When Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to him, asking for help.
“Lord,” he said, “my servant lies at home paralyzed, suffering terribly.”
Jesus said to him, “Shall I come and heal him?”
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.
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……
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.

Matthew 8 v 5 – 13

Rahab, Ruth and the Wise Men from the east were all non-Jews; not of the Hebrew faith. But all of them came to have an encounter with God and showed a measure of faith in the God of the Hebrews. The centurion (a Roman official) demonstrated the same amazing truth that the kingdom of God is not limited by social and ethnic boundaries; God’s love is for all. The love of God is for those of every colour, every country and every creed. All are invited to know the love and power of Jesus. The centurion was a commanding officer within the pagan army that occupied Judea, but he was as welcome in the kingdom of God as any Israelite.
The critical criterion for entry into the kingdom of God is not the ethnic group to which one belongs but one’s faith in Jesus.

[Andrew Pritchard-Keens]