Authentic Faith- Day 4

Devotions for Sunday, August 7, 2011
Matthew 8:1-13

When he was come down from the mountain, great multitudes followed him. And, behold, there came a leper and worshipped him, saying, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean. And Jesus put forth  his  hand, and touched him, saying, I will; be thou clean. And immediately his leprosy was cleansed. And Jesus saith unto him, See thou tell no man; but go thy way, shew thyself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them.

And when Jesus was entered into Capernaum, there came unto him a centurion, beseeching him, And saying, Lord, my servant lieth at home sick of the palsy, grievously tormented. And Jesus saith unto him, I will come and heal him. The centurion answered and said, Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof: but speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed. For I am a man under authority, having soldiers under me: and I say to this  man , Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth  it .  When Jesus heard  it , he marvelled, and said to them that followed, Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel. And I say unto you, That many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven. But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. And Jesus said unto the centurion, Go thy way; and as thou hast believed, so be it done unto thee. And his servant was healed in the selfsame hour.
(Matthew 8:1-13)

Pastor Ben’s Commentary:
There are two different people in this passage that Jesus interacted with.  Both of them had needs, and both of them had their needs met by Jesus.

The first man was a leper who had probably heard of Jesus’  healing of other lepers, and came to be healed himself.  Leprosy is an incredibly painful disease, and in that time came with a lot of cultural and social consequences.  People who were lepers were seen as unclean, judged by God, and could not be touched.  That is part of what makes Jesus’ interaction with him incredible.  Jesus healed the man by touching him.  Jesus responded to this man’s faith.

The second man that Jesus interacted with was a Roman, and not just any Roman.  This man was a Roman centurion.  He was a ranking soldier in the Roman army.  The Roman army was the enforcing force behind the roman rule of Israel, and so many Jewish people hated these people.  But this man had a problem.  A servant he loved was near death.  He came to Jesus and asked for help, and Jesus responded with a “let’s go” answer.  The centurion is so humble, and has an incredible faith.  He tells Jesus (my summary)- “I’m not worthy for you to come to my house, and I believe that you can heal my servant without coming, because I understand authority.  I tell people to go and come and they do what I say because of the authority that I represent, the Roman state, that I am under.  Jesus, you have authority because of who You are, and the authority that you’ve been given.  You can help my servant right from where you are because of your authority.”

Jesus makes an incredible statement when he hears the Roman Centurions response, which I’m sure would have shocked the Jews around Him.  He says, (again my summary)- “I have yet to find this kind of faith in even someone who is of the nation of Israel, and I’ll tell you this- There will be people who think they are right with God because they are Jewish/because of their birth who end up spending eternity separated from God in hell.  There will also be people from every nation and corner of the earth who will be made right with God and spend eternity with the patriarchs/fathers of the Jewish nation because of their faith in God.”  He then told the Centurion that He healed his servant “according to his belief.”  Again, it was faith that God responded to.

1. Someone else’s faith can’t be credited to your account. What do I mean?  You’re not accepted by God based on your parents relationship with God, or the good things you do, or your church attendance, or your performance, or your denomination, or your pedigree.  God responds to and is pleased by your faith.  I’m not saying that works do not please God, I’m saying your works without faith will not please God.

  1. God, through His Word, should be your ultimate authority. When we take in God’s Word and respond to it in faith, believing that God’s will should be above our own desires, that leads us to obeying what He has said.  It is then that our faith is expressed through that obedience.

Does your faith lead you to obeying God?