The Faith of the Centurion
7 When Jesus had finished saying all this to the people who were listening, he entered Capernaum. 2 There a centurion’s servant, whom his master valued highly, was sick and about to die. 3 The centurion heard of Jesus and sent some elders of the Jews to him, asking him to come and heal his servant. 4 When they came to Jesus, they pleaded earnestly with him, “This man deserves to have you do this, 5 because he loves our nation and has built our synagogue.” 6 So Jesus went with them.
He was not far from the house when the centurion sent friends to say to him: “Lord, don’t trouble yourself, for I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. 7 That is why I did not even consider myself worthy to come to you. But say the word, and my servant will be healed. 8 For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and that one, ‘Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.”
9 When Jesus heard this, he was amazed at him, and turning to the crowd following him, he said, “I tell you, I have not found such great faith even in Israel.” 10 Then the men who had been sent returned to the house and found the servant well.
The will of the man and the power of the Lord
Saint Makarios the Egyptian, The fifty spiritual homilies, homily XXXVII, 10-11, in Church Fathers and Writers (1992), vol. 34, p. 248-249
Question: What does the Scripture tells the man to do ?
Answer: I said before that the man has according to his nature the good will and this one is required by God. He commands to the man first of all to know and knowing to love and finally loving to be ready to fulfill His will. The fact that the mind is impelled and suffers efforts and performs a work (it does not belong to the man, but to the Grace of God which offers itself to the one who wants to fulfill His will and believes in Him) The will of the man is an essential aid. Without the will of the man God doesn`t do anything although He can — because of the respect He has for the freewill. As a result the salvatory work of the Spirit depends of the man`s will. If we give Him our whole will then God attributes to us the entire work of salvation. He said this Himself:
37 “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing. (Matthew 23, 37).
What comes out of this is that He gathers us and demands from us only our will to consent with Him. What proves the will if not the assumed toil ?
As the iron cuts and splits and ploughs and plants but it doesn`t accomplish these if it is not handled – there is another one which leads and handles it and if it gets blunt puts it into fire and renews it – in the same way the man with effort and toil does the good and God acts within hi in a secret way. While he is overwhelmed by effort and pain He comforts him and renews his heart as the prophet says it:
Does the ax raise itself above the person who swings it,
or the saw boast against the one who uses it?
As if a rod were to wield the person who lifts it up,
or a club brandish the one who is not wood!? (Isaiah 10, 15).
(…) Let us pray to receive the knowledge of God and be raised in the spiritual law in order to fulfill His holy commandments.`