Summary: Miracle of Faith, Pt. 2

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An ancient legend told of a monk who found a precious stone - a precious jewel, in fact, and then quietly kept it in his bag. A short time later, however, he met a traveler, who said he was hungry and asked the monk if he would share some of the provisions. When the monk opened his bag, the traveler saw the precious stone and, on an impulse, asked the monk if he could have it. Amazingly, without much thought, the monk gave the traveler the stone.

The traveler departed quickly, overjoyed with his new possession. However, a few days later, he came searching for the monk again. The monk was, of course, curious to see the traveler again. He wondered at what might have happened to the precious jewel, and yet frowned at what else the traveler would want.

Surprisingly, the traveler returned the stone to the monk and asked for something else. The monk gasped, shook his head in disbelief and asked, “What else do I have that you would possibly be interested to have?” Finally the traveler said, “Please give me that which enabled to you to give me this precious stone!” (Adapted from James W. Moore, Some Things Are Too Good Not to Be True, Dimensions, 1994, p. 101)

The gospels commend a selfless centurion whose great faith in God brought recognition from Jesus, healing to his servant and comparison with the Jews. This passage is controversial among scholars, baffling to readers and attacked by critics because Matthew reports that the centurion met Jesus, whereas Luke 7:1-10 claims that the two delegations the centurion sent did. The two possible ways to harmonize these two passages are to accept the possibility that either the delegates’ words were as good as the centurion’s words – linguistically, culturally, and technically, or that Jesus still proceeded to the centurion’s house after the crowd had left.

What help is faith to a Gentile? How is a person’s faith great in the eyes of God? Why is faith no respecter of persons? How does a Gentile come to God?

Faith Transcend Suffering; It Affects Master or Servant

5 When Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to him, asking for help. 6 “Lord,” he said, “my servant lies at home paralyzed and in terrible suffering.” (Matt 8:5-6)

It was related that once when the Duke of Wellington took communion at his parish church, a very poor old man went up to the opposite aisle, and knelt down close by the side of the Duke upon reaching the Communion table. Immediately, confusion, conversation and commotion ensued, interrupting and dashing the silence of the church and the solemnity of the occasion. Someone came and touched the poor man on the shoulder and whispered to him to move farther away or to rise and wait until the Duke had received the bread and the wine.

But the keen eye and the quick ear of the Duke caught the meaning of the touch and the whisper. He clasped the old man’s hand and held him to prevent his rising; and in a reverential but distinct undertone, the Duke said, “Do not move; we are equal here before God.” (Adapted from Pulpit Helps 3/91)

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