Jesus just finished his famous Sermon on the Mount to his newly selected disciples. We find in Luke 7:1-10 that a distance of 20 miles away in Capernaum was a man worried about his slave who had become very ill. This man was apparently kind, generous, loving, yet firm and just. What is remarkable about this man is that he was a Roman soldier. He was not a Jew. He only heard about Jesus and was worried about the lowly slave. What was more remarkable about this man is that as a Roman soldier, he had already been living out what Jesus had just preached to his disciples. Whatever we say about this man, we must first notice his faith. And this brings an object lesson to all on this Veterans Day. What are the features of that faith?
He had an unusual faith. It was the kind of faith that makes us wonder how he believed in the first place. He had little evidence about Jesus. He only heard about him. His position would very likely limit his access to Jesus. But his faith required him to overcome the natural inclination of his life and rank. He wanted more than what his soldier life could offer him.
So, what did he believe? Obviously, he believed in the deity of the Lord Jesus. It is so easy to get lost in theology and doctrine today. It is so easy to speculate about Jesus and yet not have proper attitude toward him. Jesus is God. Jesus has all authority. Nothing was and is never too hard for Jesus.
Judging by the symptoms that the slave may have had it is very likely he could have had rheumatic fever with paralysis that caused extreme pain and complications of the heart. His status as a slave made him unworthy, but he was worthy to soldier. This soldier’ s faith remains a testimony to us today. This man’s faith was in line with Jesus because every soul is precious.
We can ask yourselves when did this man actually believe? He was unaware of his own spiritual maturity. He just acted in faith. The special aspect of faith is that it bonds people together whether slave or noble or soldier. Faith in Jesus is the universal brotherhood. Faith is what makes different people act and react against circumstances.
The soldier was not the only one who came to Jesus asking for some type of deliverance. Others came to Jesus from all walks of life and all ethnicities. Belief in Jesus is not confined to culture or location. Faith in Jesus is what caused him to respond. Our faith in Jesus when firmly grounded in him, brings us closer to God.
This Veterans Day we especially recognize those soldiers who fell in the line of duty. They did not intend to be heroes, nor did they believe they would be remembered beyond the grave. But we remember them. We applaud who they were and what they did. In retrospect we thank them. We recognize the example they set for all of us. We are challenged by them. We hope that someday should the need present itself to us – our lives we will be as courageous and steadfast. We especially look to the soldiers who have responded to this world and demonstrated faith in Jesus so that they paved the path for us to be above and beyond what anyone would expect because of Jesus in our lives. On this special Veterans Day let us all become soldiers for Christ!