Saturday, 7 July 2018

I've never seen such faith!

Then Jesus went with them. And when He was already not far from the house, the centurion sent friends to Him, saying to Him, "Lord, do not trouble Yourself, for I am not worthy that You should enter under my roof. Therefore I did not even think myself worthy to come to You. But say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I also am a man placed under authority, having 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 these things, He marveled at him, and turned around and said to the crowd that followed Him, "I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel!" – Luke 7.6-9

I enjoy getting to know the lesser known characters in the Bible. This is a guy who amazes me more every time I read about him. We don’t know his name. He is only called a ‘certain centurion.’ He was a professional Roman soldier who commanded between 80-100 men. He had served in the military for a while. Centurions had to be educated men with experience and leadership ability. They were very highly regarded in Rome.

But somehow this soldier had been assigned to one of the least desirable posts of his day. We have no idea why. Maybe he was being punished or maybe he was so good that he was sent there to try to sort out a mess of some sort. Either way he was in Capernaum the same time Jesus was.

Apparently he knew about Jesus. Maybe he was on a policing duty because of the crowds that came to hear Jesus. Maybe he was just curious and had heard Jesus preach, but he knew there was something special. He was close to the people. They thought highly of him. He loved Israel and had even arranged for the building of a synagogue.

Now he had a servant who was dying. He didn’t feel worthy of coming to Jesus himself. He wasn’t a Jew, how could he go? So he sent Jewish friends to go to Jesus. The soldier understood authority. He gave orders and his soldiers obeyed. He recognised Jesus’ authority over death and disease so had the faith that Jesus could fix.  He knew that Jesus’ word alone was sufficient to heal.

Jesus’ response was that He had never seen such faith, even among the Jews. What a great testimony. He had never seen such faith anywhere.

How does my faith compare to this centurion? Jesus could certainly not say of me ‘I have never seen such faith’ unless He was talking about my lack of it. Without faith it is impossible to please God. This Roman soldier pleased God, my question whether or not mine does.

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