Summary: PENTECOST 2(C) - Believers discover that great faith is not self-centered but Christ-centered and humbly trusts in God.
WHAT IS GREAT FAITH?
Luke 7:1-10 - June 22, 2003
71When Jesus had finished saying all this in the hearing of the people, he entered Capernaum. 2There a centurion’s servant, whom his master valued highly, was sick and about to die. 3The centurion heard of Jesus and sent some elders of the Jews to him, asking him to come and heal his servant. 4When they came to Jesus, they pleaded earnestly with him, "This man deserves to have you do this, 5because he loves our nation and has built our synagogue." 6So 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. 7That is why I did not even consider myself worthy to come to you. But say the word, and my servant will be healed. 8For 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."
9When 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." 10Then the men who had been sent returned to the house and found the servant well.
Dearest Christian Friends and Fellow-Redeemed:
Today we are going to look at faith and what it is. If you were to ask people what is faith, you might receive all kinds of different answers. It is something they put their trust in. It is where they place their confidence. This is where the definitions differ quite a bit. We know that a Christian faith puts its confidence and trust in God and God alone. From the Book of Hebrews we read: "Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see"(HEBREWS 11:1). Our faith is based in the present but also looks forward to the future, knowing that God has provided for all things. Today we are going to look at: What is great faith? We don’t want to make any mistake though. Saving faith is saving faith. It makes no difference if it is a saving faith of a child, a saving faith of a teenager or an adult. Saving faith is enough to get any believer into heaven.
Today in our text as you listen, you probably heard the example of the centurion who Jesus is amazed at because of his great faith. Jesus is amazed at this great faith. So our question and theme:
What is Great Faith?
I. It is not self-centered,
II. But it is Christ-centered,
III. And it humbly trusts God.
I. Great faith is not self-centered
We have the setting of this in the first part of our text "1When Jesus had finished saying all this in the hearing of the people, he entered Capernaum." If you look at the verses of the chapters before chapter 7, you would see that Jesus had preached many things to the people. He was in Capernaum, which is in the northern part of the promised land. It is on the west side of the Sea of Galilee. We hear of Capernaum and know that Jesus spent much time there, preaching and teaching and doing miracles. Jesus did all this near Capernaum because He was not accepted in His hometown. The Jewish people were not always excited to have Jesus around. So He went to the north and preached and taught.
Then we are told about the centurion: "2There a centurion’s servant, whom his master valued highly, was sick and about to die." There are a couple of interesting things to note. First of all, the centurion (you will find century in that word which means 100 hundred years) was in charge of a group of men, of soldiers, from at least 50 up to 100. The Roman government employed the centurion. He was in Capernaum to make sure that there was law and order. His day-to-day activity kept him busy keeping track of these 100 soldiers who were to be working in the city keeping the peace. So when it came to a servant, what is amazing is that the centurion usually did not have time to be bothered with such a trivial household matter. He usually had someone else take care of those household servants, but we find that this servant was highly valued by the centurion. He took time out to care for those who cared for him. His servant was sick.
We see that this centurion lived a life that wasn’t just centered on himself, but was centered around others. In fact when they went to plead his case, the Jewish elders said to Jesus: "This man deserves to have you do this, 5because he loves our nation and has built our synagogue." Another amazing fact, it wasn’t just the servant’s illness that brings out the centurion’s concern for others. He wasn’t only concerned about his servant, but he was concerned all the time about those around him. He built the synagogue for the people. This was strange for a centurion who worked for the Roman government. Usually, they did not do that. He didn’t love himself, but those whom he served.