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 need to believe that He is who He says He is. and we need also to 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.” (Mat. 8:10)
When Jesus and His disciples entered Capernaum, a small fishing village near the Sea of Galilee, they were approached by some Jewish elders. They asked 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. Often they were despised by the Jewish people because they they represented the oppressive Roman rule. and more often than not, they abused their power. But this Centurion was 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. Because when he heard Jesus was in town, he sent Jewish elders to ask Jesus to 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 deep belief 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. And knowing the Jewish laws and customs, he paid respect to the great Rabbi by sending Jewish elders to come and relay his request. The Centurion wasn’t self righteous. He didn’t assume that who was or his position in life earned him God’s blessings. 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. Fully confident in Christ, the Centurion knew all Jesus had to do was speak, and his slave would be healed. Because nothing can limit God.
Great faith doesn’t happen overnight and in our human frailty, isn’t easy. I once saw a quote that read, “Great faith in great promises brings great results.” The Centurion’s great faith resulted in the healing of his slave. Jesus wants to produce great results in our lives as well. He wants us to have great faith in His great promises. But we can only know what those promises are, by reading God’s Word. Romans 10:17 says, “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing from the word of Christ.” By spending time in the Bible learning and understanding who God is and what He says, we build strong our foundation of faith.
Is your faith one that Jesus would marvel at? Do you stand unshakable in God and His promises? When you do, you open your life up for God to be able to do great things both for you and through you!