“Faith means believing in advance what will only make sense in reverse.” – Phillip Yancey
Living out the faith of following Christ is not a walk in the park. It is, at times, a walk in the dark. It is an ongoing struggle to take God at his word and move forward with unshakable confidence, especially when facing difficulty. Maybe it’s the uncertain health of a loved one, financial insecurity, marital discord, or an unexpected obstacle. Today we will encounter an example of someone who demonstrated a humble, simple faith when faced with what appeared to be an invincible circumstance.
- Complete this sentence: I am challenged to trust God when I struggle with_____________.
READ THE WORD: LUKE 7:1-10
7:1 After he had finished all his sayings in the hearing of the people, he entered Capernaum. 2 Now a centurion had a servant who was sick and at the point of death, who was highly valued by him. 3 When the centurion heard about Jesus, he sent to him elders of the Jews, asking him to come and heal his servant. 4 And when they came to Jesus, they pleaded with him earnestly, saying, “He is worthy to have you do this for him, 5 for he loves our nation, and he is the one who built us our synagogue.” 6 And Jesus went with them. When he was not far from the house, the centurion sent friends, saying to him, “Lord, do not trouble yourself, for I am not worthy to have you come under my roof. 7 Therefore I did not presume to come to you. But say the word, and let my servant be healed. 8 For I too am a man set under authority, with soldiers under me: and I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes; and to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.”9 When Jesus heard these things, he marveled at him, and turning to the crowd that followed him, said, “I tell you, not even in Israel have I found such faith.” 10 And when those who had been sent returned to the house, they found the servant well.
English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
- Looking at the first five verses, what is interesting about how the centurion approached Jesus?
- The centurion was part of the Roman occupation army in Israel at the time. He had authority over 100 men. Why do you think the centurion would involve elders of the Jews? How were the Jewish leaders’ views of the centurion’s worthiness (vss. 4-5) contrasted with how the centurion saw his standing before Jesus (vs. 6)? What difference does that make in how faith was expressed?
- What connection did the centurion make between his military authority and the authority of Jesus over life and death?
- Describe what faith looks like in this passage. When you consider your most pressing concern or challenge, how can you follow the notable example of the centurion by expressing a similar faith in Jesus?
RESPOND TO GOD
This story tells of an accomplished military leader who was not a member of the religious elite, yet he was an unlikely example of a man with a marvelous faith in Jesus. At a still deeper level, he was a foreigner who understood better than any of his day how far Jesus’ authority extended and how it operated. Pause for a moment and ask the Lord to:
- Fix your attention upon the object of your faith, Jesus Christ, the one who has power over sin and death.
- Explode your faith from its rigid straight jacket so that you can see the unbridled power and reign of Jesus.
- Expand the borders of your faith so that your view of Jesus is not confined or limited.