Matthew 8:13 Then Jesus said to the centurion, “Go! It will be done just as you believed it would.” And his servant was healed at that very hour.
Faith is a very interesting thing. It’s not quantifiable except by God, nor can its quality be evaluated except by God. Jesus elsewhere famously said that the quantity is largely irrelevant, to the point that a very small faith can work miracles. (Matthew 17:20) What impressed Jesus about this centurion’s faith was that it was based on the concrete factor of authority. The man believed that if Jesus commanded something it was done, period. We seldom have that kind of faith! We tend to replace faith with wishful thinking, and that simply doesn’t cut it. Some of the things Jesus said about faith don’t seem to jive with our experience, but such discrepancies are always the result of our misunderstanding of what faith is, in a sense, of mistaken faith. Some years ago a popular “faith preacher” popularized the saying, “Jesus said it, I believe it, that settles it.” The problem with that is, it should be, “Jesus said it, that settles it.” It is our faith, but the more we put ourselves into the equation, the less effective it is. This centurion believed that Jesus was the Commander, and that was all he needed to know. We try to make it all about us, and so fail miserably.
I have been learning about faith my whole life, and I’m still learning. Much of that learning has been the hard way, through painful failures. I’m speaking on Trusting God this morning, but it’s not from a position of mastery! The thing is, I’ve learned enough to know that faith is indeed a gift of God, (Ephesians 2:8-9) and each of us has been given some. (Romans 12:3) My responsibility is to exercise the faith I’ve already been given, as a good steward. We don’t often think of faith when it comes to Jesus’ parable of the talents, (Matthew 25:14-30) but I think it applies. My faith is precious indeed, but I’m not to hide it away, rather I’m to put it to work. That’s not something I thought of when I was preparing the sermon notes, and I may include it! I’ve found that faith grows when it is exercised, certainly, but also when it is spoken out. Paul said that faith comes by hearing, (Romans 10:17) but sometimes it’s our own words we hear! We’re all familiar with people saying something so often that, though untrue, they start to believe it themselves. How much more, then, when we speak God’s truth! I need to be consistent in speaking God’s truth in love, and at the same time be careful that I don’t stop with words, but rather be faithful to follow through in obedience to God. (James 1:22)
Father, thank You for this reminder. You know who will be physically present in the service, who will watch the live stream, and who will watch or listen to it later. I pray that You would touch each one, that we may all receive and operate in the faith You offer, for our salvation and Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!