Today’s Bible Journaling comes from Luke 7:9, “Now when Jesus heard this, He marveled at him, and turned and said to the crowd that was following Him, “I say to you, not even in Israel have I found such great faith.” (NASB) To give background, the Centurion had a servant who was extremely sick and about to die. He sent some Jewish leaders to ask Jesus to heal his servant. As Jesus was headed to the man’s house, he sent some friends telling Jesus not to come to his house, but just speak the word and his servant would be healed. I looked in a couple of commentaries about this, and they seem to agree that the Centurion was a man of great humility even though he was a man of great authority. He didn’t feel that he was worthy of having Jesus in his home and that he knew, he had faith, that if Jesus just spoke the word, his servant would be healed.
The commentaries both said that this is only one of two times in the Bible that Jesus ever marveled at something someone said. The other was when there was such unbelief, Jesus just couldn’t believe it. Here, Jesus is astounded by the faith of the Centurion, who was a gentile, and in Jesus’ day, gentiles were not highly regarded. The fact that the Jewish leaders to came to Jesus, at the bidding of the Centurion, and they told Jesus how righteous the leader was because he made it possible for a synagogue to be constructed and he loved the Jewish nation; so, he was well admired and honored among the Jewish people, and Jesus knew he was a man of humility and honor. Jesus is amazed by the faith of this leader.
In our study of following Jesus, we recognize that to follow Jesus, we must have faith. It requires faith in God to follow Him. What is faith? I Googled the definition and it means, “1. complete trust or confidence in someone or something. 2. strong belief in God or in the doctrines of a religion, based on spiritual apprehension rather than proof.” Let’s take the first definition…complete trust or confidence in someone or something…when we accept Jesus as our Savior, we put our total trust AND confidence in Him. We trust Him to save us from our sins, we trust Him to lead us on the pathway He has chosen for us to travel. We have confidence in His ability to keep us in every aspect of our lives, no matter what circumstances we face.
The second definition, a strong belief in God or in the doctrines of a religion, based on spiritual apprehension rather than proof, this, I think, can also be attributed to having confidence in Jesus. Jesus was a man, but He was also God, so when we place our full faith, trust, and confidence in Him, we are relying upon His knowledge of what we endure based on what He experienced here on earth, but also we are trusting in His love for us as God and the sacrifice He made for us on the Cross. I don’t really like the “belief in doctrines of religion” part, mostly because, religion doesn’t save us, Jesus does. We have a RELATIONSHIP WITH JESUS, rather than a religion. Religion is just ritual and a list of do’s and don’ts, there is no relationship.
Following Jesus requires our faith to be present. The Bible doesn’t say it necessarily must be strong (mustard seed faith – Matthew 17:20), but it must be present. Jesus was amazed at the strong faith of the Centurion because, I think frankly, not many people have that kind of faith. Most of us feel like we’re barely hanging on…kind of like the kitten holding on to the rope with the last claw of his foot. But we also realize that even if we have a little faith, what little faith we have, is enough in following Jesus daily.
Difficult times in our lives sometimes make it hard to have faith. We must realize that our faith is not based upon what we feel, but upon what we know about Jesus. Feelings are fickle! They change one minute after another. But when we base our faith upon what we KNOW about Jesus, how He’s helped us in the past, what we have learned about His character from His Word, even the small faith we have is enough to follow wherever He guides us.
Reading His Word also helps us in strengthening our faith. When we hide His Word in our hearts, we gain confidence in knowing that He will never leave us or forsake us, (Hebrews 13:5) He will always love us, (Jeremiah 31:3), He will be our helper (Hebrews 13:6), and He has promised us a home (John 14:1-3).
Our faith in Jesus keeps us grounded and our lives are examples to others of that faith, in how we live, speak, and react to daily life. Keep your faith strong, hold on to Jesus, and follow Him!