Grace and mercy to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen,
The Bible Verse
The Holy Spirit has written according to Matthew, saying (8:10) “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!” Thus far the text.
The Opening Prayer
Gracious Father, who gives authority to Jesus to the Holy Spirit to us who believe, answer our prayers; in the name of Jesus.
Jesus Marvels at the Great Faith of the Centurion. God is amazed.
God Himself, Jesus in the flesh, marvels at the great faith of the centurion. It takes more that a little make God stand up and take notice. To marvel and be amazed at a first experience.
In all of the New Testament, Jesus marvels at something only twice, maybe three times. When Jesus is rejected in His hometown of Nazareth, Jesus marvels at the people’s unbelief (Mark 6:6). Jesus’ boyhood friends and their families were so deadened in their unbelief that Jesus was the promised Messiah, even God is amazed. The other time is here. When the centurion recognizes that God in the flesh has power to heal, even Jesus, who is God, marvels. Jesus is amazed at the centurions great faith.
Faith is a Living Confidence In Jesus
So, when God marvels it is good to slow down and find out what is going on.
The Centurion is unchurched. He does not know the ways of Jewish Temple worship.
The Centurion is a military officer. He is familiar with the chain of command.
This unchurched military guy surprises Jesus. He displays a Christian faith so great - that God has not found such faith in all the earth, not even in Israel.
What is faith? Faith is a living confidence in Jesus.
The Holy Spirit Teaches Us
The Holy Spirit teaches us saying, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame” (Rom 10:11).
The Holy Spirit also teaches us saying, How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written:
“How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace,
Who bring glad tidings of good things” (Ro 10:14–15)!
Faith comes by hearing.
Faith is a living confidence in Jesus.
The Centurion Prays To Jesus.
The Centurion heard Jesus preach. That is how he received his living confidence in Jesus. With this faith the Centurion came to Jesus, praying to Him, saying, “O Savior, my servant is lying at home paralyzed, dreadfully tormented.” Faith prays, pleads, with God for help.
It is NO surprise that what happens next is that Jesus said to him, “I will come and heal him” (Mt 8:5–7). This what Jesus has been doing. Our Father sent Jesus to go to the people and heal. Wonderful! But this yet does not make Jesus marvel.
Jesus Marvels. He Is Amazed.
What makes Jesus marvel is that the centurion does not expect Jesus to go to the side of the sick servant. Rather, the 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” (Mt 8:8–9).
The centurion believes that Jesus was sent (was authorized/was given power) by our heavenly Father. Jesus only needs to speak. What He says is done.
This is a living confidence in Jesus. This is great faith.
Here is the thing, the disciples and apostles were confident Jesus had to be at the side of the one He heals. They were confident that if Jesus were in Bethlehem then He couldn’t be in Jerusalem at the same time. But not the centurion.
The Holy Chain Of Command
The centurion knew all about the chain of command.
In the military, the chain of command is something like this: the general to the officers to the non-commissioned officers to all the privates.
In the church, the Holy chain of command is this: Our Father to Jesus to the Holy Spirit to the pews. Our Father sends Jesus to does the will of our Father, then the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and Jesus, who with His instruments of the Bible and water and bread and wine, the Holy Spirit calls, gathers, enlightens, and sanctifies the whole Christian church on earth and keeps it with Jesus in the one true faith.
You are given the same great faith. You are given the same living confidence in Jesus.
Jesus does not need to be at your side, with all His incarnate fingers and toes and mouth, to answer your prayer. The centurion asked Jesus to follow the holy chain of command to heal the servant. You and I have prayer requests for many people, including ourselves. You ask the Lord many things and He answers.
Your Great Faith
You come here this morning to God’s house just like the centurion came to Jesus. You receive great faith by hearing your heavenly Father speak to you, forgiving you all your sins, placing His name on you at the font, feeding you the living body and blood of Jesus resurrected from the dead. This Jesus is given all authority (all power) in heaven and earth to heal you by baptizing you and teaching you all things.