Dedicated to the writings of Saint Luke.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

The Importance of the Centurion

The elders of the Jews approached Jesus and requested that he heal the slave of the centurion in Capernaum. They said “He is worthy to have you do this for he loves our nation and he built us our synagogue.” This centurion was a God-fearing patron of the Jews.

When another unnamed God-fearing centurion became a member of a competing religious group, the competition for Gentile sympathizers and adherents ensued. A hundred years ago, William Ramsay noted the importance of Gentile sympathizers and adherents. “One great reason why the Jews so bitterly resented the attraction which Paul exercised on ‘the devout’ was that he drew them and their gifts away from the synagogues.”

The Christian mission attracted the very Gentiles who were the patrons of Judaism. The competition for members was also a competition to recruit the rich and powerful among the Gentiles, men like the centurion, and devout women of high standing.

Copyrighted 2008


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