The Faith of a Roman

Centurion asks Jesus to heal servant-Ernest Borgnine

Matthew 8:5-10
5 And when Jesus entered Capernaum, a centurion came to Him, imploring Him, 6 and saying, “Lord, my servant is lying paralyzed at home, fearfully tormented.” 7 Jesus said to him, “I will come and heal him.” 8 But the centurion said, “Lord, I am not worthy for You to come under my roof, but just say the word, and my servant will be healed. 9 “For I also am a man under authority, with soldiers under me; and I say to this one, ‘Go!’ and he goes, and to another, ‘Come!’ and he comes, and to my slave, ‘Do this!’ and he does it.” 10 Now when Jesus heard this, He marveled and said to those who were following, “Truly I say to you, I have not found such great faith with anyone in Israel.

Isn’t it interesting that even people who weren’t Jews were coming to Jesus asking for help? Until now, the Jews were the great faithful people of God (even though we know they struggled in trusting Him throughout the whole Old Testament). Here we see a Roman guard approaching Jesus and not only asking Him to heal someone in his home, but doing so from afar without even seeing or touching him. This tells us a couple things:

Miraculous healing doesn’t just take place in person.
God can bring anyone to believe in Jesus as the Christ.
Faith in miraculous healing is simply an understanding of God’s will and power.

Why is it so difficult for us to believe these things can and do really happen? Why must we complicate the process? This Roman soldier approached Jesus with full confidence that He could heal the servant over a distance. Yet we get upset with God because we think He doesn’t hear our prayers. Now, I don’t intend to go into a rant about how we lack faith and that’s why our prayers don’t get answered. In fact, what I want to say has nothing to do with prayer at all. We lack a relationship with and knowledge of who God really is.

This soldier, who was not by any means a Jew, knew more about Jesus’ character than the majority of the Israelite population that has been waiting for Jesus’ arrival for centuries! The 12 disciples were still just figuring out if this guy (Jesus) was for real or not and a Roman soldier just comes up expecting Jesus to heal this servant in bed back home. While everyone else is standing around bewildered at the miracles Jesus is performing, the Roman approaches Him and practically demands that the servant be healed. This is a full confidence in the providence of the Lord and it does not come from our own gumption. It comes from a secure trust in God. People wonder why we don’t see many healings like this in today’s world; it’s because we don’t believe anymore. We don’t care to know who God is because we have created our own gods. We don’t “need” Him, or so we think.

Those of you who follow my blog regularly might be tired of reading this but I am going to say it again because it is crucial: why aren’t we seeing and doing more of this? In John 14 Jesus is giving His farewell speech to His disciples and He drops this bomb on all of us:

11 “Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me; otherwise believe because of the works themselves. 12 “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father. 13 “Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 “If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it. 15 “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.

Where are these greater works we are supposed to be doing? Why have we fallen asleep on watch? Why are we drifting off the highway while driving this movement of restoration of God’s Kingdom on earth? It’s a shame that the demons and heathens in this world have more faith than us.

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