Summary: The story of a Roman centurion’s faith takes the reader inside true faith and shows what faith does.
A Study of the Book of Luke
Sermon # 15
An Amazing Faith
Faith is not believing that God can; it is knowing that He will.
Faith is deaf to doubt, dumb to discouragement, blind to impossibilities and know nothing but success in God.
Walking by faith means being prepared to trust where we are not permitted to see.
Faith allows God to do for us and with us what we could never do alone.
Our text today about a Roman soldier’s faith takes us inside true faith and shows how and what faith does. In seventh chapter of Luke in verses 1-10, we find a centurion who, though he was a Gentile, understood who Christ was and is. It is the story that would of special interest to Theophilus, the Gentile to whom this account is addressed. The story is significant because this was a Gentile who exercised this faith. Even Jesus would remark that this man’s faith was amazing.
“Now when He concluded all His sayings in the hearing of the people, He entered Capernaum. (2) And a certain centurion’s servant, who was dear to him, was sick and ready to die. (3) So when he heard about Jesus, he sent elders of the Jews to Him, pleading with Him to come and heal his servant. (4) And when they came to Jesus, they begged Him earnestly, saying that the one for whom He should do this was deserving, (5) “for he loves our nation, and has built us a synagogue.” (6) Then Jesus went with them. And when He was already not far from the house, the centurion sent friends to Him, saying to Him, “Lord, do not trouble Yourself, for I am not worthy that You should enter under my roof. (7) Therefore I did not even think myself worthy to come to You. But say the word, and my servant will be healed. (8) For I also am a man placed under authority, having 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 turned around and said to the crowd that followed Him, “I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel!” (10) And those who were sent, returning to the house, found the servant well who had been sick.”
Only twice in all of Scripture was Jesus said to “marvel” or be amazed. The other time was when he began his public ministry in his hometown of Nazareth, and he was rejected by his fellow Jews – “he was amazed by their lack of faith.” (Mark 6:6, Luke 4:14-30). The centurion had a faith that was more perceptive and sensitive than anything Jesus had witnessed in Israel.
What could be more horrible than to amaze the Son of God with one’s lack of faith? What could be more thrilling than to amaze Him with one’s faith. This centurion had amazing faith!
What I want us to consider “Why was Jesus so amazed?” What are characteristics that made this man’s faith so amazing?
1. THE FIRST CHARACTERISTIC OF AN AMAZING FAITH WAS THAT IT CAUSED THIS MAN TO LOVE ACROSS ALL BARRIERS. (vv. 1-2)
“Now when He concluded all His sayings in the hearing of the people, He entered Capernaum. (2) And a certain centurion’s servant, who was dear to him, was sick and ready to die.”
Jesus has just completed the teaching know as “The Sermon on the Mount.” Now Jesus entered into Capernaum, a city on the northwest shore of the Sea of Galilee. While Jesus is in Capernaum, he is approached by representatives of a Roman Centurion. Centurions were commonplace in the Roman Empire. They were equivalent in rank to a modern-day army captain and normally in command of 100 soldiers.
This particular centurion had a servant who was ill, Matthew (8:6) in his account of this incident uses the term (pais) which is young child. Whoever this young man was, Luke who you will remember was a doctor, said he “was sick and ready to die.” If you have ever clung to a loved one that was at death’s door and you felt that he was slowing losing the battle, you know this centurion awful sense of helplessness.
We are told that this man loved Israel, though it was not the land of his birth. It is also evident that this man cared deeply about his young servant, was very out of the ordinary socially. And the crossed racial and ethic barriers when he as a Gentile appealed to a Jew for help.
This man loved people who were not just like himself. I don’t know about you, but I don’t feel particularly effective in loving folks who live outside the social barriers around me.