Who can be saved? That’s what the disciples wonder after Jesus tells them it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God. The operational assumption of the disciples is that, if anyone is going to be saved, it’s the rich. They were obviously blessed; they obviously deserved it. (Mark 10.)
Contrast this with the centurion whose servant was ill. When Jesus offers to go to his home, the man responds: Lord, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof; only speak the word and my servant will be healed. Jesus comments that he has not experienced such faith from any of his own people. Again, the operational assumption on the part of the disciples is that this foreign soldier, part of the occupying force, doesn’t have the slightest chance of salvation. (Matthew 8.)
With regard to social status, both the rich man and the centurion are higher up on the chain in relation to Jesus; but the centurion recognizes an authority so many of us miss. Along with the wealth we amass and the accolades we acquire and the physical attractiveness we possess, there is our spirit.
In June we are considering superheroes in the movies, in popular culture, and in the scripture. Wonder Woman opened in theaters last week. There are two different but related thematic undercurrents to the movie. One has to do with what human beings deserve. Do we deserve to be saved? The other has to do with the power of faith. It’s not what you deserve; it’s what you believe!
I wonder … can humankind be saved? Do we deserve it?
A blessed Tuesday.