Reading: Luke 7:1-10
Reflection: It would have been shocking, and a little bit offensive,
for the Jewish followers of Jesus to hear him praise a Gentile as
having shown the most remarkable faith of anyone he had met. But,
that was how Jesus responded to the faith of this Roman Centurion.
When this man sent his messengers to Jesus, he wasn’t just saying
that he believed Jesus could heal his servant. He was also showing
that he understood who Jesus was, and the divine authority that he
had been given. For him the comparison with his own situation, as
an officer who had authority over others because of the rank he had
received from his superiors, was obvious. Jesus had clearly, in his
mind, received authority from God, and so any other forces that may
be at work in the world would have to obey him – including those that
brought sickness on people. This was a profound proclamation of
faith in Jesus’ divine nature and calling.
When Jesus praised this man’s faith, he was not just speaking about
this message, though. Yes, in that moment the Centurion revealed
his faith in the person and power of Jesus. But, he had clearly
already been living as a person of deep faith. He may not have
known the name of Jesus for long before this event, but he had
certainly lived the values of Jesus for a long time. He had won the
respect of the Jewish leaders – which was no small feat for a Roman
occupier – and he had even built them a place of worship. He was
also deeply humble, and very aware that he had nothing in himself
that made him worthy of special treatment by Jesus – in spite of the
fact that the Jewish leaders believed he deserved it. In his character
and actions this man reflected the way of Jesus long before Jesus
had ever impacted his life. This faith was as important to Jesus as
the faith in Jesus’ healing ability.
How can your life reflect your faith in Jesus’ way of love and service
a little more today?
Practice for Today: One of the things that stands out in this story is
how easily the Centurion expressed his admiration of Jesus. He was
unconcerned for his own pride or reputation. He simply gave himself
to praise and let Jesus know how much he respected Jesus’ divine
authority. Faith always expresses itself in praise like this – both as an
automatic result of what we believe about God, and as way to open
ourselves to a deeper encounter with God that deepens our faith still
further. Today, allow your praises to express and deepen your faith.
Prayer for Today: I praise you Jesus, for in you we see
God’s character and divine authority at work.