This morning in my devotion time I read Matthew 8. Within this chapter is the famous encounter Jesus has with the wind and the rain telling them to be quiet, as well as the healing of a leper. In the middle of the chapter is Jesus’ interaction with a centurion, which is a Roman soldier. In verse 11 Jesus says, “Truly, I tell you, with no one in Israel have I found such faith.” That’s a pretty amazing statement given the fact that the centurion wasn’t a Jew and because Jesus by this time has called many disciples to Himself – you would think one, if not several, had exemplified great faith at some point. But not according to Jesus. So what did this centurion say that caused Jesus to respond with such affirming words?
D. A. Carson in his book For The Love Of God shares three factors I wanted to pass along.
- In this particular age, superstitiousness was quite prevalent. However, the centurion did not believe Jesus’ healing power was attributed to some type of hocus-pocus or even in His personal presence, but in His word. He simply believed that Jesus could speak and his servant would be healed.
- He believed in the healing power of Jesus despite being a Gentile. We can’t know for certain what grasp of Scripture he had, but he had enough to believe that Jesus could heal, which according to Jesus, was a belief that superseded any person He had previously encountered.
- The centurion made an analogy that again, communicated that he grasped more intimately who Jesus was than those around him. As a Roman centurion who oversaw many soldiers his words carried the authority not of a mere man, but in a real sense the authority of Rome. He certainly was not as powerful as Caesar, but the chain of command means that when the centurion spoke to a soldier, Rome spoke. In the same way, he recognizes Jesus as one under the authority of God, so that when Jesus speaks, God speaks.
Carson writes, “this is the faith we need. It trusts Jesus’ word, reflects a simple profundity, and believers that when Jesus speaks, God speaks.”
By the way, if you’re interested in downloading a free copy of this book here it is – For The Love of God vol 1.