I think the remarkable thing about the centurion is that he loves the people of the land he was sent to occupy. The Romans were not in business to benefit others and centurions were not typically interested in building worship spaces for foreign gods. The armies of Rome were sent to ensure the coffers of Rome were filled by populations subdued by the first century version of shock and awe. But the centurion’s love for an occupied people was also paired with humility, albeit the military version where one recognizes a superior officer. “But only speak the word…” so impresses the Jewish rabbi that he returns the favor and praises the NCO of the occupying army. The valued slave returned to good health goes back to what made him valuable in the first place and my guess is the centurion shows his appreciation to the synagogue and the folks who presumed to speak on his behalf. It’s a lovely story. Of course not all the Romans will be so kind to Jesus in the future and while we take “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do” to mean those who shouted “crucify” I’m guessing Jesus remembered the centurion and included those who told to “go” made the crown of thorns and “do this” drove the nails through his hands and feet.