By: Keith Olbricht
In Luke 7, Jesus was pseudo-summoned by a Roman centurion. I say “pseudo” because Jesus never actually saw the centurion. First, the centurion sent elders of the Jews to Jesus on his behalf, and then when Jesus came he sent friends out to meet him. Jesus’ response to the situation: “I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel!” Wow! I do not know what you have to do to have a faith that would make Jesus say that, but that is the kind of faith I want to have! Let’s notice some things about this man’s faith.
First, it was an active faith. The Jewish elders who went to Jesus told him that the centurion was “deserving,” but his worthiness had not been demonstrated by mere words. The centurion’s love for God’s people was well known and had been backed up by action. If I want to have “such great faith,” it will have to be a faith that is seen (James 2:17).
Second, it was a humble faith. Not only was the request the centurion had of Jesus on behalf of someone else, the centurion acknowledged his lack of personal worth. This is not meant to imply that each person does not have value. Every individual soul is worth more than all the world contains (Matthew 16:26). But the centurion was not demanding, demeaning, or demoralizing in his relationship to the Savior. As we contemplate this man who said He “was not worthy” to have Jesus come under his roof, perhaps we should ask ourselves some things. With what kind of attitude is Jesus coming under our roofs? Or, with what kind of attitude are we entering into HIS house (1 Timothy 3:15)?
Third, it was a walking faith. “But say the word, and my servant will be healed.” This man’s faith was the exact opposite of Naaman, who was furious that Elisha would not even come meet him (2 Kings 5). He wanted a show! He wanted things done to him and for him, not to have to go to the Jordan. He wanted to be the center of attention. On the other hand, the faith of the centurion said, “Jesus, just say the word.” He was walking by faith, and not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7).
Fourth, it was an understanding faith. The centurion understood authority. He understood power. He understood his own limitations and the infinite power of the Son of God. He was not making his request blindly, but in complete confidence that He would be heard and attended.
Such great faith. That is the kind of faith I want. In order to achieve it, I need my faith to be an active, humble, walking, understanding faith.