When Jesus returned to Capernaum, a Roman officer came and pleaded with him, “Lord, my young servant lies in bed, paralyzed and in terrible pain.”
Jesus said, “I will come and heal him.”
But the officer said, “Lord, I am not worthy to have you come into my home. Just say the word from where you are, and my servant will be healed. (NLT)
All too often we figure we have to tidy ourselves up in order to approach Jesus for help. We have to increase our faith or conquer that sin or fix that relationship. Any of those things might be a good thing to do but they are not prerequisites for meeting with Jesus. In fact they can be barriers.
We come to Jesus just as we are, because we only come to Jesus on the basis of the grace and kindness he lavishes on us. It is only as we admit our brokenness that we can be put back together. It is only as we face our weakness that we can receive his strength. It is only as we recognise our imperfections that we can embrace the perfect acceptance of Jesus.
The Roman soldier in this passage is a model of this sort of thing. He needs help but realises his unworthiness of such help. This doesn’t mean he considers himself a debased scoundrel devoid of human value. It simply means he knows where he stands when it comes to Jesus. It seems he is a powerful yet caring man. But he does not use that in order to demand grace.
We need to give up any inflated ideas of being mighty men and women of God in order to draw near to Jesus. We come to him as those of great value and as those who are utterly unable to attain godlike perfection. And it is on those terms that he comes close to us. The riches of his grace come only to those who have filed for bankruptcy.