2nd October 2013

Amazing 

“When Jesus heard this, he was amazed and said to those following him, ‘Truly I tell you, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith.’”
Matthew 8:10 (NIV)
 

Have you ever been amazed by something someone has done? Hours after the 1987 Enniskillen bombing, Gordon Wilson whose daughter, Marie, was killed and who was himself injured in the attack gave an emotional television interview in which he described his last conversation with his dying daughter as they both lay buried in the rubble. Wilson’s response to the bombing was “I bear no ill will. I bear no grudge.” Amazing! 

Wouldn’t it be great if Jesus were amazed at some positive attribute you demonstrated? 

In the Gospels, we sometimes find Jesus surprised by the opposite—the lack of faith of those around Him. But there was an unlikely candidate who amazed Jesus and received his commendation: a Roman Centurion. The Jews generally hated the Romans for their occupation and considered them unclean Gentiles. Similarly, the Romans often despised those under their authority.  You’d have thought it more likely that a fellow Jew, who believed in Jesus as the promised Messiah, rather than a gentile Centurion, would demonstrate the kind of faith we see in Matthew chapter 8. Yet this powerful man, representing the greatest empire of the world, came to Jesus and addressed Him by the respectful title, ‘Lord’ (Verse 8). His humility is further seen in his declaration of unworthiness to have Jesus come into his house (Verse 8).  

But perhaps the most amazing characteristic of all was the Centurion’s belief in Jesus’ power and authority.  His confident assertion demonstrated a faith beyond those in Israel (Verse 10). It was unnecessary for Jesus to go to his house and heal his servant. The centurion said, “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.” (Verse 9) He was a man under authority, so that when he commanded those in his charge, he spoke with an authority that ultimately came from Caesar and the Roman Empire. Similarly, when Jesus speaks and acts, He does so as one who has the authority and power of God.  However limited his understanding he was saying that Jesus’ relationship with God is such that when Jesus speaks, God speaks. Jesus has authority and power derived from God. 

The quantity of faith isn’t what amazed Jesus, as even a ‘mustard seed’ of faith was sufficient (Matthew 17:20). It was the quality of faith that sees Jesus as the object of that trust that was significant. No wonder Jesus was amazed, and given the centurion’s background, we too should be amazed at this simple, penetrating faith. 

Prayer
Father, please strengthen me to trust fully and completely in Jesus. I do believe, help me in my unbelief.
Amen
 

Study by Barry Robinson

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About the Author:
Barry Robinson is an Elder in and pastoral worker in the Greater London area, particularly the Camberwell and North London congregations of the Worldwide Church of God UK.

Local Congregation:
Worldwide Church of God London
Indian YMCA Student Hostel
Mahatma Gandhi Hall
41 Fitzroy Square
LONDON
W1T 6AQ

Meeting time:
Saturday 2:30pm
Local Congregational Contact:
Martin Ryan
Phone:  020 8202 3998
Email:   martin_ryan@wcg.org.uk

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