Lesson 8: October 20, 2019

Luke 7:1–10 People often have faith in others based on their good reputation. How does one demonstrate that trust? The centurion in Luke demonstrated his trust in Jesus’ ability to heal by telling him just to speak a word.

Faith Can Heal

Bible Background • LUKE 7:1–10
Printed Text • LUKE 7:1–10 | Devotional Reading • JAMES 5:13–18

Aim for Change

By the end of the lesson, we will: EXPLORE the faith of the centurion who sought healing for his servant, ENDEAVOR to demonstrate the same kind of faith in Jesus as the centurion when we experience trouble, and REJOICE in the power of God to reward the faithfulness of God’s people.

In Focus

Melissa was the primary caregiver for her mother, who suffered from Parkinson’s disease. Just as Melissa felt she had begun to find her footing in her post-college life, she found herself shaping her work, church schedule, and personal life around her mother’s increasing physical needs. At her doctor’s insistence, Melissa sought counseling to manage both her mother’s needs and her own as a caregiver.

While filling out the registration form at the therapist’s office, Melissa checked off a list of things she wanted to discuss. She hadn’t realized how many stressful concerns she was holding inside. Melissa knew therapy would help; she just hoped she had followed God to the right therapist. She prayed silently as the therapist approached her.

Melissa followed Dr. Shelley into her office. Dr. Shelley skimmed the information Melissa had written down on her chart and began the conversation. “I see you you’re experiencing some losses and dealing with caregiving issues. I’d like to help you find constructive ways to deal with these losses and guide you toward the experience of new life,” she said. “It won’t be the same life you had before you began to deal with these stresses, but your life will move forward and can still be a very joyful experience.” Melissa let out a heavy sigh and quietly said, “Thank you, God.” Relief was on the way.

How did Melissa’s faith reassure her? In what ways is therapy helpful? God provides care, wisdom, prayer, and resources to assist us and others in times of trouble.

Keep in Mind

“Wherefore neither thought I myself worthy to come unto thee: but say in a word, and my servant shall be healed” (Luke 7:7, KJV).

“I am not even worthy to come and meet you. Just say the word from where you are, and my servant will be healed” (Luke 7:7, NLT).

The People, Places, and Times

Capernaum. Capernaum, meaning “a village of Nahum [comfort],” was a city on the western shore of the Sea of Galilee in the region of Gennesaret. The city was on the road from Damascus to Acco and Tyre, in a heavily populated and commercially prosperous district of Galilee. It is considered the home base of Jesus’ ministry and was the home of Matthew, Peter, Andrew, James, and John. Many important events in the Gospel narrative took place in the city of Capernaum where Jesus healed the nobleman’s son (John 4:46), Peter’s mother-in-law (Mark 1:31), and the paralytic (Matthew 9:6). Jesus prophesied the downfall of Capernaum due to the people’s lack of repentance, even though so many mighty works were done there (Matthew 11:23, Luke 10:15).

Synagogue. A synagogue was a building that housed gatherings of Jews for prayers and the worship services. These buildings began to be constructed during the time of the Babylonian exile in the absence of the temple. Ten Jewish males were required to form a synagogue, as they served as a Jewish meeting place throughout the Diaspora. In New Testament times, synagogue services were held on feast days and every Sabbath day. As an observing Jew, Jesus frequented the synagogue, which became the site for healing and miracles. Paul also frequented the synagogue in an effort to convince the attendees that Jesus was the Messiah.

Background

Jesus’ public ministry brought Him fame as word spread about His doing miracles, healing those who were diseased and afflicted. People sought to touch Jesus and to hear Him teach. Luke gives an account of Jesus teaching a crowd of people following Him what would be known as the Beatitudes (Matthew 5). Christ shared instruction on how people were to relate to God and to each other. He called people to love and forgive. He taught the principle of reaping what we sow. He further teaches that He would know people who do the will of the Father intimately. People who performed outwardly but did not bear His fruit inwardly gained no special favor. Jesus shared how a person is known by what comes from the heart (Luke 6:45), which leads to an interesting transition to Jesus’ next display of power.