5 When Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to him, asking for help. 6 “Lord,” he said, “my servant lies at home paralyzed, suffering terribly.”
7 Jesus said to him, “Shall I come and heal him?”
8 The centurion replied, “Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed. 9 For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and that one, ‘Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.”
10 When Jesus heard this, he was amazed and said to those following him, “Truly I tell you, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith. 11 I say to you that many will come from the east and the west, and will take their places at the feast with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. 12 But the subjects of the kingdom will be thrown outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
13 Then Jesus said to the centurion, “Go! Let it be done just as you believed it would.” And his servant was healed at that moment.
14 When Jesus came into Peter’s house, he saw Peter’s mother-in-law lying in bed with a fever. 15 He touched her hand and the fever left her, and she got up and began to wait on him.
16 When evening came, many who were demon-possessed were brought to him, and he drove out the spirits with a word and healed all the sick. 17 This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah: “He took up our infirmities and bore our diseases.” a
18 When Jesus saw the crowd around him, he gave orders to cross to the other side of the lake. 19 Then a teacher of the law came to him and said, “Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go.”
20 Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.”
21 Another disciple said to him, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.”
22 But Jesus told him, “Follow me, and let the dead bury their own dead.” 
What struck me in these three incidents is what they say regarding Jesus’ desire for his disciples. By looking at what He commends or commands, (as well as the implied approval of Peter’s mother-in-law’s actions), we see important values for us as disciples.
Jesus commends the centurion’s faith in His authority. The centurion compares the authority which he has over the soldiers in his command to the authority Jesus has over the paralyzing illness which has befallen his servant. He shows complete confidence that Jesus can merely speak a word of command, and the illness and all of its related suffering will be dismissed.
Peter’s mother-in-law immediately begins to serve Him after her healing. Jesus doesn’t explicit address this, but Matthew’s inclusion of this implies that this is a good response. In other words, what is depicted here is the responding to Jesus’ blessings by serving him.
Jesus informs the first man who came to him that He had nowhere to lay His head. In other words, he informs the man that there will be sacrifice in following Him. Later, Jesus will expand on this, telling His followers that they are to take up their own cross and follow Him. In other words, He calls His disciples to follow Him into sacrifice and suffering for the kingdom
Jesus’ difficult words to the man who wants first to bury his father are a reminder that if we wish to follow Jesus, our relationship with Him must come first before all other relationships. The responsibility to honor an earthly father is huge. But Jesus says that the call to follow Him is even huger.
So what does this passage say to us as followers of Jesus? We are to trust in His Lordship over all things. We are to serve Him in response to what He has done in our lives. We are to willingly enter into the sacrifice and suffering that may come our way for the sake of the kingdom. We are to value our relationship with Him above all relationships.
This is a tall order. One that we can only pursue by His grace and in His strength. And so these words rightly lead us into prayer.
Lord Jesus, I cannot on my own follow You as I ought. So I pray for your Spirit to be at work in me. Work in me faith to trust in your Lordship. Grow in me a serving heart, intent on serving you. Help me to be undaunted in the face of the difficulties of discipleship. Grant me a heart fixed on you above all.
What is the Word leading you to pray about today?
To subscribe to Abide Daily Devotion e-mail please click here