succession to Hapsburg possessions.
1770: English explorer Captain James Cook sighted the eastern coast of what is now Australia.
1770: Marie Antoinette married Louis XVI of France.
1802: The Spanish reopened the port of New Orleans to U.S. merchants (the U.S. then consisted of the former New England colonies).
1809: The Battles of Abensberg-Eckmuhl began. Over the next 4 days, a series of defeats for Austria, which cost it the support of other German states in the 1809 campaign against Napoleon. The battles were fought in Bavaria between 190,000 Austrians under Archduke Charles and 176,000 French and allied troops under Napoleon.
1839: The Treaty of London was signed, establishing recognition of the new Kingdom of Belgium, which had separated from the Netherlands, by all the states of Europe.
1850: The Clayton-Bulwer agreement was signed under which Britain and the U.S. agreed not to obtain exclusive control of a proposed Panama Canal (the U.S. later did anyway).
1882: Charles Darwin, English naturalist who developed the theory of evolution, died (listen to our Sermon Darwin's Theory of Evolution).
1906: Pierre Curie, French chemist and physicist, was run over and killed in Paris. With his wife, Marie, he had made numerous discoveries involving magnetism and radioactivity.
1933: President Franklin Roosevelt issued a proclamation removing the U.S. from the gold standard - in effect, money became nothing more than printed paper with "nothing to back it up," which enabled governments to print as much money as they wanted, thereby reducing its declared value even more each time.
1938: General Francisco Franco declared victory in the Spanish Civil War.
1943: The Warsaw Ghetto uprising against Nazi occupation began.
1954: The Constituent Assembly of Pakistan proclaimed Urdu and Bengali as the official national languages of Pakistan.
1971: The launch of the first space station, the Russian Salyut 1.
1989: A gun turret exploded on the USS Iowa; 47 sailors were killed.
1993: Over 80 members of the "Branch Davidian" group, including their leader David Koresh, died when U.S. federal agents stormed their compound in Waco, Texas after a 51 day siege.
1995: The worst act of terrorism in U.S. territory (until September 11 2001, if one doesn't include the many documented incidents of genocide of native American men, women and children through the 1800s) occurred when the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City was bombed by the terrorist Timothy McVeigh (a white, "Christian," U.S. Army veteran who demonstrated that anyone can be a "terrorist"). 168 people, including infants, were killed.
1999: The German Bundestag (Parliament) returned to Berlin, the first German parliamentary body to meet there since the Nazi Reichstag was dissolved in 1945.
2005: After the death of Pope John Paul II, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was elected Pope of the Church of Rome. The new Pope assumed the name Benedict XVI.
2011: Due to illness and old age, Fidel Castro resigned from the Communist Party of Cuba's central committee. He held the office for 45 years.