Word from afar
The centurion is a man of war. He does not belong to the chosen people, he belongs to the people of the enemy. He does not belong to the people of Abraham, he is an outsider, he is not one of God's people.
The centurion is one who recognizes no faith beyond the one needed by a military system which he himself describes as a system of subordinates. The centurion can be ordered to kill, and in turn, with a simple command, he can order his men to do likewise. The centurion can order someone to kill or he can condemn someone to prison, but he can do nothing for his servant's life or health; none of his orders can free his servant from his painful paralysis.
But impotence, adversity, and suffering do not provoke in the centurion - as we have seen so many times in our own lifetimes and in the history of the chosen people - blasphemy, cursing, aggressiveness, and arrogance, but rather the great, simple, humble awareness of love and of faith in Almighty God, the Lord who has power over eveything. The servant's painful paralysis does not paralyze the centurion's heart into an arrogant anger or a desperate resentment, but it awakens in him the desire to belong to a new history that he does not know as yet but that he already discerns in those agile, powerful steps and in the voice of that thirty-ish looking man who he calls Lord without even knowing him.
He senses, by the grace of the Paraclete, that a new story is being born, a new people who will walk in the light of that stunning young man with charming eyes whose commands are so useful and effective that they can even bring back to life or to health.
He senses that the man standing before him, the man he calls Lord without knowing Him, has a voice and words that no one else has, a voice and words that, even if only whispered from afar, have power over Life and over Death, can cross the heaven of heavens, can do anything at all.
He senses that the man who stands before him is a King, the true King, the true Lord of the universe. He senses and knows that for the One who stands before him a word whispered from afar is sufficient, because for Him nothing is far away, outside, unknown, because everything belongs to Him.