Faith Like This

I am extremely enjoying taking my time slowly through the book of Matthew where I continue to find some amazing realities about Jesus, humility, and faith.

By this point most people know that Jesus was a Jesus person living in Israel. Many time, however, most people do not realize that Jesus’ ministry was predominately to the Jewish people. Since Christianity has become so westernized and associated with the west we assume Jesus spent much of his time with the Romans. This is simply not true. Right smack in the middle of the story of Jesus’ life we find this encounter.

“When he entered Capernaum, a centurion came forward to him, appealing to him, “Lord, my servant is lying paralyzed at home, suffering terribly.” And he said to him, “I will come and heal him.” But the centurion replied, “Lord, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof, but only say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I too am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. And I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes, and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes, and to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” When Jesus heard this, he marveled and said to those who followed him, “Truly, I tell you, with no one in Israel have I found such faith. I tell you, many will come from east and west and recline at table with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven, while the sons of the kingdom will be thrown into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” And to the centurion Jesus said, “Go; let it be done for you as you have believed.” And the servant was healed at that very moment.”
(Matthew 8:5–13 ESV)

I find this encounter incredible for a few reasons. This was all initiated by a Centurion. A centurion is a roman soldier who would be responsible for about 100 other soldiers. He is clearly a part of the Roman army and very likely working to earn his Roman citizenship. As a result, he would obey the rules of law of Rome and not the Jewish people. Yet, he potentially risks his respect by seeking out a Jewish Rabbi to ask for help.

Here we find the next thing that is striking to me, the centurion seeks out Jesus himself. Now this might make sense if his only son was sick and dying, but no, he seeks out Jesus because his servant is dying. This man was in charge of about 100 soldiers, surely he could have sent just about anyone to go speak on behalf of his servant. However, he comes himself calling out to Jesus in a term of respect saying, “Lord”. This shows a great deal of humility for a leader in the Roman army, and a great deal of sacrifice for a servant he clearly had affection for.

Not only did I find this interesting but Jesus did also, he responds immediately to go heal him, yet, many times in the gospels he does not respond this way. Then we see even greater, humility, faith, and understanding of authority. This man knows he is undeserving of having Jesus help him or even enter his home, and he has faith that Jesus can heal just as he created, by simply speaking it to be. He understood Jesus as God and that he is in control of all things. That he simply must give the word and it shall be done. What a great reminder to all of us who struggle with understanding authority and have no military experience to better understand. This man sees Jesus as the great general of the world, only needing to speak the word and have his orders carried out. Oh how great it would be to understand that truth better. God has spoken out his orders and I am thankful to serve as his soldier, now I go and carry out his orders (will) for him.

Now even Jesus makes a big deal out of these. Here are his disciples who have been following him around and watching him do amazing things, and this Roman Centurion has more faith than them. I know the feeling at times when I listen to my little Dylan and Drew, the stun me at times when I realize they have so much more faith then I do. They do not worry, they simply trust. When we do family devotionals or talk about how we are to live they simply take their orders and try to carry them out. They are still in basic training and have to be corrected often, but aren’t we all.

Oh if only I, a Jewish Christian disciple could have the faith of a Roman Centurion. If only I were so humble, so trusting, such a servant maybe I would have the privilege to see more of Jesus. What about you? When was the last time you made a decision to trust in Jesus that could jeopardize your status? When was the last time you did so for another? When was the list time you asked Jesus for help humbly, not because you deserved to have in your home but because you had faith he could speak any and all things into being? When was the last time you understood Jesus’ authority as your great general and lived to carry out his orders? When was the last time you witnessed a miracle?

Today is a great day to start!

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