“This centurion loves
He built us
ἀγαπᾷ γὰρ τὸ ἔθνος ἡμῶν καὶ τὴν συναγωγὴν αὐτὸς ᾠκοδόμησεν ἡμῖν.
Luke uniquely said that these Jewish elders continued praising this centurion, who loved the Jewish people, their people (ἀγαπᾷ γὰρ τὸ ἔθνος ἡμῶν). He had built a synagogue for them (καὶ τὴν συναγωγὴν αὐτὸς ᾠκοδόμησεν ἡμῖν). There were many instances of Roman soldiers adopting the religious practices of the people where they were staying. However, building a synagogue seems a bit much. It may have led to better community relations. Although he was not Jewish, this centurion had been very favorable to the Jewish people by helping them build a new synagogue. There was no mention of this synagogue in the Matthew story about the centurion. Would you be favorable to a religion not your own?
“Judas and his brothers saw that misfortunes had increased. They saw that the forces were encamped in their territory. They also learned what the king had commanded to do to the people to cause their final destruction. But they said to one another.
‘Let us restore the ruins of our people.
Let us fight for our people and the sanctuary.’”
Judas Maccabeus and his brothers saw the Syrian forces in the plain. They also learned about King Antiochus IV’s plan to destroy their people. However, they all joined together. They were going to fight for their people and their temple.
“For never in our generation,
Nor in these present days,
Has there been any tribe, family, people, or town of ours
That worshiped gods made with hands,
As was done in days gone by.
That was why our ancestors were handed over to the sword.
They were plundered.
They suffered a great catastrophe before our enemies.
But we know no other god but him.
We hope that he will not disdain us or any of our nation.”
Unlike times past, when their ancestors strayed, the Israelites today in this generation have never worshipped gods made with human hands. Our tribe, our family, our people, and our towns have never worshipped human gods. Our ancestors did and they suffered the consequences of death, plundering, and catastrophes. We know no other god except our God. We can only hope that he will not disdain us or anyone of our country.