Three stories about Jesus today. A dying, highly-valued servant of a Roman officer. A dead widow’s son. And an insecure, unsure prophet. What do they have in common?
I think the first two set up the third one. Both of these healings involve people at the bottom of the social ladder. If you’re a good first century Jew, the servant of a Roman officer is one of the last people you’d expect Jesus to heal. And the dead son of a widow–again, not an important, highly-valued person in the Jewish worldview. But both have value to Jesus. The touch of Jesus is extravagant.
And so the prophet John the Baptist is wondering if he’s fulfilled his purpose. Because the world is full of blind people who can’t see, lame people who can’t walk, lepers who can’t be cured, dead people who don’t come back, and poor people without good news. But Jesus is turning that world upside-down.