I am not worthy to have you come (Luke 7:6)
The man was only a servant, but yet beloved by his owner. A serious illness had brought him face to face with death and so his owner acted. But this was no ordinary owner. This man was a Roman military officer, able to issue orders that would be instantly obeyed. He understood authority. And obviously he understood compassion as well, for not only was he concerned for his servant, but when he sent an appeal to Jesus through his Jewish friends, they reported that he was “worthy” to have Jesus come because he loved the Jews and had helped the Jews many times.
The centurion was not so proud, however. He declared that he was not worthy. He understood authority and he recognized Jesus had greater authority than he had. He asked Jesus to do what a man in power was able to do: speak a command and it is done.
Jesus was amazed. “I tell you, not even in Israel have I found such faith." (Luke 7:9). It was the centurion’s faith, not his authority, which earned Jesus’ praise.
Faith in what? Faith in Jesus’ authority. This man could have proudly claimed that his own authority was sufficient. He had position, power, riches (he built a synagogue, after all). But he recognized accurately his own unworthiness and Jesus’ authority.
We sometimes worship our own worthiness and authority. We think that we are worthy to be on Jesus’ team and he should be glad to have us. Or, just as bad, we think we're not worthy because we haven't done enough for Jesus.
But that's all about me, whether I do enough or don't do enough. Can we respond as this Roman officer? “…only speak the word…” (Luke 7:7). Is our faith in the authority of Jesus and the power of his Word? Or is it in my spiritual resume?