The Lord of Compassion

By Joey Fernandez

       Throughout the Bible, the compassion of Christ has always been consistently displayed. Verses like James 5:11b, Psalm 86:15, Psalm 145:8 all says the same thing: “The Lord is full of compassion and is merciful, slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness”. He was a man deeply affected by the pain and suffering of the needy and chose to extend His miraculous helping hand to show not just His power but also His heart. As we read this passage in Luke 7:1-10, the first of a series on Luke 7 which highlights our Lord’s compassion, let us prayerfully 


consider following in the footsteps of a man who brought out Christ’s compassion by showing His humble and faithful heart.

Luke 7:1-10 Jesus Heals a Centurion's Servant (NASB)

[1] When He had completed all His discourse in the hearing of the people, He went to Capernaum.[2]  And a centurion's slave, who was highly regarded by him, was sick and about to die. [3] When he heard about Jesus, he sent some Jewish elders asking Him to come and save the life of his slave. [4] When they came to Jesus, they earnestly implored Him, saying, “He is worthy for You to grant this to him; [5] for he loves our nation and it was he who built us our synagogue.” [6] Now Jesus started on His way with them; and when He was not far from the house, the centurion sent friends, saying to Him, “Lord, do not trouble Yourself further, for I am not worthy for You to come under my roof; [7] for this reason I did not even consider myself worthy to come to You, but just say the word, and my servant will be healed. [8] “For I also am a man placed under authority, with soldiers under me; and I say to this one, ‘Go!’ and he goes, and to another, ‘Come!’ and he comes, and to my slave, ‘Do this!’ and he does it.” [9] Now when Jesus heard this, He marveled at him, and turned and said to the crowd that was following Him, “I say to you, not even in Israel have I found such great faith.” [10] When those who had been sent returned to the house, they found the slave in good health.

In this passage, I see 6 qualities that the centurion had that made Christ marvel at him.

  1. He was compassionate and loving (vv.2, 5) – The centurion had genuine concern for his slave. He held his slaves in high regard despite their low social status. He was willing to do anything to ensure his slave’s welfare, even asking the elders for help in approaching Jesus.

  2. He was well-respected (vv. 4-5) – The elders spoke highly of him and were earnestly imploring Christ to help his slave. They considered him “worthy” for Christ to grant him this request.

  3. He was generous (v. 5) – He built them a synagogue. The centurion was a public official and enjoyed the fear and respect of the people, but I wonder how much a public official made back then that he could afford to build a synagogue for the Jews. Even if he came from a wealthy family, building a synagogue would certainly cost money, and would have involved a lot of financial sacrifices.

  4. He knew Christ (vv. 6-7) – By this time, news of Christ’s identity, wisdom, and power had spread throughout the land, and it was his duty as a centurion to know what was going on in his place of assignment. He understood fully who Christ was and he had a firm grasp of Christ’s authority and power.  He knew that Christ had power over death and only He could save his slave. He referred to Jesus as “Lord” (v. 6).

  5. He was a man of faith (v. 9) – He had genuine faith so great that, in Jesus’ own reckoning, it was unmatched in all Israel, causing Christ to marvel.

  6. He was humble (vv. 6-7) – The Centurion was a man of power and respect, yet surprisingly humble. He desperately needed Christ’s help and so asked the Jewish elders to approach Christ on his behalf and appeal to Him for help to heal his servant. Although he loves the Jewish nation, he knew he was not a Jew. He probably did not want to put Jesus in an awkward position where He would have to be associated with a Gentile. He knew that Christ was the Jewish Teacher and Master and he would have loved the honor of having Him as a guest in his home, but he was a Roman. He needed Christ's help desperately but was also concerned about Christ’s reputation. Christ could not be seen in his home because, as a Gentile, he was unworthy. There was a strong contrast between how the elders viewed him and how he viewed himself. The Jewish elders considered Him worthy, but he felt he was not worthy to have Christ in his home or even be worthy to approach Christ personally.

          The word “worthy” is repeated 3 times in this passage and led me to write a little more of it in this article. I always thought this word was not to be used by anyone except the Lord, but the apostle Paul was fond of the word and used it several times in his letters to the Christian churches.

          When he wrote to the Colossians he said: "walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God” (Col 1:10).

          When he wrote to the Thessalonians, he said: “walk in a manner worthy of the God who calls you into His own kingdom and glory” (1 Thes 2:12).

          And when he wrote to the Philippians, he said: “Only conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ” (Philippians 1:27).

          Note how Paul connected the believer’s worthiness to God. We became worthy not because of ourselves but because God in Christ made us worthy. We are all called and expected to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord. Just like the centurion walked, so must we walk the same path. Let us not behave in a manner that will bring dishonor to the name of our Master or bring shame to our fellow believers. Since Jesus saved us, let us walk in a way that identifies us with Christ our Savior. Let our walk cause others to realize that we are indeed followers of Christ.

          This passage gives us noteworthy qualities of the centurion, but this passage is not about him. The ultimate hero in this passage is Christ who does not fail to show His power, wisdom, and compassion.

A. Power – There is great power in His spoken Word. All He had to do was say the word. He can heal from a distance and accomplish miracles without even being physically at the scene. The centurion knew this well and believed in the power of His Word.

B. Wisdom – Jesus did not have to meet the centurion personally, and yet Christ was able to see his heart that was filled with humility and faith.

C. Compassionate - He responded with compassion to those who fear Him, humble themselves, and show faith in Him.

          The centurion was a great example of compassion, but Jesus shows us in the Bible that He is the Lord of compassion. Therefore, as His disciples, we must be compassionate too. The Bible instructs us to show compassion to others. “So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience…” (Col 3:12).

          It is easy to turn a blind eye towards those who need help and just consider ourselves and our needs as more important, but like our Lord who was genuinely concerned about the pain and suffering of His children, we too must be willing to extend a helping hand to anyone when it is within our power to do so.

          May the Lord give us the wisdom, strength, and desire to obey this truth.