Jesus was praying alone when someone approached him. It was a centurion he had encountered before.
The centurion was a middle-aged man, who bore the scars of battle and the hard lines of physical endurance. When he saw what Jesus was doing, he said, “I apologize, teacher, for having interrupted you.”
Jesus had been standing alone, leaning against a tree. He walked over to the Roman. “What can I do for you?” he asked with a smile.
“Teacher, I have killed men, and men have tried to kill me. How can I be pure in spirit?”
“You are pure in spirit,” Jesus said.
The centurion was surprised.
Seeing this, Jesus added. “The actions of men are necessitated by what they do.”
“Then soldiers are acceptable?”
“There will be a time when there are no soldiers. It is your heart that is acceptable.”
The centurion left, pondering the distinction.
Copyright 2013 George Lowell Tollefson