Such Faith – Luke 7.9-10

After this rich and deep time of teaching (6.20—49) Jesus went to Capernaum, a town located on the northwest shore of the Sea of Galilee. News comes to Him that a centurion’s servant was ill and the centurion desired Jesus come and heal him (7.3). The entreating party urge Jesus to come on account of the centurion’s love and righteous deeds (7.5). On the way, news reaches Jesus that the centurion feels unworthy to host Jesus (7.6) but only wishes that Jesus would pronounce his servant well (7.7). We then read of Jesus’ response:

When Jesus heard this, he was amazed at him. He turned and said to the crowd that followed him, 

“I tell you, not even in Israel have I found such faith!” 

So when those who had been sent returned to the house, they found the slave well.

(Luke 7.9-10, NET)

Jesus said that He has not even in Israel…found such faith! Quite the statement to make about a Gentile employee of the currently-ruling Empire, isn’t it? So much of our Christian lives can be brought back to faith. In fact, most of it can. All of it can. As Luke’s account of Jesus’ life, ministry, death, and resurrection continues into chapters seven and eight, faith is going to become more and more central to his narrative. What a great place, then, to tell us of the centurion. 

This guy commanded a hundred soldiers. He knew all about authority (7.8). He had asked amazing things of the Lord and then perhaps realised that he was not worthy to ask such things, that he was asking something spectacular and supernatural which, even for someone in his high and commanding position, was above and beyond normal. Jesus then said, 

“I tell you, not even in Israel have I found such faith!” 

Was Jesus lying? Has this centurion genuinely got more faith than anyone in Israel at the time? Maybe Jesus was speaking lunacy and not corresponding to reality?

I don’t think He is lying. So far the disciples had displayed great faith in following Jesus, but, they at least knew that this kind of figure would be found one day in their midst (John 1.45, Matthew 11.3). The centurion, however, was most likely not steeped in Jewish customs, teachings, and Messianic hope. Having a faith that took Jesus at His Word and that saw His works and believed was, it could be said, more than anyone in Israel.

Perhaps Jesus was speaking lunacy? Again, I don’t think so. Pronouncing that this man is one of great faith absolutely corresponds to reality here. He has someone under his care who is sick enough for urgent help to be sought. He hears of Jesus and sends a party to seek the needed help on what he has heard alone. This takes great faith. There was no website to check, no Instagram feed to browse, or no tweets to scour. He took Jesus at His Word and works and believed. 

Today, think about yourself through the same lens: are you taking Jesus at His Word and works? Is this all you need to believe? 

If you’re not sure that the written records of His Words and works can be trusted, reach out and let’s talk about it. If you’re not sure, there is nothing stopping you believing like the centurion did.

When Jesus heard this, he was amazed at him. He turned and said to the crowd that followed him, 

“I tell you, not even in Israel have I found such faith!”

Published by James Travis

Pastor of Saar Fellowship in the Kingdom of Bahrain. Married to Robyn and Dad to our two boys.

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