Summary: Every person is capable of demonstrating great faith in God.
A GREAT FAITH
Please open your bibles to Matthew 8:5-13. This passage says that Jesus was amazed at the centurion’s faith and healed his servant. Jesus said that he had not found anyone in Israel with such great faith. What makes one’s faith great?
1. GREAT FAITH BEGINS WITH HUMILITY. (vv. 5-8)
It would seem that everything about the Centurion would prevent him from coming to Jesus. A centurion was an officer over 100 men in the Roman army. Every centurion mentioned in the Gospels and Acts was a gentleman of high character and sense of duty, and this man was no exception. The fact that he was concerned about a lowly servant-boy indicates this.
He was a professional soldier, and Jesus was a Man of peace. He was a Gentile, and Jesus was a Jew. Yet “he went to Jesus and addressed him Lord and asked for help in behalf of his servant.” (v. 5) When Jesus responded and promised to visit him, he said, “I do not deserve to have you come under my roof.” (v. 8) these are demonstration of humility and made his faith great.
Great faith in God is always the result of lesser faith in oneself. I did not say “no faith in oneself” because we must also believe in ourselves. You and I can be commended for having great faith in God when we humbly recognize our insufficiency in every aspect of life without God. When we humbly express our need for God in our physical, spiritual, and emotional aspects of life.
We have great faith in God when we see God as indispensable complement in life. We have great faith in God when we acknowledge that without God, we are incomplete and unsatisfied. And we can only have these kinds of perspectives if we are ready to humble ourselves before God.
Song “Imagine Me Without You” Jaci Velasquez
Imagine me without you
I’d be lost and so confused
I wouldn’t last a day, I’d be afraid
Without you there to see me through
Imagine me without you
Lord, you know it’s just impossible
Because of you, it’s all brand new
My life is now worthwhile
I can’t imagine me without you
We have great faith in God when we honestly and sincerely declare that we cannot live without God. (SEE JOHN 15:5) This is tough for most people because it means that they to change the way they view themselves in the light of God. It means that we must repent. No wonder Jesus started his preaching by asking people to repent. (SEE MATTHEW 4:17) Repentance means that you will have a change of heart and mind about sin and self that leads you to God. A change of direction in life – from sin to God. This is the starting point of faith – humility that results to repentance.
2. GREAT FAITH RECOGNIZES GOD’S AUTHORITY. (vv. 8-9)
The Centurion was commended for having great faith because he recognized the authority of Jesus. He said, “But just say the word and my servant will be healed.” What prompted the Centurion to say this?
He explained his understanding of Jesus’ authority in terms of his authority as a military officer. All "authority" belonged to the emperor and was delegated. Therefore, because he was under the emperor’s authority, when the Centurion spoke, he spoke with the emperor’s authority, and so his command was obeyed. A soldier who disobeyed would not be defying a mere Centurion but the emperor, Rome itself, with all its imperial majesty and might.
This understanding of authority was applied by the Centurion to Jesus. Because Jesus was under God’s authority, he was vested with God’s authority, so that when Jesus spoke, God spoke. To defy Jesus was to defy God; and Jesus’ word must therefore be vested with God’s authority that is able to heal sickness. (SEE MATTHEW 28:18; JOHN 5:24-27)
This analogy, though not perfect, reveals an astonishing faith that recognizes that Jesus needed neither ritual, magic, nor any other help: His authority was God’s authority, and his word was effective because it was God’s word. As a result, people were amazed at the way He taught, with authority.
How do we apply this? We should believe that Christ’s teachings are God’s Word for us. Jesus was under God’s authority, he was vested with God’s authority so that when Jesus spoke, God spoke. To defy Jesus was to defy God. (SEE HEBREWS 1:1-3) In the first place, he is God.
Centurion believed that Jesus is greater than any kind of disease and has the authority to command them. He believed that healing is the prerogative of Christ. His statement “just say the word” also demonstrates surrender to Christ’s power and authority. The Centurion believes that whatever Christ decided to do, He is in charge. If Christ’s decided to command the disease to go, then it goes away. If not, then it would stay.