I should have despised him. He should have belittled and mistreated me. That was the way of things here, our Roman lords strutting around and putting us in our place. It was how I was prepared to see him when he first brought me into his home as a servant. I wanted to hate him. I didn’t want to believe him when he began to question me about our God, earnestly, as if he really wanted to know. I didn’t know what to think when he befriended the elders. When he funded the synagogue, I wondered if he had some secret motive of his own. How could this man, who had such authority over us, who served the enemy, want to worship our God? Even as I served him, I secretly doubted him.
Then the sickness came, and I knew only agony. I was lost in pain, insensible to all else, waiting to die. I did not know how my master worried for me. If I had known, I would have struggled to believe it, skeptical as usual. I did not know he did everything in his power to care for me. I only had space for my own suffering.
Then one day I saw the illness lift from me, all at once, like a heavy blanket pulled away. I could breathe. I could move. Strength leapt into my limbs. I sat up dumbfounded, my astonished caretakers gaping back at me. Then my master entered, smiling, nodding, and threw his arms around me.
I heard the story later, over and over, and was asked many times to tell it myself. “Tell us about your healing,” people would beg. And then I would tell again how the man who should have scorned me, or at least paid me no attention, went to the Healer, how in his great faith he simply asked Jesus to say the word. How Jesus had praised his humility and belief, how Jesus’ word had gone out at that moment and healed me.
I marvel still at a faith that would act on my behalf, for I never would have believed for my own healing. I marvel at a man who should have been my enemy, driven by love for a God I myself claim to serve, seeking a miracle for me.
“Let it be done for you as you have believed,” Jesus told my master. His belief impelled my own. The miracle I did not ask for led me to find a God I only thought I worshipped.
“Tell us about your healing,” people say. I can’t do that without telling of a faith bigger than my pride, a faith that didn’t give up on me when I gave up on myself. The word of Jesus opened my eyes to His kingdom. A kingdom where all who believe may worship together as one.