If I'm a lot like yesterday's common characters, at first glance I'm not at all like today's. But after a closer look ... I really want to be like him.
The centurion of Luke 7 (parallel in Matt 8 ~ see both passages here) was a Roman officer over hundreds of men. He was a man of power, endowed with authority and confidence. Some days I feel like my dog won't even listen to me. :/
This officer also had a love for the people of Israel and had even been part of helping to build the synagogue in his hometown of Capernaum. The Jewish elders there had respect for him, even though he was a Gentile. Though he was "at the top," the centurion had a servant he highly valued, and his treasured servant became so ill he was near death.
Though the Roman was a Gentile, Jesus "marveled" at the man's great faith. While many Jews failed to believe in Him or recognize His power, the centurion knew Jesus was greater than any one he knew and any one he would ever be. By making room for Jesus, the officer found healing for his valued servant and his own heart. He set aside his pride, his self-confidence, and his authority to put his faith in the all powerful Jesus.
It was as if the Roman was saying to the Jewish Messiah, "I know the power of authority, and I believe you can do great things through your ultimate authority." The centurion humbly set aside his own authority and placed his faith in the power of the Son of God.
By moving his own power out of the way, he made room for Jesus. And Jesus MARVELED at him.