Blogging the Bible 273 – Luke 7:1-8:39 – Great faith or Great God?

‘I tell you, not even in Israel have I found such faith.’ (Lk.7:10)
What sets that centurion’s faith apart from that of so many others? It seems to have something to do with his understanding of authority. He knows what it is to be able to give an order and know that others will make it happen. He also knows what it is to receive an order from above and make it happen for someone else. He sees Jesus as having ultimate authority, even over sickness, and needs nothing other than to know that Jesus says ‘let it be so’.
Perhaps that is the key – to know that Jesus is in authority as part of the basic structure of reality; like in the ‘let there be…’ of Genesis 1, his word makes things happen. He does not need to be there in person.
Behind this, though, lies another and less obvious point. The Jewish elders ask Jesus to go and heal the slave because the centurion deserves his help, having built the synagogue and loving the people. The centurion, on the other hand, asks for Jesus’ help confident not in who the centurion is, but in who Jesus is.
That shows the other side of his deep faith. For all of his achievements and good deeds, he places his trust in the absolute, unchanging goodness of God in Jesus.
Whatever I may be or do, Jesus is unchanging. However much or little anyone else may think I deserve his help, I can trust in his undeserved love. That’s faith.

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