01/21/T – So Great a Faith

Genesis 24:1-51; Matthew 8:5-17; Psalms 10:1-6; Proverbs 4:7-10

NT: “When he entered Capernaum, a centurion came to him, pleading with him, “Lord, my servant is lying at home paralyzed, in terrible agony.” He said to him, “Am I to come and heal him?” “Lord,” the centurion replied, “I am not worthy to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed… Hearing this, Jesus was amazed and said to those following him, “Truly I tell you, I have not found anyone in Israel with so great a faith. I tell you that many will come from east and west to share the banquet with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. But the sons of the kingdom will be thrown into the outer darkness where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” …Jesus went into Peter’s house and saw his mother-in-law lying in bed with a fever. So he touched her hand, and the fever left her. Then she got up and began to serve him. When evening came, they brought to him many who were demon-possessed. He drove out the spirits with a word and healed all who were sick, so that what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled: He himself took our weaknesses and carried our diseases.” (‭‭Matthew‬ ‭8:5-8, 10-12, 14-17‬ ‭CSB‬‬)

This is just a snippet in a day of the life of Jesus. First He delivers His epic sermon on the mount, then comes down the mountain and heals a leper… then He encounters a centurion and heals the centurion’s servant with just a word… he enters Peter’s house, finds that his mother-in-law is sick, and heals her… then spends the rest of the evening healing droves of people and casting out demons. In His encounter, He took notice of the centurion’s “great faith” and commended him on it. He also made an interesting comment that was tied to the centurion’s faith. He said that many (with the same faith as the centurion) would come from east and west and would be welcomed at the family dinner table – but those who claimed to be sons would be cast out. Why would Jesus say that? What was so great about the centurion’s faith? True faith is much more than belief. It isn’t something that you just stoke up. Faith has to do with complete trust and assurance on the object that the faith is based on… to the point that it causes you to act in confidence – not in yourself or in your faith, but in the object that your faith is based on. Jesus did all that He did through the faith that He had in His Father. He knew who His Father was, the power and authority that His Father held, so when the Father instructed Him to do something, He did it with complete confidence in the Father. The centurion demonstrated that same faith in Jesus. Many of the Jews of Jesus day had their confidence placed in their genealogy and not in the Words and commands of the Father – which is why they weren’t walking in the ways of the Father – they were just living according to their traditions. Only those with true faith in the Father are sons of the Father, regardless of genealogy. True faith comes from knowing God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit – and that knowledge comes from studying the word of God.

Psalms: “Lord, why do you stand so far away? Why do you hide in times of trouble? …For the wicked one boasts about his own cravings; the one who is greedy curses and despises the Lord. In all his scheming, the wicked person arrogantly thinks, “There’s no accountability, since there’s no God.” …He says to himself, “I will never be moved — from generation to generation without calamity.”” (‭‭Psalms‬ ‭10:1, 3-4, 6‬ ‭CSB‬‬)

One of the things that I love about the Psalms is how honest and real it is. The writer of this psalm was frustrated with all the injustice he saw in the world. And instead of “ginning up” false faith by ignoring the bad and only focusing on the promises, he got real with God. True faith doesn’t just ignore the evil in the world and confess positive things. True faith acknowledges the evil in the world but knows that God is greater than the evil – and will one day triumph over all evil.

Proverbs: “Wisdom is supreme — so get wisdom. And whatever else you get, get understanding. Cherish her, and she will exalt you; if you embrace her, she will honor you… Listen, my son. Accept my words, and you will live many years.” (‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭4:7-8, 10‬ ‭CSB‬‬)

Faith leads you to seek God above any other. Faith leads you to receive God’s wisdom instead of the wisdom of the world. Faith leads you to God’s understanding of things instead of relying on your own limited understanding. If you want God’s wisdom and God’s understanding, then place your faith in God.

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