Faith For What – Part 6
“So Jesus answered and said to them, “Assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what was done to the fig tree, but also if you say to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ it will be done.” Matthew 21:21
“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!” Matthew 8:10
What was it about the centurion’s faith that made Jesus marvel at it, calling it great faith?
In that moment he had done no great deed or act of such as laying hands on the sick and seeing them recover. In fact, He had come to Jesus for the very reason that his servant was at his home paralyzed and in agony and he could not heal Him, but he believed that Jesus could. That was his faith. But what made it great? Many people had believed and received healing because they believed He could heal them but He did not characterize their believing as great faith.
It was great because of what the centurion understood about what he believed. He recognized that Jesus held a greater authority over sickness than sickness had over his servant. He understood that the Word of Jesus was like that of One with authority who stood also under authority.
Jesus as a man healed by the authority He had from God the Father. His Word commanded and it was done, because it was God’s authority under which He did all His works, and He said so, on more than one occasion.
“Then Jesus said to them, 'When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He, and that I do nothing of Myself; but as My Father taught Me, I speak these things.' " John 8:28
“For I have not spoken on My own authority; but the Father who sent Me gave Me a command, what I should say and what I should speak.” John 12:49
“Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on My own authority; but the Father who dwells in Me does the works.” John 14:10
Is it possible the centurion heard Jesus’ teaching about His authority and understood it because he was accustomed to exercising authority and being under submission to authority? Possibly, but what we know for sure was that he understood Jesus power came from the authority God had given Him and that was the centurion’s great faith. That is what was so marvelous for Jesus to hear. This guy got it!
The authority of Jesus’ Words for that time was directly tied to His submission to the will of the Father. The centurion’s authority was directly tied to his submission to the will of his superiors in Rome.
The greatness of his faith was what he understood and as a result what he believed and then what he said. Faith at its core is a matter of understanding before anything else. When the disciples were chided for their little faith or no faith at all it was because they didn’t choose or seek to understand what Jesus was teaching them.
Yes, faith without works is dead, but faith without understanding is no faith at all.
What do you believe and why do you believe it is the fundamental faith question. Even in good works, done without understanding there is no benefit to the doer. The rich young ruler proves that. [Luke 18]
He did all that the Law required of him, or so he thought, but Jesus told him he lacked one thing. Mind you, Jesus loved him and by implication was pleased that he had been so diligent about keeping the Law. But, He told him to go do the one thing he lacked and he would have what he desired from all the other stuff he had been doing. But the Scriptures tell us the young man went away sorrowful for he had great possessions. What? He had great possessions and he still went away sorrowful?
Yes, because what he didn’t have was faith in Jesus’ Word. He didn’t have understanding.
Who else did Jesus commend for the measure of their faith?
The widow casting in the treasury her two mites [Luke 12]
The publican who prayed God be merciful to me a sinner, while the Pharisee extoled his virtues and righteousness before God in pride [Luke 18]
The woman with the issue of blood twelve years who understood that if she could just touch the hem of His garment she would be healed, and she was [Matthew 9]
The one leper in ten who returned to say, “Thank you.” [Luke 17]
Everyone who believes Him though they have not seen Him, but simply trust and have faith in His Word [John 20]
“Jesus saith unto him, 'Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.' ” John 20:29
All great faith is preceded by believing before seeing. When that believing is acted upon with absolute assurance and confidence in the Word of the One who said, “if you have faith you will say…” then, when you say whatever proceeds from His will then you will have whatever you say because you say it with understanding that the One who commands you is faithful.
The centurion knew that he could trust the authority and Word of Jesus and Jesus was assured He could trust the Word and authority of the Father.
How awesome it is to finally rest our hope, our trust, our assurance and our faith, before we see what we believe will come to pass, in understanding that God will do what He said. PERIOD!
“God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?” Numbers 23:19
That is great faith!