Wednesday, January 29, 2014

January 30, 2014

“He went away from there and came to his own country; and his disciples followed him. And on the sabbath he began to teach in the synagogue; and many who heard him were astonished, saying, “Where did this man get all this? What is the wisdom given to him? What mighty works are wrought by his hands! Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon, and are not his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him. And Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor, except in his own country, and among his own kin, and in his own house.” And he could do no mighty work there, except that he laid his hands upon a few sick people and healed them. And he MARVELLED because of their unbelief.” Mark 6:1-6

As he entered Caper′na-um, a centurion came forward to him, beseeching him and saying, “Lord, my servant is lying paralyzed at home, in terrible distress.” And he said to him, “I will come and heal him.” But the centurion answered him, “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 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 slave, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” When Jesus heard him, he MARVELLED and said to those who followed him, “Truly, I say to you, not even in Israel have I found such faith.”  Matthew 8:5-10

It is certainly worth taking a look at the faith of this Centurion who caused the Master to marvel over him. Perhaps we can gain some insights on faith that moves our Savior.

In contrast to the Nazarenes in Jesus' home town, this soldier's notions of Jesus were not shaped by memories or experiences of the past, but they were driven by the urgency of his moment in the presence of Jesus. Here are a few insights I gain from this encounter.

The Centurion's faith was motivated by the need of his servant at that moment - “Lord, my servant is lying paralyzed at home, in terrible distress.”

One commentator I studied speculated that the servant's ailment might have been lockjaw - a paralysis of the jaw muscles making it impossible to open the mouth to eat.

Be that as it may, we know the servant's condition was a real and imminent threat to his life and the Centurion felt the urgency of this moment. If something didn't happen soon his servant would die and he believed Jesus could make something happen so he hurried to where Jesus was and cried out for help.

His urgent plea was heard by Jesus who was moved by it and agreed to go home with the Centurion to heal the servant.

Also, I notice that the Centurion was moved by his nearness to Jesus in the moment. "As he entered Caper′na-um, a centurion came forward to him." The Son of God stood within reach and he had to seize the moment! He knew his servant was in bad shape and Jesus was able to heal him.

Third, and perhaps most significant, the Centurion was moved by the nature of Jesus in that moment, “Lord, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof; but only say the word, and my servant will be healed."

It was the Centurion's faith in the authority of Jesus that caused Jesus to marvel at his request. Through his military experience of having authority and serving under authority, this Centurion had no problem understanding and accepting the authority of Jesus. Because he did, he knew that Jesus' authority over demons and disease came from WHO He was not from WHERE He was so it was easy for him to believe Jesus could heal his servant by just His word.

Faith that impresses Jesus is faith that exists in the moment not in some distant memory. It is faith like that demonstrated by this Centurion who was fully engaged with Jesus in that moment when he was moved by his need, by Jesus' nearness and by the supernatural nature of Jesus at that moment.

How is your faith? 

Is it based on your memories about Jesus or built into your moments with Jesus?