Heavenly Father, You are the giver of all my years. You are the ruler of all things. I thank You for this new day.
Read LUKE 7:1-10
Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, NIV Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
“Sometimes we ask for something and the answer is No. God reserves the right to give that answer. But this story shows we should have no hesitation in asking. Is Jesus the Lord of the world, or isn’t he?” (N.T. Wright).
Luke is out to grab our attention with his introductory words. Much more than a mere transition from the preceding sermon, they suggest a significant step in the mission Jesus came to fulfill, as he enters and actively engages with the Gentile world. The word “finished” is the same word translated “fulfilled” in Luke 4:21, when Jesus made his dramatic synagogue announcement about his coming being the long-awaited fulfillment of Scripture.
In this story, although the servant’s healing is important, of particular note is the Gentile centurion’s remarkable faith and his understanding of Jesus’ authority. An obviously wealthy man, he represented the military force of an occupying nation. However, instead of despising the native Jews, he loved them (5). Here was a man used to being in control and having people jumping to his command, yet he chose to make himself dependent upon others, first by relying upon the Jewish elders to advocate on his behalf and second by humbly stating that he was unworthy of Jesus visiting his home. His approach is in stark contrast to that of the Jewish religious leader we meet at the end of the chapter.
What is striking here is the uncluttered nature of the centurion’s faith. It’s not hedged about with lots of conditions and get-out clauses. He just assumes that Jesus has the power and the authority to intervene and that the decision rests with him. This outsider had grasped what Jesus’ own people hadn’t. Twice only is Jesus recorded as marveling at people–here, and because of the unbelief in Nazareth (Mark 6:6). However, it’s important to note that he doesn’t so much criticize the crowd’s faith as be amazed at the depth of this Gentile centurion’s trust. Be encouraged–he delights in our faith too, however faltering it is!
Growing numbers in the Western world mistrust those in authority. Given this context, how would you describe Jesus’ authority in a way that inspires rather than alienates non-believers?
In an age which questions every authority, my response to You, Dear Lord, must always be to trust and obey!
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