Summary: In this lesson we learn about the nature of commendable faith.
Dr. Luke wrote one of the earliest biographies of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ of Nazareth. His purpose in writing was to show that Jesus came “to seek and to save the lost” (Luke 19:10). That is, Jesus came to reconcile lost sinners with a sovereign and merciful God.
Jesus spent most of his life and ministry in the region of Galilee, a mountainous area in northern Israel. His ministry was primarily a ministry of preaching and miracles. God enabled him to perform miracles to validate his claim that he was indeed God’s Son who came to seek and to save the lost.
During his first year of ministry Jesus preached his famous Sermon on the Plain that Luke recorded in Luke 6:20-49.
The sermon was about the kingdom of God. He preached about the blessings that belong to those who have entered the kingdom of God, along with a warning to those who have not yet entered the kingdom of God by professing faith in him.
Then Jesus described how his disciples are to live as citizens of the kingdom of God. He said that they must love their enemies, not judge others, and examine the fruit of their lives.
Jesus concluded his sermon with a penetrating application. He said that faith apart from obedience is worthless.
Luke then recorded that immediately following his Sermon on the Plain Jesus returned to Capernaum, the city Jesus adopted as his base for ministry. Luke described an incident that demonstrated the kind of faith that Jesus commended.
We learn about the nature of commendable faith in the account of Jesus healing the centurion’s servant.
Let’s read about Jesus healing the centurion’s servant in Luke 7:1-10:
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. (Luke 7:1-10)
We are all familiar with award ceremonies. Awards are usually given for some commendable behavior or contribution.
So, for example, this past week the President of the United States handed 16 Presidential Medal of Freedom awards. The Presidential Medal of Freedom is an award bestowed by the President of the United States and is the highest civilian award in the United States. It recognizes those individuals who have made “an especially meritorious contribution to the security or national interests of the United States, world peace, cultural or other significant public or private endeavors.”
During his first year of ministry Jesus would have awarded the “Medal of Commendable Faith” to the centurion who is described in today’s lesson. Luke writes in Luke 7:9 that when Jesus heard about the centurion’s faith, “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.’” Most translations record Jesus as saying, “I tell you, not even in Israel have I found such great faith!”
So, what was it about the centurion’s faith that was so commendable? What does commendable faith look like?
In today’s lesson, an analysis of Jesus healing the centurion’s servant as set forth in Luke 7:1-10 will show us the nature of commendable faith.
Let’s use the following outline to show us what commendable faith looks like:
1. Commendable Faith Is Loving (7:1-5a)
2. Commendable Faith Is Generous (7:5b)
3. Commendable Faith Is Humble (7:6-7b)
4. Commendable Faith Is Trusting (7:7c-8)
5. Commendable Faith Is Validating (7:9-10)
I. Commendable Faith Is Loving (7:1-5a)