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February 17, 2011

When Jesus had finished saying all this to the people who were listening, he entered Capernaum. There a centurion’s servant, whom his master valued highly, was sick and about to die. The centurion heard of Jesus and sent some elders of the Jews to him, asking him to come and heal his servant. When they came to Jesus, they pleaded earnestly with him, “This man deserves to have you do this, because he loves our nation and has built our synagogue.” So Jesus went with them.

He was not far from the house when the centurion sent friends to say to him: “Lord, don’t trouble yourself, for I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. That is why I did not even consider myself worthy to come to you. But say the word, and my servant will be healed. 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.”

When Jesus heard this, he was amazed at him, and turning to the crowd following him, he said, “I tell you, I have not found such great faith even in Israel.” Then the men who had been sent returned to the house and found the servant well.

—Luke 7:6b-9

John’s disciples told him about all these things. Calling two of them, he sent them to the Lord to ask, “Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?”

When the men came to Jesus, they said, “John the Baptist sent us to you to ask, ‘Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?’”

At that very time Jesus cured many who had diseases, sicknesses and evil spirits, and gave sight to many who were blind. So he replied to the messengers, “Go back and report to John what you have seen and heard: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor. Blessed is anyone who does not stumble on account of me.”

—Luke 7:18-23

Here we have two distinct vignettes on faith and how Jesus responds to them. First, there is the centurion—a man who wasn’t even a Jew. Jesus is compelled by the Jewish elders of Capernaum to visit this centurion and heal his servant because the centurion was a big contributor. Jesus agrees, and this is where the surprise comes in: The centurion sends his men to stop Jesus from coming to his house, simply because it wasn’t necessary—all he had to do was say the word and his servant would be healed. What was Jesus’ response to this act of faith? Amazement. If you’d like to have an interesting study, go through the gospels and count the times Jesus was recorded as being amazed.

This second vignette is a glimpse into John the Baptist’s heart. He had seen Jesus prior to this, in fact, he was the one who had baptized Jesus and watched as the Holy Spirit descended unto Jesus prior to his 40-day wilderness stay. Here, we catch John at the tail end of his work and time here on earth. Jesus’ ministry is exploding while his is winding down. Doubt has surfaced in his heart. He sends two of his followers to Jesus with a revealing question: “Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?”

Did Jesus rail on John’s followers for his lack of faith? Did he chastise them for following a weakling? No. Jesus put on a show. Jesus cured in bunches—bunches! When he was done, he told them, “Report that.”

Sometimes, you may feel like the centurion. You may know that God can do all things and he can do those things simply through uttering a word. Other times, you may feel like John the Baptist. You may have seen the Christ, seen him at work, know who he is, and yet, there is doubt creeping into your heart. Either way, the answer is to go your Savior. Amaze him with your faith if that’s where you are, but if you’re not where the centurion was, if there is doubt creeping into your heart, don’t ever be afraid to take that to him too. Who knows? He may put on a show for you too.

From → Proverbs

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