Read Matthew 8:5-13.There are two themes running through this passage.
"I tell you the truth, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith." NIV
- Faith in the authority of Christ.
- The universality of the gospel.
First of all, Jesus is approached by this Roman soldier who just absolutely facinates me. He obviously wasn't Jewish, and probably wasn't following the Rabbi around listening to his teaching. He had, however, heard of His power. Then, he's compassionate enough to go find help, not from a known doctor of his culture, but from a Jewish preacher. And he was not seeking help for his wife, children or some other family member or friend, but for one of his servants. These elements of his actions speak volumes about his character. He recognized the authority of Jesus and put faith in Him to heal his servant. No wonder Jesus acknowledged amazement at such faith. Notice Jesus specifically said, "in Israel." The Jews were supposed to be looking for the Messiah and should have recognized him for who He was, but a non-Jew is the one who has faith in Jesus.
Why can't we, as Christians, show this same faith and compassion? Many so called Christians question the authority of Jesus, let alone have faith that He will do anything of worth. And then, if on the off chance we believe He can perform a miracle, we usually want it for ourselves.
If we truly believe that Jesus is the Son of God, shouldn't we have the faith that He can do ANYTHING? Why do we walk around with such defeatist attitudes, living joyless lives, trudging through noncommital marriages, punching time clocks, and yelling at our children? Jesus Christ, the Son of the Almighty, the Great Divine, lives in me and can empower me to do whatever He wishes for me to do. I should be walking each and every day in that authority that He has given me. And that power should be put to use in reaching out to others who need the Lord -- whether in their heart or in their physical needs.
I wonder if Jesus experienced sadness when He acknowledged that many of His own people would not see glory because they refused to see Him as the truth? But we know as children of the Most High that one day we will feast with the patriarchs. Let's live not as powerless nothings, but as people holding the dinner invitation of eternity. We serve and must live out our faith in the mighty King, and His authority will reign forever!
- Where does the Scripture talk about the authority of Christ? Read Luke 3:21-22, John 3:13-21, John 8:27-29, Revelation 12:10, Colossians 1:15-17, as well as the Old Testament prophesies of the Messiah.
- Reread previous postings on faith. Matthew 8:1-4, 5:14-16, 4:18-22, Ephesians 6:16, 5:18-20, and 2:8-9.
- What other passages speak to the gospel being for all people?
- Do you truly believe in the authority of Jesus Christ and walk in faith in that power? Why or why not? If yes, how is it demonstrated in your life? If no, what have been the consequences of denying that authority?