A Centurion's Amazing Faith | Matthew 8
Welcome to Real Life. Faith. Over and over again in the Word of God, we see the pivotal role of faith. Without faith, it’s impossible to please God.
Jesus is ready and willing to accompany the centurion. But surprisingly, the man stops him. “Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed.”
This centurion represents the hated Roman regime that conquered and is oppressing Israel. He's a gentile, a pagan. A Jew could be rendered “unclean” just by entering his home. The man recognizes that he is clearly unworthy of Jesus’ time and attention. Moreover, the centurion is a leader who understands authority. He only has to say a word to send soldiers scrambling to fulfill his will. His response reveals his belief that Jesus holds a position of supernatural authority and power.
In the entire nation of Israel, Jesus has not found anyone who possesses such faith. God’s own people should have recognized God’s own presence, power and authority manifest in Christ. They had the testimony of the patriarchs and the prophets. They owned the history of God’s supernatural intervention in the affairs of men. Still, the majority of God’s people did not recognize God when he put on flesh and walked among them. Somehow this pagan could see what God’s people could not. Jesus is astonished by his faith!
“...many will come from the east and the west, and will take their places at the feast with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. But the subjects of the kingdom will be thrown outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”The declaration is sobering, especially for those raised in the church. Our heritage does not save us. Salvation is gift each one must receive by faith in Christ.
In the end, Jesus rewards the centurion’s faith. “Go! It will be done just as you believed it would.” The servant is healed that very hour.
Jesus' final words raise more questions than answers. Lord, are my prayers answered based on the amount of my faith or on your authority? It is the age-old debate between God’s sovereignty and man’s will. Though the story does not give a definitive answer, it does reveal that my faith can bless and even amaze my Lord. It also reveals that faith does influence how God chooses to answer prayer. Consider these additional examples:
- A woman subject to bleeding for twelve years touched Jesus’ cloak. Jesus turned and saw her. “Take heart, daughter,” he said, “your faith has healed you.” And the woman was healed from that moment. (Matt. 9:20-22)
- The blind men came to him, and he asked them, “Do you believe that I am able to do this?”
“Yes, Lord,” they replied.
Then he touched their eyes and said, “According to your faith will it be done to you”; and their sight was restored. (Matt. 9:28-30)
Taking it further…
- Need faith? Some faith-growing activities include reading God’s Word and hearing it preached (Romans 10:17), diligently seeking God (Jeremiah 29:13), and spending time with other believers (Romans 1:12).
 Hebrews 11:6
Image of Jesus with Centurion is from the film Jesus of Nazareth.