Luke 7:1-10                                “Worthy of a Miracle”


            What are you worth? Are you worthy? I always like to remind people that are feeling as if they have been put down or neglected that they are created in God’s image. We can read that in Genesis. We can also read that when humankind was created that God looked down upon us and said not just “good” but “good, good” or “very good” as it were. So, if God in heaven sees us as very good, then we must be worthy.

I have asked a lot of people these last two weeks what it means to be “worthy.” I have gotten a variety of responses. I should point out that the word “axios” in the Greek here means “to be deserving of a reward.” You may have heard the name Axios as it is actually a news service online. They use the term to mean “straightforward and unbiased.” And, it can mean that from the Greek, too. Like the word “kupono” in Hawaiian, this word for worthy seems to have multiple meanings depending on how it is used.


To be sure, we must be very careful when we talk about being “worthy Christians.” When we start naming ourselves as worthy, that is to say “kupono” or upright and outstanding Christians deserving of a reward from God—let us say for instance “a miracle,” then we are showing a kind of pride and arrogance that would make us something other than kupono or worthy. It is an interesting catch 22 in our faith that if you think you deserve a miracle, then you really probably do not!

Here is why this is: Borrowing from the 18th Century Philosopher Immanuel Kant: WE  can look at our religion, our Christian Faith, in three separate periods or developments. The first of the three is the understanding that God is going to judge the world and mete out punishment right away. In such an understanding, we need a set of rules (the Ten Commandments will do) so that if we break one of those 10 rules, then God will send down a lightning bolt and take us out. However, the idea that we are instantly to be punished for our transgressions is NOT what Jesus preached to us.

The second period of religion is this idea of reward—or some might say delayed gratification. So, unlike the child who would be punished right away for doing wrong, this is the teenager who is encouraged to do the chores he is assigned in order to be given the keys to the car on Saturday night. As Christians we have always had this vague understanding that if we do right then we deserve our heavenly rewards. This is also not what Jesus preaches!

The third period of religion is as Kant would say “mature faith.” We have found a moral impetus focused on the sacrifice and grace of Jesus. We accept that somebody has sacrificed unto death and has given us by grace that which we really could never deserve on our own—eternal life with God. Someone has done something so selfless and loving for us that it has touched our core and has changed us forever. WE were loved even when we could not love ourselves—and that made us worthy in God’s eyes.


This story in Luke tells us that we count ourselves worthy and we strive not for ourselves but for those whom we love and care about. Our worth in this world is determined by those who love us and how deeply that love strives.

The text we have from the Bible this morning tells us about how a man, a centurion saw his slave as worthy to be healed by Christ because this centurion valued a slave highly. A centurion has at least one hundred soldiers under his leadership; yet, he valued this one slave. He cared about this man. Even though he was just a slave, he had great value because someone cared about him! This slave, or servant, was loved and therefore had value, dignity, and could be deemed worthy of God’s attention for a healing miracle.

Jesus helps the centurion because also Jesus cares about and loves this centurion. The Bible tells us that Jesus “was amazed” at this man. I do not care for that translation too much. When this particular verb in the Greek is transitive, it should be translated then as “admired.” Jesus “admired” the centurion. This is to say that Jesus put great value on this man.

We can see the difference in how the centurion is valued by others. The scripture also tells us that the Jewish elders valued the centurion. Why? Because he had built them a synagogue in Capernaum. I was thinking that this was the wrong reason for someone to be valued. The elders are putting value on the centurion for what they can get from him. Christ admires and values the centurion because of his love for his slave.

When we look at others in this world, we must try to value them in a spiritual light. WE must try to imagine how Christ is looking on that person. We must consider our own lives as Christ would see us, and see what it means that we might be worthy.


Now, in the Bible, I want us to consider some of the words we see from the Apostles that have taken on the ministry of Christ. Look at the first words of Paul the Apostle in his letter to the Romans: “Paul, a slave of Jesus Christ called to be an apostle set apart for the gospel of God which he promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy scriptures, the gospel concerning his Son, who was descended from David according to the flesh and was declared to be Son of God with power according to the Spirit of holiness by resurrection from the dead. Jesus Christ our Lord, through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith among all the Gentiles for the sake of his name, including yourselves who are called to belong to Jesus Christ. To all God’s beloved in Rome, who are called to be Saints.”

Paul considered himself just worthy to be a slave to Christ. He tells us that we all are to belong to Christ. We are all just like the lowly slave before Him. But, we are as such the beloved of God.

So, that was Paul. Here is James, the Brother of Jesus, in his writings: James 1:1, “James, a slave of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ.”

Let’s keep it going. . . .Here is Peter from II Peter 1:1, “Peter a slave and apostle of Jesus Christ.”

Even John in his Revelation calls us all slaves of Christ: Revelation 1:1-2, “The revelation of Jesus Christ which God gave him to show his slaves what must soon take place; be made it known by sending his angel to his slave John, who testified. . . .”

In all of these examples we see that next to God we are the lowest stature. We are slaves indeed. Christ is our Master. And yet, because our master loves us, we are the worthy slave that is admired and healed by Christ.


How does that healing take place? I think we have to note that the way the slave is healed by Christ is indeed amazing. Jesus is nowhere near the slave when he is healed. Jesus in fact simply tells the centurion that it is taken care of. There is no prayer for healing. There is no laying on of hands. There is no making a special sacrifice in the temple. Jesus simply says that it IS.

This is something special about Christianity that is truly unique. I always like to point out things that make Christianity special. You see, in those days, whatever religion you were, if you wanted somebody to be healed, you would have to take that person to the temple. It could be that if you were Jewish, the person would have to travel to the Temple in Jerusalem. If the person were pagan, there were many various temples all around Palestine of that era where one could petition to be healed. Always, there would be some kind of payment or ritual sacrifice involve.

With Jesus in this story, we see a long distance instant healing that is simply spoken in the faith that God can and already has in His plan caused the healing to take place. Do you see how wonderful that is? We can pray for people in other countries through the power of the Spirit and in our faith that Jesus can heal them wherever they are! Amen to that.

I remember once having a woman from South Africa ask me to pray to help her sister in Africa conceive with her husband. I said that I would. Later that day, I came to the time of prayer and tried to pray for this woman’s sister to have children. Immediately something stopped me. The prayer did not feel like a prayer to me. It is hard to explain. It just felt like the need for prayer was not attached to the request for prayer. So, I went back to the woman and told her to check with her sister about the need for prayer.

The next day I learned that the woman’s sister had just been told that she was pregnant with twins. The prayer had already been answered long distance even before I prayed it!

As Christians, we have this kind of godly connectivity with the world. Through our faith in Jesus Christ, we can pray for our loved ones who are serving in the military overseas. We can pray for our family on the other side of the planet. We can pray to Jesus and through Jesus for healing for anyone anywhere. Please know how special that is. WE are so tapped into that spiritual power!

Because we claim spiritual authority through Christ, although we call ourselves His slaves, miracles happen all the time when we pray. This is because we trust in Christ, that he has the greatest love for us, and wants us to be healed in our lives.


Fellow slaves in Christ, our Master, our God in heaven, is calling for us this day to be healed. Amen.