The “Power” of Faith

A Roman centurion came to Jesus, “pleading with him, saying, ‘Lord, my servant is lying at home paralyzed, dreadfully tormented.” Jesus responded with an offer to “come and heal him,” but the soldier declined the offer, on two grounds: First, “Lord, I am not worthy that you should come under my roof.” He knew himself to be a sinner, and sensed that Jesus transcended other “teachers” in holiness, so much that his home was unworthy to have Jesus as a guest. Second, he believed that Jesus did not need to come. “Only speak a word, and my servant will be healed.” He trusted not only in Jesus’ purity, but in His power. As a soldier, he understood authority, and knew the effect of a simple command. Assuming that Jesus possessed supreme authority, even over a deadly disease, he asked only for Him to issue an order; the healing would follow immediately. How did Jesus respond? He commended the man’s faith, declaring it to be greater than any He had seen so far among the Jews. Drawing out the implication of that fact, He pronounced salvation for many Gentiles and judgment for many unbelieving Jews. Finally, he sent the man away with the words quoted above, “As you have believed, so let it be done for you.” Sure enough, the centurion returned home to find his servant well. What do we conclude from this incident? That any sort of faith will work miracles? No! This man’s trust in Christ contained key components: A believe in the goodness of God; an awareness of his own sin; confidence in the power of God; submission to the authority of Jesus. Notice, too, that he asked not for himself, but for his servant, showing his unselfish love and compassion. That sort of faith will not fail to bring “results”! We must of course, leave the precise details of those “results” in the hand of God, who alone knows what is best for us and most conducive to His glory. Still, this ancient Roman solider has left us a pattern to follow as we seek to trust God’s grace towards us in Christ.