Growing In Faith – Luke 7

Luke 7

In Luke 18:8 Jesus asks this question, “….when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?” Why is faith so important to God?  Hebrews 11:6 gives us the answer.  “Without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.” In order to please God we not only need to believe that He is who He says He is, but also trust in His promise to reward our faithfulness.

But just what is faith?  Hebrews 11:1 defines faith as, “...the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”  Faith is trusting  that the Lord is not only able, but willing to do all that He promises. And great faith is the ability to stand unshakable in our convictions of God’s truth no matter the circumstances we face. It is this kind of faith exhibited by a Roman Centurion that causes Jesus to marvel saying, “…not even in Israel have I found such great faith.” (v. 9)

Jesus and His disciples have entered into Capernaum, a small fishing village near the Sea of Galilee. There He is approached by some Jewish elders who ask Jesus to heal the slave of a Roman Centurion. (A Centurion was a professional officer of the Roman Army who commanded a group of 80-100 men called a “century”.  Generally they were Gentiles, although some were Samaritans.) They were despised by the Jewish people because they they represented the oppressive Roman rule and often times abused their power. But this Centurion is different.

We are told he has a slave who was “highly regarded” and was so sick, he was about to die. The Centurion must have loved this slave dearly, for when he heard Jesus was in town, he sent Jewish elders to ask Jesus to come and save him. After discerning this man’s faith as great, Jesus grants the Centurion the miracle he is so desperate for. Why did Jesus declare this man’s faith as great?  Because he possessed both great humility and great faith that Jesus was who He said He was.

Even though this Centurion was a man of authority he had no pride. He humbled himself to the ultimate authority of Jesus. The Centurion knew the Jewish laws and customs, and paid respect to the great Rabbi by sending Jewish elders to come and relay his request. He wasn’t self righteous. Nor did he assume that who was or his position in life earned him God’s blessings. In fact, his humility prevented him from feeling worthy enough to even be in the presence of the Lord. And he believed wholeheartedly in the miraculous power of Jesus, unlike the Jewish leaders of the day who needed a sign for proof.  The Centurion knew all Jesus had to do was speak the words, and his slave would be healed. For nothing can limit God.

Great faith doesn’t happen overnight and in our human frailty, isn’t easy. I myself have more times of doubt then I care to admit. But we need great faith in God and His promises. For as the quote goes, “Great faith in great promises brings great results.” But we can only know what those great promises are, by reading God’s Word. When we spend time in the Bible learning and understanding who God is and what He says, we build strong our foundation of faith. The Centurion’s great faith resulted in the healing of his slave.  And Jesus wants to produce great results in our lives as well. Is your faith one that Jesus would marvel at?  Do you stand unshakable in God and His promises?

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