Cultural Differences

Rich Rockwood

READ : Matthew 8:5-13

“Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed.” (v. 8 NIV)

What made this man think that a Jewish rabbi—reported to have miraculous powers—would help him? He was an officer in the foreign army that was occupying the rabbi's homeland.

But concern for a sufferer made the centurion ignore racial, cultural, and political differences and approach Jesus for help. “‘Lord,' he said, ‘my servant lies at home paralyzed and in terrible suffering'” (v. 6 NIV).

When Jesus agreed to go, the Roman then added, “I don't want to put you to all that trouble. Just give the order and my servant will be fine” (Matt. 8:8 The Message). A stunned Jesus commented: “I've yet to come across this kind of simple trust in Israel” (Matt. 8:10 The Message).

The officer's faith started with compassion and was strong enough to help him defy racial and cultural barriers and face possible rejection. His faith in Jesus' ability to heal from a distance came right out of his experience of soldiering—of giving orders and expecting them to be carried out.

While vacationing in Charleston, South Carolina, my late wife and I had no idea where we would worship on Sunday. Our guide on the city tour, who was black, told us we would be welcomed at his church. We believed him, we went, and we were. The worship of Christ that day blessed each one there, without exception.

PRAYER

Lord, where we see differences, help us look farther to your open arms.