Near the end of King David’s life, his son Adonijah prepared himself to be the next king in Israel without his father’s knowledge (1 Kings 1:5-6). With the backing of Joab, the commander of the army, and Abiathar the priest, Adonijah made sacrifices and invited many key members of the nation to his inauguration (1:7-9). However, for strategic reasons, he did not invite Nathan the prophet, Benaiah, the mighty men, and Solomon his brother (1:10). Nathan explained the dire situation to Bathsheba, the mother of Solomon, who in turn pleaded with David to correct the situation (1:17). David vowed to her that Solomon, not Adonijah, would sit on his throne and reign after him (1:29-30). When Adonijah was made aware of the official appointing of Solomon, he feared for his life and took hold of the horns of the altar and begged for his life (1:50-51). Solomon agreed to spare him on the condition “if he is a worthy man” (1:52). Adonijah, after their father’s death, again plotted to usurp the throne of Israel. He was neither honorable nor humble in defeat. As it turns out, Adonijah was not “worthy” of Solomon’s trust and eventually executed by order of the king (1 Kings 2:15-25).
Interestingly enough, in the New Testament, we are introduced to an individual in Scripture that is described as both “worthy” and “not worthy” in the same passage. Luke 7:1-10 records the account of the Centurion and his plea to Jesus, the Son of God, to heal his slave from certain death (Luke 7:2). The Centurion’s Jewish acquaintances implored with Him that he was “worthy” to grant this request (7:4). This particular centurion “loved” the Jewish nation and also built them their synagogue (7:5). This was quite an honorable deed considering the Jews and the Roman government were not exactly best friends. However, as Jesus headed toward the Centurion’s home, his friends were sent to the Lord to relay his “unworthy” and humble appeal. It was requested of Jesus to “just say the word, and my servant will be healed” (7:7). He understood that Jesus possessed the authority to save his slave’s life, even from afar (Luke 7:8; Matthew 4:23-24). At this request, Jesus marveled at the Centurion’s faith and declared “I say to you, not even in Israel have I found such great faith” (Luke 7:9).
In this short account, there is no doubt that the Centurion was an honorable and humble leader. While those familiar with him portrayed him as noble and “worthy,” the Centurion humbly referred to himself as “unworthy” of the Savior’s presence. The Lord, therefore, acknowledged the Centurion’s “noteworthy” faith. This “great faith” saved his slave’s life. Will the Lord say the same thing about us one day? Will he point us out and announce in the presence of others our example of a “noteworthy” faith?