The Oath of a Centurion

Inspiration MinistriesBy Inspiration Ministries2 Minutes

“‘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.’ Now when Jesus heard this, He marveled at him . . . ‘Not even in Israel have I found such great faith.’” Luke 7:8-9 NASB


For Roman soldiers, taking oaths defined the nature of their service, not to be taken lightly. Historian Tom Holland has described how a Roman oath “was of a peculiarly fearsome order, and to break it a terrible thing.” By swearing an oath, they committed to rules of conduct that applied wherever they were stationed. No matter their rank, or how many years they had served. The sanctions against insubordination were “correspondingly ferocious.”

To illustrate this, Holland refers to the centurion who approached Jesus about the health of his servant. He had sworn an oath, but so had the soldiers throughout his chain of command. Their absolute duty was to obey their commanding officer, without question or hesitation.

Jesus recognized that, because of this frame of reference, the centurion perfectly understood the principles of faith and spiritual authority. He never considered the possibility that what Jesus declared might not happen, since He just had to speak the word.

With our modern minds, we can find it difficult to simply believe and have faith. This is why the example of the centurion is so important. For we, too, need to approach Jesus with absolute confidence. To know Him so intimately that we have no doubts about His Word, His power, His authority.


Prayer: Dear Lord Jesus, I commit these needs to You: ________. I put aside all doubts, and trust You completely. In Your name. Amen.