As Jesus entered the town of Capernaum, a centurion came up to him and pleaded, "Lord, my servant is lying at home in bed with a grave illness."
"I'm sorry to hear that, but I'm not a doctor. What do you want me to do about it?" asked Jesus.
"Ahahah! A holy prophet of God and a comedian!" the centurion exclaimed. "Well, I suppose I could ask you to come to my house and heal him, but to be honest I don't think I'm even worthy of you entering under my roof. But I believe in you, Lord. I know your power is so great that all you have to do is give the word, and my servant will be healed. I have a bit of authority myself—all I have to do is bark an order to my soldiers and they'll carry it out immediately. I'm sure that you can do the same."
Jesus was shocked. "My good sir! I have to tell you, I've never seen faith like yours before in my life! Not in Israel or anywhere else."
"Oh, thank you! What a great honor it is to hear you say that."
"Er... what? Why on earth would that be an honor?"
"Why, Lord!" the centurion exclaimed. "Just last week the local potter told me that his niece said, that her neighbor said, that you said that just having faith the size of a mustard seed would let one move mountains! I may not have that much faith, but I hope I have enough to ask you this one favor."
Jesus sighed. "I see people have been twisting my words again. What I said was that it makes no difference whether your faith is the size of a mustard seed or a mountain: what matters is your actions. Honestly, why would anyone think that believing something really hard is enough to accomplish anything? And without any good reason to believe it, no less?"
"Oh, but I do have good reasons! I've heard all the stories about you. Why, just the other day my wife told me that her brother told her that—"
"Wait just a minute!" Jesus interrupted. "You think I can do miracles just because someone told you they heard that I could? What kind of reason is that?"
"So... you can't do miracles?"
"That's beside the point. What I'm saying is that you can't just believe everything you hear, especially about something as amazing as healing the sick or turning water into wine."
"You can water into wine?" said the centurion excitedly.
"Oh for goodness' sake. Stop yammering and pay attention! Even if I seemed to turn water into wine right in front of you, that still shouldn't be enough to convince you that I actually did it. There are men who make good money profiting from gullibility like yours, men who can make things appear to happen when they really didn't."
The centurion stared, eyes wide with a mixture of solemnity and confusion. "They must be very powerful sorcerers indeed."
"Are you even listening to me? All right, forget it. Sir, please go find a doctor for your servant as quickly as possible. I have to go now."
With that, Jesus continued to walk towards the center of Capernaum. The centurion, stunned for a moment, blinked and followed after him, shouting, "Lord, wait! If you won't heal my servant, could you at least direct me to those sorcerers you mentioned?"