Suggested Reading: Matthew 8:5-13
You may know the feeling you get when you look at someone or something and your heart swells so much it feels it could burst with love.
Now, I have never “looked” at Jesus, but when I see Him in the Gospels –how he spoke and acted, I get that feeling. I desire to be all the more closer to Him. As I read His response to the faith of the centurion, that desire grew even stronger.
In His interaction with the centurion, we see another instance where the power of Jesus’ word is displayed. In the previously recorded miracle, a man with leprosy approached Him who said that if the Lord is willing, he will be healed. He didn’t doubt the Lord’s ability. That was already settled in his heart. He knew the Lord had only to speak the word and he will be healed. “Lord if you are willing…” were his words. He didn’t say, “Lord if you are able…”
But here we see Jesus being approached by an “outsider”. The man was not Jewish. Or perhaps in today’s terms, He didn’t belong to the same church as we did. Or perhaps, He wasn’t a Christian. He was not a “subject of the kingdom.” The subjects of the kingdom were the ones who received the promise through Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
Jesus was amazed at the centurion’s faith.
The centurion replied, “Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and that one, ‘Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it. (verses 8-9)
This man obviously grasped the power of God working in Jesus that none of the “subjects of the kingdom” appeared to have.
When Jesus heard this, he was amazed and said to those following him, “Truly I tell you, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith (verse 10).
The Centurion refers to his own position of authority. He has people working under him. When he tells them to do something, they do it. He recognizes that Jesus has authority much greater than he has. Jesus has authority over the powers of nature. He has only to speak the word, and the disease will leave his servant.
Jesus then wanted to go to his house to heal his servant. Jews didn’t visit the homes of Gentiles. Yet, here again we see Jesus disregarding the accepted norm of the society of His day. In the previous miracle, He touched a leper, an action that makes a person “unclean.”Here He wants to visit the home of a Gentile centurion. But the man, knowing the authority Jesus possesses, says, “Just say the word and my servant will be healed.” He says that he doesn’t deserve to have someone like Jesus come under his roof even though he was a man of authority himself.
In saying this, he recognizes the surpassing authority of Jesus compared to his. His faith was based in humility. Pride and faith don’t dwell together. When the one enters, the other one leaves. A proud person won’t consider that he needs to believe in someone more powerful than himself for help. He feels he is just fine. He doesn’t need to look to anyone else for help, much less God. He can gather strength from within himself.
Pride may even cause him to doubt the very existence of God. Jesus responds to this humble faith by saying that it will be to him just as he believed it would. “His servant was healed at that moment…” Not later that day, that very moment the man’s servant was healed. Without faith it is impossible to please God and the faith of this ‘outsider‘ certainly did please Him.
- Say The Word (makeithappenmoment.com)