“Now when Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to Him, pleading with Him, saying, "Lord, my servant is lying at home paralyzed, dreadfully tormented." And Jesus said to him, "I will come and heal him." The centurion answered and said, "Lord, I am not worthy that You should come under my roof. But only speak a word, and my servant will be healed. For I also am a man under authority, having soldiers under me. And I say to this 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 it, He marveled, and said to those who followed, "Assuredly, I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel!”
There are only two noted times in the Bible that Jesus marveled. I find that interesting because the two times He did marvel it was for completely opposite reasons. Here in Matthew 8 we read the story of a Roman Centurion, a soldier with charge over 100 men. Centurions are always portrayed in a positive light in the New Testament, men of Nobel character, consistent, men of great combat knowledge, fully vested with the power of Rome within their authority. This Centurion seems rather unique in that we discover he not only strong, he is humble, compassionate and caring, having a slave back home that was being tormented by some form of palsy.
He approaches Jesus recognizing that Jesus is in many ways like him, a man under authority. Jesus makes it clear through the Gospels that He Himself is in fact living under the authority of the Father to do His will and as well, under the authority and power of the Holy Spirit to carry out the Father’s will. The Centurion understands completely and is why he knows Jesus can just speak the word and his servant will be made well immediately. The Centurion knew his authority was limited to the 100 men that he was given charge over and that Jesus had unlimited authority over all men, and of heaven and earth. The Centurion recognized God’s sovereign authority and omnipotent power and is why he has no problem making such a request of Jesus to simply speak the word knowing it could be done if Jesus willed!
The Bible says Jesus marveled at this mans faith. This Centurion was a Roman soldier and knew nothing of the genealogy of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. He had no religious upbringing, after all, he was a gentile and the pious Jews had no interest in gentiles at all making this mans understanding all the more marvelous. The Jewish leaders were full of unbelief and yet they knew the Old Testament scriptures almost by heart.
The second place we see Jesus marveling is in Mark chapter 6 verse 6 where it says, “And He marveled because of their unbelief. Then He went about the villages in a circuit, teaching.” Jesus marveled at the unbelief of His jewish brethren in his home town in Nazareth. Because of their unbelief Jesus only healed a few people there and moved on to Capernaum where he did most of His ministering and miracles during His 3 1/2 years of public ministry.
Yes, loved one, Jesus either marvels at our belief or our at our unbelief in Him. When you consider your own beliefs, your faith in God today, would you say Jesus marvels at your faith and trust in Him or does He marvel at your lack of faith, your unbelief? Our answer is more important than we might think as we know that what people believed about Jesus played a huge part in the ministry that Jesus performed in their midst. We read all through the New Testament where the people believed that Jesus was the promised Messiah, the Son of God, that Jesus did signs and wonders that left the people standing in awe of God, more dedicated to growing in their faith and active in serving Jesus and becoming fully devoted followers.
In the cities where there was little faith, little trust in who Jesus claimed to be, fewer miracles were done and in the physical sense, Jesus moved on. He dusted His shoes you might say and took His blessing with Him and headed for a city where people were receptive to Him and His message. Is your heart open today to the things of God? Are you receptive to Jesus doing the miraculous to confirm His Word in your life and in the lives of those with whom you are sharing Jesus?
Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever, loved one. Remember, “Faith comes by hearing and hearing comes by the Word of God” our bible teaches us. Stay in the Word, listen to the teachings of Jesus and seek to apply the truths you learn as you study your bible with the intent to follow Him. Oh that Jesus would marvel at our faith and trust in Him today! May Jesus say of you and me, “I have not found such great faith in all of Bakersfield.”
“But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.”
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