Article of the Month

THREE  RIGHTEOUS  CENTURIONS

Jay Graham

What are the odds there would be three righteous Roman Centurions within one generation at the time of Christ and just after the beginning of the Lord’s church?  Understand these three men are most assuredly gentiles living in the midst of a religious world of idolatry.  I say the odds would have been extremely low to have such righteous men live as Romans and gentiles at the same time.  Consider these three men—

Consider the centurion mentioned in Luke 7:1-10 who interacted with Jesus.  This man heard of Jesus, and he pleaded with Jesus to heal his dying servant.  Not only did he think enough of his servant that he wished him to be healed, but he also knew Jesus could heal him.  This centurion was well-spoken of by the Jews as a man who loved the Jews.  This centurion had enough faith to know Jesus could heal his servant even without Jesus being present.  Jesus praised this gentile’s faith and He healed his servant!

Consider the centurion at the foot of the cross in Mat 27:54.  Now I understand I may be assuming too much to consider him a righteous man, but I am basing this on his acknowledgment that Jesus was the Son of God.  That is indeed all we know of him.  With this said how did this centurion come to this right conclusion?  He understood Jesus as the Son of God at a time when most of Israel did not!  Perhaps he had observed Jesus trial?  Perhaps he was the same centurion mentioned in Lk 7?  I my mind that is certainly plausible, for who but the Son of God could have done so marvelous a deed?

Now consider the centurion named Cornelius in Acts 10.  The Scriptures are very precise in regard this man’s righteousness.  He was a devout man who feared God and prayed to God.  He gave generously to the Jews just as the one in Luke 7.  The Lord allowed him and his household to be the first gentiles to obey the gospel.  Prior to acts 10 the gospel had only been preached to the Jews and Proselytes.

In the account of Peter preaching the gospel to Cornelius there is an interesting observation Peter makes in regard to Cornelius in Acts 10:36-37 — As for the word that He sent