The Man Who Amazed Jesus

Many amazed Jesus by their lack of faith, but only one amazed him by his extraordinary faith. He was a Gentile and an officer in the Roman army.

This centurion asked Jesus to heal his servant who was suffering greatly with paralysis. When Jesus asked him if he should come and heal him, the soldier replied.  “Lord, I do not deserve for you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I  am also a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and that one‘ Come,’ and he comes.” [Matthew 8:7-9]

 Jesus’ response: “…he was amazed and said to those following him, “Truly I tell you, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith. .” [Matthew 8:10]

Here is how this man showed extraordinary faith

  1. He had no doubts:“my servant will be healed.” .He was convinced Jesus had the power and authority to do what he asked of him.
  2. No barrier of distance to his faith. ”I do not deserve for you come under my roof. What did he mean? Jesus, you have such great power and authority, you can do it from here or anywhere you choose.
  3. He knew the power of the Word: “just say the word.”  He recognized Jesus’ power was not in what he did, but simply in the word of his command.
  4. He grasped the chain of command: — ”I am also a man under authority”, As the centurion was a link in the Roman chain of command, he saw Jesus’ link in Heaven’s chain of command.
  5. He saw the source of Jesus’s power was like his own It rested on his connection to the head of the Roman empire. He recognized Jesus’ power and authority came from his connection to God, the head of the universe.
  6. He showed humility by admitting he had no power within himself.

What does this mean for us?

  1. We are included in Heaven’s chain of command. Jesus called his disciples to him and gave them authority. [Luke 9:1) For the Son of man is like a man who takes a far journey… and gave authority to his servants [Mark 13:34]
  2. We can pray with confidence and authority, trusting not in our selves, but in our connection to Christ. “Without me you can do nothing…If ye remain in me and my words remain in you can ask for anything and it will be given. [John 15: 5, 7]
  3. By declaring and repeating God’s Word when we pray, “thus says the Lord.”
  4. By our humility in serving and obedience to him, we may lay claim to and exercise our authority in Christ.
  •  Let this mind be in you which is also in Christ Jesus… He humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—Therefore God exalted him [Philippians 2: 5,6]
  • Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time. [1 Peter 5:6}
  • “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. 26 Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant[Matthew 20:25,26]

To Reconcile or Exclude, A Dilemma.

All nations will be assembled before him, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates sheep from goats. [Matthew 25: 32]                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   “…the mystery of Christ is this: to unite all things in him in heaven and earth.”(Ephesians 1, 9, 10)

Recently I spoke with a friend about God’s mystery, i.e. his ultimate plan to unite all things in Christ. He countered with the sheep and goats parable, implying God’s plan is to divide rather than unite.  He has a point. How do we reconcile this parable that excludes people with His intention to unite all things?   Continue reading

God’s Dream Team

Great things can be done by individuals, but greater things are accomplished by teams. Even a great man like Galileo, when asked the source of his genius, replied, “I stand on the shoulders of giants.”

Neil Armstrong’s walk on the moon was a giant step for mankind because talented specialists combined their gifts in a superb display of united teamwork.  No individual could have achieved that. John Maxwell, noted business consultant writes, ”Well-coached teams can accomplish far more than gifted individuals.” Yet we idolize individuals in politics, sports, entertainment and even in the church. “Come hear our pastor preach,” Continue reading

God Whisperers

The Lord was not in the wind, the earthquake or fire, but in the sound of a small whisper. I Kings 19:12

We’ve heard about those special individuals who have unique talents for communicating with dogs, horses and even plants. They have been labeled “whisperers.” I know a gifted mechanic whom some might call a car whisperer.  To achieve this status requires skills in listening, observing and a readiness to take action. Continue reading

“They taught me how to pray. “

Kasserine is a town in Tunisia and is a fertile recruiting ground for ISIS. A young Muslim agreed to talk to a reporter if he could remain anonymous. “How did you come to join them?” He was asked.

“I used to drink and smoke. I decided to go to my neighborhood mosque to find my way to God. That’s when I met them. They taught me how to pray. ”

“They,” as it turned out. were ISIS militants. Continue reading

History’s Greatest Success

How does one measure success? Alexander the Great had enormous success if you condone war, bloodshed and death. Jesus Christ is called the prince of peace and by any standards is history’s greatest success. His one failure was a young man of great promise named Judas who betrayed him.

Yet he met every goal he set out to do;

overcame every threat to his mission;

founded a great world-wide movement;

gave his life as an atonement for human sin;

healed the sick and performed other great wonders;

conquered the grave and death through his resurrection;

made startling predictions that proved to true;

while millions await his promised return.

Consider also:

 His Teachings: Dr. Karl Menninger, founder of the famous psychiatric hospital, once said, “If you were to take the sum total of all the best ideas of mental health and given them to a great poet to express, you would have something like the Sermon on the Mount.”

 His Claims. He is celebrated around the world every December as the prince of peace, yet he made claims that are preposterous—the ranting of a madman if he is not God and very God. He said wild things such as, “I am this world’s light. I am the way. I am the truth. I am the life.“Before Abraham was I am.” John the Baptist called him, “the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.” Even the centurion who executed him had to glorify God, admitting, “Surely this was a righteous man.” For those who trust and follow Him Jesus is both relevant but present in their their daily life, promising, “I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

His Global Vision. His parish was not just Galilee or Judea, but the world, He testified at his trial. I have come into the world to witness to the truth. John 18:37. Remarkably, while still an unknown, he predicted “This gospel will be proclaimed in all the world…as a testimony to every nation.”  There is no nation where his gospel has not been proclaimed. Afghanistan has resisted Christianity more than any other land, yet even there his word has been proclaimed.

His Longevity. Despite great opposition from his own people and history’s greatest empire, Jesus’ prevailed. In a few centuries He displaced forever the pagan gods of Rome. While Buddhism and Hinduism predate Christianity, His movement predates Islam by 600 years For two millennia He has seen world empires and nations rise and fall.

His Vitality: While Christianity barely holds its own in North America and is fading in Europe, this movement is alive, well and expanding rapidly in Africa, Asia and South America, faster even than Islam.

What was the secret of his amazing success? Read our next post for the surprising answer.