“They’re a very deserving case”
The implication being that there is something worthy, something of a reward for behaviour or to justify special or particular treatment.
But who decides who is worthy, who is good enough, who is deserving?
Jesus Heals an Army Officer’s Servant
7 After Jesus had finished teaching the people, he went to Capernaum. 2 In that town an army officer’s servant was sick and about to die. The officer liked this servant very much. 3 And when he heard about Jesus, he sent some Jewish leaders to ask him to come and heal the servant.
4 The leaders went to Jesus and begged him to do something. They said, “This man deserves your help! 5 He loves our nation and even built us a meeting place.” 6 So Jesus went with them.
When Jesus wasn’t far from the house, the officer sent some friends to tell him, “Lord, don’t go to any trouble for me! I am not good enough for you to come into my house. 7 And I am certainly not worthy to come to you. Just say the word, and my servant will get well. 8 I have officers who give orders to me, and I have soldiers who take orders from me. I can say to one of them, ‘Go!’ and he goes. I can say to another, ‘Come!’ and he comes. I can say to my servant, ‘Do this!’ and he will do it.”
9 When Jesus heard this, he was so surprised that he turned and said to the crowd following him, “In all of Israel I’ve never found anyone with this much faith!”
10 The officer’s friends returned and found the servant well.
This passage raises so many, probably peripheral, questions in my mind:
- did the officer only want to help his servant because he liked him? If he hadn’t liked him, would he have cared to seek help from Jesus?
- The man officer sent Jewish leaders to ask Jesus to come – and they clearly believed that Jesus could help – not the usual response recorded from them
- there is mention of the man “deserving” Jesus help. What if someone isn’t apparently deserving?
I’m just putting those questions out there as I ponder.
The officer felt he was not good enough for Jesus to come to him, or for him to come to Jesus – to even be in his presence. Yet he knew that Jesus power was even greater than that he himself had over his soldiers.
To Jesus, this attitude showed the depth of the man’s faith. All that was needed was for Jesus to give the word.
In point of fact, no word of healing from Jesus is recorded. But the servant is restored to full health.
The lesson here is for those who feel that they are not good enough, not worthy, not deserving of Jesus and his presence. The truth is whoever we are, whatever we have or haven’t done, whether we think we are deserving or not, whether other people think we are worthy or not – Jesus believes we are, and he comes to respond to our need. We are not left floundering or despairing.