One hundred years ago World War I ended at exactly 11 am. on the 11th Day of the 11th month of 1918. Congress declared an annual holiday and called it “Armistice Day”.
But in 1953 after the second World War ended, the name was changed to Veterans Day.
We pay tribute to all of our American Veterans, both living and dead, who fought so bravely to provide and protect our freedoms as a country.
In the Gospel of Matthew chapter 8:5-13, Jesus pays a great tribute to a military veteran, not because of his service to his country, but for his faith in God.
To paraphrase, Jesus was in Capernaum when a centurion came to him and said that his servant was home paralyzed, dreadfully tormented. Jesus said he would come and heal him but the centurion said he wasn’t worthy.
Jesus just had to speak the word and his servant would be healed. He said that he was a man under authority, having soldiers under him. He only had to say go and they go and to another come and he would come.
When Jesus heard this he marveled and said “Assuredly, I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel.” Then Jesus said to the centurion, “Go your way; as you have believed, so let it be done to you.” and the servant was healed that same hour.
Let’s notice some key points here: 1st. The military veteran gave honor to Christ. A centurion was a military leader in the Roman army with command of over a hundred.
2nd Later in verse 9 the centurion told Jesus about the kind of authority he had in the Roman army, meaning his men did whatever they were told to do. 3rd Every time a Centurion is mentioned in the New Testament, it is always in a favorable light.
(Matt. 27:54) (Acts 10 :1) (Acts 21:32) (Acts 23:17) and (Acts 27:39-43). I give you these references so you can look them up for yourself.
The Greek word Matthew used in verse 6 of our main text “servant” is “boy” or “one who is loved like a son.” Jesus, seeing the love and compassion this rugged military veteran had for his suffering servant said, “I will come and heal him.”
But then notice the great honor this military veteran gives to Jesus by saying he was not worthy, only say the word and his servant would be healed.
By faith, the Centurion came to Jesus. He could have commanded his soldiers bring Jesus but he didn’t. He sought out Jesus. In these verses we see Jesus do two things with regards to this military veteran. In verse 10, Jesus honored him for his faith.
Not only does Jesus honor him for his faith, Jesus healed his suffering servant.
True faith sees the invisible, believes the impossible and receives the incredible!
It’s a veteran, not the preacher, who gave us the freedom of religion. The veteran, not the reporter, who gave us freedom of the press. The veteran, not the lawyer who gave us the right to a fair trial. The veteran, not the politician who gave us the right to vote. The veteran, not the author who gave us freedom of speech.
It is the veteran who salutes the flag and served under the flag, who gave us the freedom to proudly wave our flags. My dad served proudly in WWII on a ship in the Pacific Ocean. I honor our veterans this Veterans Day, but I worship Jesus Christ, my great commander-in-chief!
May God bless all of our veterans today and always. God loves all of you and so do I!