We all love the faith of the Centurion – it’s bold, it’s unique, it’s intelligent. What strikes me afresh is that our Lord Jesus loves it too. As Jesus spoke with the man, he marveled at his faith; meaning he considered it, admired it, and called it good. Oh, how I would love to know that when Jesus watches my faith in action he nods his holy head and marvels a bit. You too? Perhaps we can glean a thing or two from our faithful Centurion.
The Centurion was well prepared and watching for the Lord’s arrival. As Jesus enters Capernaum, the Centurion comes forward and makes his appeal. The Centurion doesn’t actually ask anything for himself, but instead he makes a request on behalf of his servant. What a beautiful blend of boldness, compassion, humility, and expectation. You and I have the same opportunity (dare I say responsibility?) to approach our Savior each day with prepared minds, humble hearts, and confidence to share the burdens we are carrying for ourselves and for others.
The Centurion’s mind is another part of this account that fascinates me. He knew his stuff. He knew that Jesus had compassion for all, and authority over all – whether Jew or Gentile, rich or poor, leader or servant. He also knew the limitless power of Jesus spoken word “…but only say the word, and my servant will be healed” (Matthew 8:8). My assumption is that the Centurion must have been fervently studying the ways of Jesus to have such an accurate understanding of him. He wouldn’t have attended the synagogue, and he wouldn’t have had the Scriptures to study…and yet, he obviously had found a way to learn the heart of Jesus. And here again, I’m reminded that you and I have the same opportunity (dare I say responsibility?) to bolster our faith each day by becoming more intimately familiar with the ways of our Savior.
The Centurion’s faith, and what he did with it, reminds me of something Chris Flathers said in a recent message: fear asks how, faith acts now. The Centurion had every reason to fear, but he chose to act on his faith instead. He applied what he had learned. He firmly believed that the Lord Jesus was capable and willing to heal his servant, so he stepped out in faith and asked him to do it. It’s actually Jesus’s response to the Centurion’s faith that really excites me: “Go; let it be done for you as you have believed” (Matthew 8:13). Wouldn’t you love to hear him say that to you? I know I would! Today, let us have this kind of hope and trust in the One we know to be faithful. Let it be done for us as we have believed. Let our faith in action make Jesus nod his holy head and marvel a bit.