Jesus often amazed people with His words and actions, but only once does Scripture reveal that Jesus was amazed by the faith of a person. The story is found in Luke 7:1-10. Context is incredibly important to understanding this wonderful story. Prior to going to Capernaum where Jesus met the centurion, Jesus preached the Sermon on the Mount. Immediately after that Luke records this miracle. In the sermon, you will remember that Jesus described true discipleship as it should be lived out in the reality of the world. Jesus said a child of God, and a member of the Kingdom, seeks after the righteousness of God. The kingdom person is humble, repentant over sin, loves even his enemies and is merciful. Jesus contrasted true discipleship with the Jewish religious leaders who were self-righteous, condemning, and judgmental. They were without mercy. They sought their own glory rather than God’s glory. In fact, Jesus said, “For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 5:20). Let’s quickly look at some aspects of this man who amazed Jesus.
- His love for his slave was amazing. Verse 2 says, “A certain centurion slave who was highly regarded by him was sick and about to die.” The word “highly regarded,” entimos, means precious.
- His love for His enemies was amazing. The Jews hated the pagan Roman occupation of their precious promised land, yet amazingly theysidered the centurion a worthy man, a man “who loves their nation” and who built their synagogue. Verse 5 reads, “For he loves our nation.” The word “loves” is agapao. This word is used to describe the highest and noblest love in the Greek language.
- His humility was amazing. People who truly belong in the Kingdom see their spiritual bankruptcy. This is the case of this man. Verse 6, “Jesus started on His way with them.” The elders are going to take Jesus to the house. When the centurion realized that they’re coming, he sent friends to say to Jesus, “Lord, do not trouble yourself for I am not worthy to have you to come under my roof.“
- His faith was amazing. In verse 7 the centurion he said, “Just say the word and let my servant be healed.” This is his great faith. He understood that Jesus has divine power and authority. He said, “all You have to do is speak it and it will be so.” He was saying, “You are God. You are Lord. Just speak and it will be done.”
Amazing love, amazing generosity, amazing mercy to enemies, amazing humility and amazing devotion to the true God. Amazing faith in the divine authority of the Lord Himself. Verse 9 reads, “When Jesus heard these things, He marveled at him.” He said to the multitude, “I tell you, not even in Israel have I found such great faith.” What was wrong with Israel? They were blind in their self-righteousness. The centurion was a living illustration of the sermon Jesus had preached a short time before entering Capernaum. Many of the things Jesus talked about was seen living in this man. His faith amazed Jesus. Let’s pray for a faith that amazes Jesus to be alive in us!