This was the part of the catholic mass that I always loved, just before the Eucharist was distributed, we would all say it together: "Lord, I am not worthy to receive You, but only say the word and I shall be healed." It was such a miracle to me: even though I understood I was not worthy, Jesus would allow me to receive Him in communion and to heal my sins.
Years later, how thrilled I was to find this gem tucked inside the first gospel. The story of an unlikely believer and sympathetic soul, a Roman officer, captain of 100 men, who approached Jesus, calling Him Lord, asking Him to heal his servant. Not himself, not his family member or friend, but his servant. With grace he states his understanding and consideration of Jewish custom, which precluded a Jew from entering the home of a non-Jew. The Roman continues, pointing out what is obvious to him: Jesus does not have to come home with him to heal. As the officer ruled his men, Jesus ruled the universe. Jesus was stunned by the depth of the officer’s faith.
This is the plain truth: I have not met a single person in Israel with as much faith as this officer. It will not be just the children of Abraham and Isaac and Jacob who celebrate at their heavenly banquet at the end of time. No, people will come from the East and the West—and those who recognize Me, regardless of their lineage, will sit with Me at that feast. But those who have feigned their faith will be cast out into outer darkness where people weep and grind their teeth.
Here Jesus defines who is IN and who is OUT of the kingdom. It is not by nationality or birth. Later Paul would elaborate that it is also not defined by male or female nor by slave or free (Galatians 3:28). No, it is faith alone. Real faith, not just attending church, not just saying "yes I believe there is a higher power." It is faith that makes you trust the unseen as much as you trust what you do see, as this officer did.
And yet, it is so easy, it can be missed. It is just saying yes to Jesus. Yes I will come and follow You. Yes I will go tell all about what You have done in my life. Yes I will believe You can do what may seem impossible because I know You rule the universe.
Yes. Yes. Yes. That is all. Just yes.
There is no magic to get an invitation to the party in heaven. It is wanting to come, to be there with the others who call Jesus Lord. It is wanting to come and with Jesus the Lord. Jesus Himself will be sitting next to you at the table!
|This photo is from my last dinner party |
but I hear there will be Italian served in heaven too!
Father, thank You for inviting everyone, even me, to your family feast in heaven! You have excluded no one, sent invitations everywhere. Help me to trust the unseen as much as the what I see, as the Roman officer did. You have said the word, You have sent Your Son, He has accomplished everything except the one thing we need to do, and that is to say YES, to accept the invitation.
To all who read this, don't let another moment pass without saying yes to Jesus! You don't want to miss this feast. I heard they are serving Italian!
Lord, I don’t deserve to have You in my house. And, in truth, I know You don’t need to be with my servant to heal him. Just say the word, and he will be healed. That, after all, is how authority works. My troops obey me whether I am next to them or not—similarly, this sickness will obey You.