MATTHEW 8:5-13 – When he had entered Capernaum, a centurion came forward to him, appealing to him, “Lord, my servant is lying paralyzed at home, suffering terribly.” And he said to him, “I will come and heal him.” But the centurion replied, “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 too 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 servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” When Jesus heard this, he marveled and said to those who followed him, “Truly, I tell you, with no one in Israel have I found such faith. I tell you, many will come from east and west and recline at table with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven, while the sons of the kingdom will be thrown into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” And to the centurion Jesus said, “Go; let it be done for you as you have believed.” And the servant was healed at that very moment.”
THEME OF THE DAY: HOW JESUS RECOGNIZES FAITH. It is a very profitable study to read the gospels paying attention to how Jesus recognizes faith. It is never by mere profession. It always involves an act of trust and that in His Person and Word. Today’s scripture is such an example serving us well as a model for self-examination. Let’s enter the story . . .
A Roman centurion approached Jesus. This is important. A recognized leader in the occupying force of the Roman army boldly comes to this Jewish Rabbi who is quickly causing trouble within the religious ranks of the Jews. Not to mention, what do we think his soldiers and subordinates thought? Yet, he comes and with desperation. His servant, whom he obviously cared for, is very sick and suffering. The compassionate Jesus immediately responds, “I will come and heal him.” Now pay very close attention to the centurion’s response. He is about to model for us what true faith in the Lord Jesus looks like in action. He acknowledges his own unworthiness to receive anything from Jesus but boldly with confidence simply says, “Only say the word and my servant will be healed.”
We know the rest of the story. The Lord honors his faith and grants the request of the centurion. His servant is healed. The lesson? How does Jesus recognize faith? By total abandonment and trust in His Word, not a feeling, not an experience, no, just the simple but powerful Word of God. What about us? Is the Word of the Lord enough for us? Are His promises the only source of our strength when life is overwhelming? Do we exercise believing faith in His Word when we don’t feel the promise in the Word, like comfort and that immediately? And do we maintain strong confidence on the Word of the Lord when we don’t feel the Presence of the Lord of the Word?
The Psalmist tells us God has exalted two things – I bow down toward your holy temple and give thanks to your name for your steadfast love and your faithfulness, for you have exalted above all things your name and your word (Psalm 138:2). We will exalt His Name and Word like the centurion by exercising faith in both; a faith that simply says by trust, “God, you said it, I believe it, and I trust it. Thank You for it.”
PRAYER: “Father, increase my faith in Your Word that produces within me confidence in sufficiency for all my life.”
QUOTE: “What God says, God means, and what God says and means, we may trust with complete confidence.”
In the affection of Christ Jesus,