A Centurion's Faith
A Centurion's Faith
There is a kind of faith that makes the Almighty God say; "I'm impressed!" And as we all know, when God gets the glory and the praise, He inhabits that glory and praise and we end up being blessed to the overflowing! Demand a unique, "stand-out-from-the-crowd" kind of faith! But what exactly is "unique, different, "stand-out-from-the-crowd" faith? Are there examples of this kind of faith in God's Word? Come with me and let's look at a wonderful example of the faith of the Roman centurion. Let's go into the Gospel according to Matthew, chapter 8, verses 5-13.
Jesus and His disciples were on their way to Capernaum when they encountered a centurion. This was a disciplined, war-tested man; a "no-nonsense", get-it-done type of guy. But beneath all that armor was a man of faith. This centurion who was in command of at least 100 soldiers, had servants who took care of his household and administrative needs. The Bible tells us that the centurion loved a particular servant as if he were his own son and that this servant was near death.
We find Jesus in Capernaum. We don't know how long he had been there, the Bible just says (verse 5), "and He arrived in Capernaum". What happens next is extraordinary and probably unheard of. Verse 6 says; "....a Roman officer came and pleaded (i.e. begged, asked with deep passion) with him (Jesus) "Lord, my young servant lies in bed, paralyzed and racked with pain". The Gospel of Luke (who was a doctor) says the servant was "near death". Either way you look at it, the servant needed immediate medical help. Now this one verse presents some very powerful mental pictures and "mini"- spiritual lessons for us to grab hold of.
This centurion did three things that shows us what an awesome God we serve; (1) he (the centurion) approached Jesus personally (Luke says he sent some friends on his behalf), (2) he pleaded with Jesus and (3) he humbled himself by referring to Him as "Lord" (i.e. His superior!) and he did this in plain sight of Jews, Pharisees and the rest of the townsfolk! Wow!!!! This is interesting because the Romans were the oppressors in the bible days, and most people couldn't stand them. We further learned that this particular centurion was a very compassionate and loving man and that he loved this servant like his own child. We learned that this centurion was a humble man. His rank was of no importance to him; his priority was to get that boy healed! We know that the centurion was a man of faith because he came to Jesus.
I could stop right there and call it a day.
Think about it for a minute. The centurion had never actually seen Jesus....he had only HEARD about Him. It was early in Jesus' three year ministry so there wasn't that much to hear about but it was enough for the centurion and oh! Lest I forget; "Faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the Word of God." (Romans 10:17). Now let's put it together before we move on; the servant was deathly ill, the centurion heard about Jesus and that He was in town, he seeks out Jesus, humbles himself and addresses Him in faith (by calling Jesus "Lord", he was publicly acknowledging that only GOD could fix his problem)! Hallelujah!!
Jesus doesn't waste a second in responding to the centurion's petition because He says (verse 7)...."I will come and heal him (your servant)." Oh, how I love Jesus! When it is in His will and perfect timing, He moves without hesitation! Each word that flows from His mouth has a perfect purpose to fulfill and there is never any guess work, Jesus is always ABSOLUTE! He said plainly...."I will..." That phrase means what it means folks. It does not mean; "I am coming to talk to him or I am coming to wipe his forehead or I am coming to pray over him or I am coming to read him last rites or I am coming to tell him it will be alright." It does mean, "I am coming and I WILL heal him"! Praise GOD! But what happens next makes even Jesus take a step back....the Creator of the Universe has to gasp in loving awe.....watch this.
The centurion being full of faith and assurance of WHO Jesus was, said (in verses)...."Lord (there goes that acknowledgement of Christ again), "I am NOT worthy for you to come into my home....but if you will just SPEAK the WORD right where you are, I KNOW my servant will be healed! I know this because I (like you) am a man of authority, when I tell this soldier, ‘Go!" they go, or if I say ‘Come!' they come. And if I say to my slaves, ‘Do this or do that', they go and do it. I don't have to see it to know it is done." (NLT)
Brothers and sisters! Let me tell you something; when I get to Heaven, this centurion is going to be on my "shake his hand" list! Oh! The FAITH of this man!!!! Close your eyes and picture in the town square, Jesus and His followers and the centurion and his soldiers, meeting. Picture this centurion gazing at Jesus, with tears in his eyes, and faith in his heart, as he begs for a favor from the Master! Can you hear the love in the voice of the centurion? But there is something deeper going on here inside the heart of this centurion; acting on blind faith alone, he decreases himself so that Christ, a man he could have easily throw in jail, can be increased!. Can you imagine the looks on the faces of the Pharisees when they heard the centurion say, "I am NOT worthy..."
Jesus, the living Word of God, JESUS!, the great I AM, looked at the growing crowd and honored this faith FILLED man, He said (verses 10-12); "I tell you the truth, I haven't seen faith like this in ALL of Israel! Gentiles (non-Jews) will come from all over the world and sit down with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob at the feast in the Kingdom of Heaven. And many Israelites (Jews) (the people the Kingdom was originally prepared for) will be cast in the outer darkness (will not partake in the feast)."(NLT) Now THAT is a statement, to paraphrase the Master, He is saying: "FAITH is FAITH, no matter who you are or where you are from, if you BELIEVE in me, you will inherit my kingdom and THIS man has the kind of faith I LOVE!!!!"
Jesus looked right back at the centurion and said...(verse 13) "Go on home. What you have believed has been done."(NLT) The gospel tells us that the servant was healed the very same hour that Christ uttered those words. PRAISE GOD!
FAITH in its purest form is believing in something you cannot see, FAITH says "I KNOW who you are Lord. I KNOW you have the power to do what I HEARD you could do or what I READ you could do. I KNOW that even if you don't deliver me, you are GOD ENOUGH to see me through!
Jesus Christ, the Son of the Most High God, was the Living Word of God....all He had to do was open His mouth....He already proved it in John, chapter 1, verses 1-5:
"In the beginning was the Word. And the Word was with God and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him and without Him was not anything made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness and the darkness comprehended it not." (KJV)
He spoke EVERYTHING that is into existence. He spoke demons out of people! He gave people sight by speaking it! He raised the dead by SPEAKING them alive! He calmed down storms, winds and rains by SPEAKING them still! We already know the centurion had never seen Jesus, we KNOW his faith was based ONLY what he heard! This man's life up until meeting Christ was predicated on check, check and check again....but after HEARING what this "Messiah" was capable of....all he needed was just a Word.
Just knowing Jesus IS enough! We can come to Him, full of centurion faith, as we humble ourselves, asking of Him our hearts desire, acknowledging we are not worthy for Him to come in "our house" He only needs to speak the Word from where He is and it will come to pass! Anybody else want some centurion faith? All we have to do is ask God to strengthen what we already have inside! I believe He will speak it and it will be done.
Amen and Amen and Amen!
Be blessed family!
Questions for Reflection:
1. What kind of faith do you have? Is it strong and unwavering or is like a lot of our faith today.....sometimes up, sometimes down?
2. Is there a part of your life that you feel like YOU must check and re-check? How did the outcome change when Jesus took over?
3. What can you do to strengthen your faith today?
4. After reading today's article; go home and ask God to give you the faith of the centurion! Proactively seek out opportunities to just believe God and take Him at His Word!