Great Faith or Little Faith?

When Jesus was here on earth, He traveled around from village to village teaching about the kingdom of God. In every village He entered He taught the Word and He healed the sick. In fact, Matthew 9:35 says, “Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people.”

Once, when Jesus went into the city of Capernaum, a Roman centurion came to Him, asking Jesus to heal his servant. Now, the unique thing about this situation was that the servant of the centurion wasn’t there. The servant was at home, paralyzed.

When Jesus heard the plea, He immediately told the Roman soldier that He would go to the centurion’s home and heal his servant. Actually, when you think about it, Jesus made a great commitment. He wasn’t able to get into His car or SUV and drive out to the country. Two thousand years ago, travel was slow and difficult.

But the centurion answered Jesus a little differently than might be expected. Read what he said in Matthew 8:8-9: “Lord, I am not worthy that you should come under my roof. But only speak a word, and my servant will be healed. For I also am a man under authority, having soldiers under me. And I say to this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes; and to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.”

When Jesus heard what the soldier had said to Him, Jesus was so astonished that He turned to the Jews who were following Him and said, “Assuredly, I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel!” (v. 10).

That must have been a shocker to those following Jesus. After all, the centurion was a Gentile. He was not a descendant of Abraham, the father of faith (Romans 4:12), and Jesus had proclaimed in front of everyone that this Roman soldier had great faith.

Then Jesus turned back to the centurion and said, “Go your way; and as you have believed, so let it be done for you” (v. 11). And within the hour the centurion’s servant was healed.

A short time later, Jesus was in a boat with His disciples and a great storm came up that caused the waves to cover the boat. His disciples began to cry out in fear saying, “‘Lord, save us! We are perishing!’ But He said to them, ‘Why are you fearful, O you of little faith?'” (Matthew 8:25-26).

Now, let me ask you this. Why did Jesus say the Roman centurion had great faith and the disciples had little faith? After all, the disciples had followed Jesus and heard His teachings. They had seen the great miracles. Why did Jesus consider their faith small or undeveloped?

The centurion understood authority and how to implement it. He knew that one who has authority has only to speak the command and it will be carried out. He didn’t just believe that Jesus could heal some people. He believed that if Jesus would give the healing command that his very own servant would be healed.

How do we know that? Well, it’s quite simple. Jesus told the centurion that what he believed would happen. And what happened is this — the centurion’s servant was healed that very hour. So, that must have been what the centurion believed.

As Christians, we need to be like the centurion. We must believe that the words of Jesus are true. Then when we believe what He has spoken, without fear, it will come to pass. That is the essence of great faith.

Devotion 0184

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