Summary: One Encounter With Jesus Can Change Everything!
Without question…Jesus…during His time on earth…amazed many people. The disciples…even after having been with Jesus on countless occassions…never lost their sense of amazement towards Jesus. Even during the last week of His life…after the disciples had no doubt seen hundreds upon hundreds of miracles…when Jesus caused a fig tree to wither, Matthew tells us that, “the disciples were amazed.” (Matthew 21:20)
People were and continue to be amazed by Jesus. Jesus was and is…amazing! But did you know Jesus Himself was amazed on occassion? What in the world would ever amaze Jesus?
Two times…we are told Jesus was amazed. On both occassions…faith was the focus of His amazement. Jesus was amazed at the lack of faith of those living in His hometown. (Mark 6:6) And here in Luke 7, Jesus is amazed by the level of faith shown by…of all people…a Roman Centurion.
Luke 7:1-10 is another vivid example of how one encounter with Jesus can change everything!
Now…faith has been defined as many different things…but to put it as simply as possible…faith is trust.
Charles Blondin was a French tightrope walker and acrobat. He toured the United States in the mid 1800’s and was best known for crossing Niagara Falls…usually without a safety net. He did it many times in different ways: bliindfolded, in a sack, on stilts, evven sitting down to make and eat an omelet.
Probably his most daring feat was to push a wheelbarrow loaded with a heavy sack of concrete across the wire. With all that weight…the slightest overbalance could wrench the wheelbarrow out of his hands or twist him off the wire and into the falls. But…Blondin…was the ultimate showman…he was the master of the high wire. He regularly took the wheelbarrow all the way across the falls without an issue.
One day…after successfully doing so…Charles Blondin asked an inpressed reporter: “Do you believe I can do anything on a tightrope?” “Oh, yes, Mr. Blondin,” said the reporter, “After what I’ve seen today, I believe it. You can do anything.”
“Do you believe, then,” said Blondin, “That instead of a sack of cement, I could put a man in this wheelbarrow…a man who has never been on a tightrope before…and wheel him…without a safety net…safely over to the other side?”
“Oh, yes sir, Mr. Blondin,” said the reporter, “I believe it.”
“Good,” said Blondin, “Get in.”
It’s one thing to express belief…it’s an entirely different thing to “get in.”
You see…faith is a doing word. It’s a word of action. It a decision of active trust.
And faith is always placed in something. That object / person is the foundation of your faith.
Example: a Stool.
I have faith…I trust it’s integrity / ability to hold me up.
Now…how many have ever discovered…probably the hard way…that the power / trustworthiness behind any promise is the person who made the promise.
Our faith isn’t a blind faith. It’s not based on a feeling or a hunch. Our faith is solid. We place our faith / trust in JESUS. Our faith is based on God’s character…God’s track-record…and God’s Word. The power behind the promises of Christianity is the person of JESUS. He is absolutely faithful…and trustworthy.
Now…in Luke 7:1-10…we meet a Roman Centurian whose faith leaves Jesus Himself amazed.
v.1 - “When Jesus had finished saying all this to the people, He returned to Capernaum.”
Jesus has just finished sharing the Sermon on The Mount (beautitudes, etc…)
He returns to Capernaum…which has become His homebase.
v.2 - “At that time the highly valued slave of a Roman officer was sick and near death.”
So…lots of information in this verse.
First…we have a Roman Officer. A Centurian.
He would have been a Gentile.
Without question…this man would have been raised in a pagan household.
He was a Roman…who was in charge of 100 men…all of who were enemy occupiers.
He was one of the most unlikely people you’d ever expect to amaze Jesus.
We’re told that this man had a “highly valued slave.”
It’s safe to assume…that this Centuriun had a lot invested financially in this servant…but the story is also very clear…that this man is valued not just as a “slave” but as someone who is deeply cared for.
This slave…is sick and near death.
v.3 - “When the officer heard about Jesus, he sent some respected Jewish elders to ask Him to come and heal his slave.”
So…he’s, “heard about Jesus.” What do you suppose he’s heard?
Well…he hears about Jesus and this leads him to ask some well respected Jewish leaders to approach Jesus about coming and healing his slave.
Now…let’s think about this for just a moment before we move on…
This Centurion’s servant is sick and near death.
This man…has the power of Rome behind him…but that can’t heal his slave.
This man…was wealthy…his bank account was full…but all the money in the world couldn’t heal his slave.