Summary: What does faith and humility look like
Great Faith & Great Humility in Action - Luke 7:1-10
Gladstone Baptist Church - 26/6/05 am
The Wizard of Oz is a classic story of Dorothy, a young girl from Kansas who somehow finds herself swept into a magical land by a tornado. She embarks on a quest to see the Wizard who, it is reported, can help her return home. But Dorothy finds out that the truth in the clip I want to show you this morning ...
Show Clip from Movie
The moral of the Wizard of Oz is that everything you may need, you’ve already got. Although it is nice to have powerful friends such as the wizard, in the end of the day, Dorothy had everything she needed to get home. She just had to look deep enough and long enough. There is nothing she couldn’t do if she put her mind to it.
Does this philosophy sound familiar? We are told that as humans, we can do anything we want. We’ve got the power, but this morning I want to talk about a powerful man (from a human perspective) who realised that he didn’t have everything he needed and the result was a display of Great Faith and Great Humility in action.
Read Luke 7:1-10 - When Jesus had finished saying all this in the hearing of the people, he entered Capernaum. 2 There a centurion’s servant, whom his master valued highly, was sick and about to die. 3 The centurion heard of Jesus and sent some elders of the Jews to him, asking him to come and heal his servant. 4 When they came to Jesus, they pleaded earnestly with him, “This man deserves to have you do this, 5 because he loves our nation and has built our synagogue.” 6 So Jesus went with them.
He was not far from the house when the centurion sent friends to say to him: “Lord, don’t trouble yourself, for I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. 7 That is why I did not even consider myself worthy to come to you. But say the word, and my servant will be healed. 8 For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, ¡¥Go,’ and he goes; and that one, ¡¥Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, ¡¥Do this,’ and he does it.”
9 When Jesus heard this, he was amazed at him, and turning to the crowd following him, he said, “I tell you, I have not found such great faith even in Israel.” 10 Then the men who had been sent returned to the house and found the servant well.
After the Sermon on the Mountain, Jesus returns to Capernaum. He’d been there previously in 4:31ff and had carried out several healings which had totally amazed everyone including presumably the Jews. Now he returns to this city located on the Northern side of the Sea of Galilee. It must have been quite a sizable town because it was called a “city” (ƒàƒßƒÜƒÙƒãƒw in Greek which was a large town with walls. It was the location of a Roman Garrison, thus the reason why the Centurian was posted there. It also became the centre of Jesus’ ministry in the region of Galilee since his home town of Nazareth had rejected him (4:28).
The main character of this account is a Centurion soldier. He is held up by Jesus for his Great Faith. There are only 2 instances where Jesus commented that a person had great faith. This is one and the other is of the Canaanite Woman in Matt 15:28. It is interesting that they are both Gentiles - but more about that later.
Through this record, we can find 3 essential characteristics of having a great faith which I want to look at today.
1) Great Faith is not SELF-CENTRED
The Centurion in our account here was an IMPORTANT MAN. The principle unit of the Roman army was a legion. It consisted of a force of about 6000 men. These were divided up into 60 groups each of a hundred who were under the control of a single man - a Centurion. This is where the name comes from - initially a centurion was an officer in charge of 100 men. Obviously depending on the situation, this number could vary a little bit, but it is likely that our Centurion had about a hundred men under his command at Capernaum and that he was the ranking officer in charge of the town. This made him one important man.
Rome controlled much of the known world at this stage and so they controlled all the affairs of their empire. Even where they allowed local rulers like the Jewish King Agrippa to have some power, the Romans still were top dogs and were the ones who called the shots. If the local rulers stepped out of line, they would be replaced. So this Centurion was essentially the man in charge of Capernaum and the surrounding districts. This made him an important man