If Jesus Tells You He is Coming to your House, What will you Do?
How do you prepare if significant persons are coming over to your house, like a relative who is coming home from overseas, your boyfriend or girlfriend, or spouse? How will you prepare your house? Yourself? What if Jesus said He is coming to your house to respond to your needs or requests? What would you feel? What are you going to say to him?
A certain Roman soldier who holds the rank of a centurion or a “captain of one hundred men (Strong-Lite. MySword, 2015) heard such words when he sent for Jesus to heal his servant who was dying. When Jesus told him that He is going to his house to heal his servant, his reply won Jesus’ admiration:
“Lord, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof, but only say the word, and my servant will be healed… (Matt. 8:8. For the entire passage please read Matthew 8:5-13; Luke 7:1-17).
Even before I became a born again believer, I am always been fascinated with the rituals and symbolism used by the Roman Catholic Church. As a young Catholic, I kept reciting that part of the Holy Mass where the celebrant raises the host (bread) visible to the people and says, “This is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. Happy are those who are called to His supper.” Then the congregation responds by reciting a version or adaptation of this passage. In Bicol it says:
“Kagurangnan, alang-alang ako na lumaog Ka sa sakong daghan: Alagad magtaram ka lamang, an sakong kalag maoomayan.”
(“Lord, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof, but only say the word, and my servant will be healed)
I don’t really understand it back then, but it keeps reverberating inside my mind.
In the Matthew 8:8 text, the phrase is “under my roof” which pertains to the house of the centurion. However, the Bicol adaptation uses “daghan” or heart which may refer to the life of those who are going to partake of the host (bread). Also, the healing is not referred to the “servant” anymore but to the soul (kalag) of the partaker.
According to Fr. Manny Jerus of the Diocese of Sorsogon and the coordinator of the Theology Department of Imus Institute, the text was adapted into the Holy Mass in order to “feel the unworthiness of the priest and of the people.” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Bh9RfHPWb8)
This is a good reminder for an evangelical like me. Despite that loaded-therefore-worthy-to-approach-God feeling every Sunday – (we carry with us songs rehearsed on Saturday night, sermons and Sunday School lessons prepared throughout the week, and our weekly tithes and offerings) – we should not forget that sense of unworthiness exemplified by the centurion.
If we keep ourselves empty before God despite those loads that we carry with us every worship service, then it will create in us an attitude of humility and an openness of heart to receive more from God. For God fills only those hearts that are empty.
Aside from the sense of unworthiness, the centurion acknowledged Jesus’ authority being a man of authority himself, trained in the Roman military system.
“….only say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I too am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. And I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes, and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes, and to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” (v.v. 8b-9).
Matthew uses this event and seven other miracle stories to foster the power of God’s kingdom, Matt. 8:1-10:42 (Gordon D. Fee & Douglas Stuart. How to Read the Bible Book by Book. A Guided Tour. Manila, Philippines: OMF Literature, Inc., 2004).
The centurion’s faith caused Jesus to marvel and told his disciples, “Truly, I tell you, with no one in Israel have I found such faith” (v. 10) and prompted Him to prophecy “that many a Gentile from a distance would enter the kingdom with the fathers of Israel while those who had considered it theirs by prescriptive right would be cast into outer darkness” (The Bridgeway Bible Commentary. The Word Bible Software, 2005).
Then turning again to the centurion, Jesus uttered the needed ‘authoritative word’ – “Go; let it be done for you as you have believed.” (v. 13) and at that instance the centurion’s servant was healed.
So, how would you prepare if Jesus is coming to you? Make all the necessary preparations but be willing to empty yourself of everything you possess, and have that sense of unworthiness so Jesus can fill you with His power and meet your needs.