“This Man Is Worthy” ( Luke 7: 4, ESV; KJV ) by Carley Evans

A Roman centurion, upon learning that his servant — a servant who is “dear unto him” — is sick and ready to die, sends Jewish elders to Jesus. The elders “plead earnestly with [Jesus],” saying that “this man deserves to have You do this, because he loves our nation and has built our synagogue.” The Jewish elders claim this Gentile Roman is worthy of Jesus’ attention and time. Jesus goes with them.

Does Jesus go with the elders because the centurion is worthy? Has the Roman earned Jesus’ attention because he’s built a synagogue? Or, does Jesus go with the elders because of His love for the centurion and His desire to heal the servant who is on his deathbed?

The Roman centurion — second guessing his boldness in sending the elders and in sudden, total humility — sends friends to tell Jesus not to come. This man, who the elders say is worthy of Jesus, says, “Lord, trouble not Yourself; for I am not worthy that Thou shouldest enter under my roof. Wherefore, neither thought I myself worthy to come unto Thee; but say in a word, and my servant shall be healed.” (Luke 7:6-7, KJV)

Worthy? The centurion doesn’t believe he’s deserving of Jesus’ special attention. If anything, he feels supremely unworthy. Yet, the Roman understands authority. He knows that with a word, Jesus is able to heal his servant. Jesus doesn’t need to be present; He can heal from a distance. And that is exactly what Jesus does. Jesus heals the servant not because the Roman centurion is worthy, but because this man has “great faith.” (Luke 7:9, KJV)

“The Lord Saves Us” (Isaiah 33: 22, NEB) by Carley Evans

“The Lord our judge, the Lord our law-giver, the Lord our king — He Himself saves us.”

What a wonderful promise: Jesus fulfills; He saves us. For He comes into the world not to condemn the world but to save it. (John 3: 17) He willingly submits to Pilate, saying: “You have no authority at all over Me, if it is not granted you from above.” (John 19: 11)

At Jesus’ crucifixion, the rulers of the people “jeer at Him: ‘He saves others: now let Him save Himself, if this is God’s Messiah, His Chosen.’ ” (Luke 23: 35) And the soldiers offer sour wine and mock, saying: “If you are the king of the Jews, save yourself.” (Luke 23: 37)

Pilate places an inscription above the cross which reads, “This is the king of the Jews.” (Luke 23: 38)

One thief taunts Jesus: “Are you not the Messiah? Save yourself, and us.” (Luke 23: 39) The other simply asks, “Jesus, remember me when You come to Your throne.” (Luke 23: 42) And, Jesus promises, “I tell you this: today you will be with Me in Paradise.” (Luke 23: 43)

“The Lord our king — He Himself saves us.”

“God’s Plan For The Fullness Of Time” (John 19: 11, ESV) by Carley Evans

Pontius Pilate declares he has authority to condemn or free Jesus. Jesus answers, “You have no authority over Me at all unless it is given you from above.”

After hearing this statement, Pilate “seeks to release him.” The Jews, however, cry out against Jesus, claiming He is opposing Caesar’s rule. They demand Jesus’ crucifixion. The chief priests say, “We have no king but Caesar.” So, Pilate “delivers [Jesus] over to them to be crucified.” (John 19: 12, 15, 16) This is not Pilate’s desire. He wishes to free Jesus, as his wife warns that this man is holy and not to be touched. Pilate, despite his best intentions, relents — going along with the will of the crowd before him.

God holds all authority in heaven and on earth. No one has power over His purposes; no one succeeds against Him.

Even Satan seeks God’s permission to afflict us.

God asks Satan, “From where have you come?” (Job 2: 2) Satan responds that he has roamed “to and fro on the earth.” (Job 2: 2) God invites Satan to consider Job, a true servant of the Lord — a man of integrity who turns from evil “although you incite Me against him to destroy him without reason.” (Job 2: 3)

Without reason? — God destroys Job without reason?

Of course, Job’s friends maintain Job has sinned against God and this is the reason he is being destroyed. Job’s wife says it is God’s caprice, and strongly suggests that Job curse God and just go ahead and die!

God says, “Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge? Dress for action like a man; I will question you, and you make it known to Me. Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell Me, if you have understanding.” (Job 38: 2 – 4)

Essentially, Jesus says the same to Pilate. “Who are you that you think you have any authority at all over Me?”

Many respond to this truth like Job’s wife — falsely believing God “destroys without reason.” Others, perhaps only a few, know that God controls every moment in time, every motion in space. All is done with His knowledge; all is within His purposes. And all His purposes are good, perfect.

And this “is the mystery of His will, according to His purpose, which He set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in Him, things in heaven and things on earth.” (Ephesians 1: 9 – 10)

“God’s Son Is Given” (Isaiah 9: 6, NIV) by Carley Evans

For us, God’s Son is given.

He is our Prince of Peace, our Everlasting Father, our Wonderful Counselor. He is the Mighty God come in the shape of a newborn infant in a manger.

He is completely helpless, totally dependent upon His human parents to provide shelter, clothing, food, guidance, love.

The government rests on Him. He speaks in the temple at twelve years of age with authority which comes directly from God, the Father. He spends forty days in the wilderness with our adversary and overcomes him with the Word of God, setting for us an example. He goes to John the Baptist to be baptized and receive the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove. Obedience marks His life. Again, He sets for us an example.

He preaches to us to love our enemies, to do good to those who misuse or even hate us.

God’s Son is given unto us. May we accept Him in His fullness.