The centurion in our story evokes other characters from other stories. Not least the contrast with the widow in Nain in the following story.
Luke often pairs contrasting characters like this. But also the centurion in Acts 10, Cornelius, who becomes the first gentile convert. What strikes me most about the story in Luke 7 is the amount of other people involved in the healing of the slave.
You do wonder what he would have thought and said. The slave seems miles removed from Jesus, he does not even get to hear what Jesus might have said to heal him. Even we do not get to hear that. It is the faith of his master that is communicated through two groups of emissaries. First Jewish elders telling that the centurion built the synagogue and second ‘friends’ of the captain that bring over his own words. Jesus speaks to the crowd rather than to these emissaries. Even though the slave (unlike the crowd) is many relationships removed from Jesus, he is the one that receives healing from Jesus.
What is the relationship between the Jewish elders and Jesus; what is the relationship between the captain’s friends and Jesus; what is the relationship between the centurion and Jesus; what is the relationship between the slave and Jesus?
29 May 2016
This weekly blog on one of the lectionary readings is by Anne Claar Thomasson-Rosingh, Programme Leader for Lifelong Learning at Sarum College.