Thursday, 1 March 2018

Unheard of faith

And when Jesus was entered into Capernaum, there came unto him a centurion, beseeching him, And saying, Lord, my servant lieth at home sick of the palsy, grievously tormented. And Jesus saith unto him, I will come and heal him. The centurion answered and said, Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof: but speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed. For I am a man under authority, having soldiers under me: and I say to this man, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it. When Jesus heard it, he marvelled, and said to them that followed, Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel. – Matthew 8.5-10

Right after the Sermon on the Mount Jesus started a mission of miracles and healing. He travelled around Capernaum and one of the first people He encountered was a Roman Centurion, a part of the army occupying this whole region of the Middle East.

This is a bit of an unusual scenario. Jesus was a Jew. The Roman army was enforcing the rule of Rome over the land which God had given the Jews. This guy obviously would have been someone who would have been well liked or well favoured.

Something though motivated the Roman officer to come to Jesus on behalf of his ailing servant.

‘Lord,’ he said. In that one word he recognised Jesus’ authority. He knew authority. He had it. He gave orders and his subordinates obeyed.  So he asked Jesus to do something that was impossible without someone with authority over illness. He asked him to heal his servant. The centurion said ‘I am not worthy of your visit, you just say the word and the illness will depart.’

Jesus’ response? ‘I have never seen such faith, not even among my own people!’

What an example this soldier was. What an impact Jesus had everyone in the region. We think of His outreach being only Jewish, but He was reaching others as well. The Gentile Roman military officer knew that Jesus could help his servant. The Jews were still struggling with faith and this foreign invader trusted Jesus to do what He said.

I fear that this guy may have had more faith than me. If I really believed that Jesus had authority over all of heaven and earth how could I ever doubt Him? Oh for the faith of this man to recognise that Jesus has all authority and all power.

I do believe Lord, help my lack of belief!

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