Faith. It’s a word every Christian says he or she has. But how often are we willing to put it into practice? How certain are we in our faith for God to come and intervene in our every day lives? Sure, we trust Him for salvation, but what about everything else He promises? We turn to Him when we’re hurting and we need a shoulder to lean on and we don’t know what else to do, but what about when we’re shopping for groceries? Are we putting our faith into practice? And when those tough times do come, how well do we really trust in our faith? If we trust completely, we will see Him move in our lives in powerful ways.
And a centurion’s slave, who was highly regarded by him, was sick and about to die. When he heard about Jesus, he sent some Jewish elders asking Him to come and save the life of his slave. When they came to Jesus, they earnestly implored Him, saying, “He is worthy for You to grant this to him; for he loves our nation and it was he who built us our synagogue.”
Now Jesus started on His way with them; and when He was not far from the house, the centurion sent friends, saying to Him, “Lord, do not trouble Yourself further, for I am not worthy for You to come under my roof; for this reason I did not even consider myself worthy to come to You, but just say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I also am a man placed under authority, with soldiers under me; and I say to this one, ‘Go!’ and he goes, and to another, ‘Come!’ and he comes, and to my slave, ‘Do this!’ and he does it.”
Now when Jesus heard this, He marveled at him, and turned and said to the crowd that was following Him, “I say to you, not even in Israel have I found such great faith.” When those who had been sent returned to the house, they found the slave in good health.
– Luke 7:1-10, NASB
The Matthew account (Matthew 8:5-13) makes it seem like the Centurion was talking to Jesus directly, but likely he wouldn’t have because he was a Roman. We get a better understanding from Luke’s account that it was through intermediaries that the Centurion was communicating with Jesus. First there was a group of Jewish elders, then there were friends. The friends carried an interesting message. The Centurion believed if Jesus would just say the servant would be healed, he would be healed. This Roman soldier understood that if Jesus really had the authority He said He did and which others attested to, Jesus didn’t have to walk into the house. He didn’t have to be in the presence of the sick servant. He merely needed to want for this servant to be healed and the healing would take place. This causes Jesus to stop in His tracks. Why?
Because this Centurion demonstrated such great faith. He didn’t have to see Jesus with his own eyes. He didn’t have to be there with Christ. He just had to get the message to Jesus and hope that Jesus would act. Are we like this? Or do we try to plan for contingencies, trying to cover issues with our own efforts and our own solutions? Stop and think about when the last time something happened that you really felt the Lord saying, “Trust me. Lean on your faith.” Did you do it? Or did you say, “Yes, Lord,” and sooner or later began drafting up Plan B, just in case? We often do the latter. We trust our efforts more than His power. And that’s why Jesus was floored by this Centurion’s faith. People then aren’t different than people now. We like to rely on ourselves. We like to be able to take care of things ourselves, even if we know we really can’t. But a lot of times Jesus just wants us to trust Him completely.
I know this is an area where I struggle. But this miracle shows what can happen when we do trust. It means giving up control. It means accepting that we can’t do it all. And that means accepting that helpless feeling. I know I don’t like it, but if my Savior is telling me to leave it all up to Him, to not do so is, well, disobedience. And disobedience is sin. I know that’s a harsh way to look at it, but that’s the truth. And so that means I know I need to do a better job of just trusting my Lord. This doesn’t mean I stop doing what is expected of me. But it does mean that when He says, “Wait on me,” or “This is mine to worry about,” or “You can’t do this. I must do this,” I need to stop trying to write up plan B. Instead, I need to believe and hold on to the fact that Jesus has Plan A and it is perfect. What is He asking you to trust Him in today? Will you?