Would Jesus help a Nazi?

The country was occupied by brutal oppressors. They ruled with an iron fist. Beatings, torture and brutal executions were routine. The Roman occupation of Israel was not unlike the Nazi occupation of Europe in WW2.

Feared and hated, they too ruled with an iron fist.

One day a Roman Centurion came to Jesus to ask for the healing of his servant – a Roman asking a Jew for help.

Think about that for a moment. Translate it to something more familiar – A Gestapo commander asking a Jew for help.

What went through Jesus’ mind we don’t really know. But it seems it was not judgement. He responded swiftly.

“I will come and heal him.” – Matthew 8:7

We read a story of a remote healing for a foreigner but the situation was far more awkward than that. Here is amazing grace in action. No judgement. No conditions. Only grace.

“I will come and heal him.” – Matthew 8:7

I feel awkward that we sometimes label groups of people in our society as beyond God’s love. We seem quick to label, judge and condemn.

One of the most moving authors I have ever read is Corrie Ten Boom. She and her family suffered so much at the hands of the Nazis. She spent years being brutalised in a concentration camp.

After the war she travelled widely speaking about forgiving our enemies – never an easy thing to do.

When a man who had been a guard in the concentration camp met her face to face, forgiveness was very hard.

“Even as the angry vengeful thoughts boiled through me, I saw the sin of them. Jesus Christ had died for this man; was I going to ask for more? Lord Jesus, I prayed, forgive me and help me to forgive him… Jesus, I cannot forgive him. Give me your forgiveness… And so I discovered that it is not on our forgiveness any more than on our goodness that the world’s healing hinges, but on His. When He tells us to love our enemies, He gives along with the command, the love itself.”

Corrie Ten Boom, The Hiding Place

I am not sure how the crowd surrounding Jesus felt when he not only healed the Centurion’s servant but went on to commend this Roman for his faith.

Sometimes we may feel we are beyond God’s grace. ‘Perhaps our sin has rendered God unwilling to heal us’, we may think. But hear the grace in His words –

“I will come and heal him.” – Matthew 8:7

Whoever we are, whatever we have done wrong, regardless of how far we fell – the arm of God’s love and forgiveness can reach us.

“I will come and heal him.” – Matthew 8:7

Rest in that knowledge today.

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2 comments

  1. Keith & Myra

    Very thought provoking. Have often thought about Connie ten Boon and the incident with the Nazi. Challenging! As for silliness – made me think about when we were in the dining room at the hotel/Kigali and every evening you and Keith went into “Goon Mode”. Silly but funny and enjoyable.

    Like

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