“When he entered Capernaum, a centurion came to him, appealing to him and saying, ‘Lord, my servant is lying at home paralysed, in terrible distress.’ And he said to him, ‘I will come and cure him.’ The Centurion answered, ‘Lord, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof; but only speak the word, and my servant will be healed. For I also am a man under authority, with soldiers under me; and I say to one, ‘Go’, and he goes, and to another, ‘Come’, and he comes, and to my slave, ‘Do this’, and the the slave does it.’ When Jesus heard him, he was amazed and said to those who followed him, ‘Truly I tell you, in no one in Israel have I found such faith“ (Matthew 8:5-10).
Why do you suppose Jesus was so impressed with the centurion’s faith? What made the centurion’s faith so extraordinary that Jesus was amazed and declared, “Truly I tell you, in no one in Israel have I found such faith”? All his disciples were present with him and there was a large crowd with him. Yet Jesus singles out a gentile centurion for demonstrating an amazing faith.
What made the centurion’s faith so amazing was that he understood who was in charge. As someone who has authority over others who obey him, and as one who obeys the orders of those who have authority over him, the centurion was declaring that Jesus was one in authority and whatever Jesus promises and declares is reality.
That’s faith. It’s trusting in the one who has authority and having the absolute confidence that the one who is worthy of being trusted.
It is absolutely true that our world is a mess. The division in our country is being played out in our congregation.
- There are those who are sickened by the protests in our country, Seattle, and Portland because of the violence and the disregard for law and authority
- There are those who are sickened by the protests in our country, Seattle, and Portland due to the inequalities and injustice that continues and not enough is being done to correct how the people of color are being mistreated
- There are those who are disturbed by the decisions being made by the Governor Inslee regarding the covid-19 pandemic because they believe that the governor and others in authority have overstepped their legal boundaries
- There are those who are disturbed because there are still those in our state who refuse to believe the serious impact of covid-19 and who continue to disregard the call to curb social gatherings and plea to mask up
God is in control. God is not done working out his will in God’s world to bring about his kingdom here on earth as it is in heaven. God is the one in authority.
What’s missing even in Christian contexts is the faith of the centurion.
- God is the one in authority
- God is not done working out his will in our country
- God is still on the throne
It is this faith that makes Christians different than all others in this world. Christians too see the messed-up-ness of the world but Christians know God is in control. God is still at work precisely because the world is messed up. Our hope is not in governors or leaders. Our hope is in Christ and Christ alone!
Jesus is what our world needs. That’s what made the centurion’s faith so extraordinary. I pray that the centurion’s faith is what God and our community sees in the people of the Little Church and Lakewoodgrace. For where Christ is present there is healing. Christ is our hope. Christ is the world’s hope.