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Who you know could change your life in so many ways, ranging from job opportunities to getting the best health care available. And thus, the world strives to maximize their network, often cozying up to people that they believe can open doors of success for them.
Not so with our centurion in Luke 7. This man was different than many, including the religious Jewish leaders. He didn’t want any special attention. However the Jewish leaders did. They went to Jesus beseeching him to have mercy on the centurion’s cause. After all, the centurion was a great man, and had done great things for the nation of Israel. The Jewish leaders told Jesus that he was worthy of being helped.
Yet being worthy didn’t matter to the centurion. In fact, he told Jesus that he was not worthy. Being that he was a sinful gentile, he could not have Jesus in his home. He knew all Jesus had to do was to remotely command his servant in order for him to be made whole.
You may ask, “But Mr. Centurion, you have been called worthy. Why don’t you celebrate it? Surely your efforts can buy you an audience with Jesus.” Though the centurion already had an audience with Jesus, he didn’t take advantage of it. He realized that the important thing was not knowing Jesus, but knowing the truth about him.
And what was the truth about him? It was knowing who he really was. See Luke tells us that the centurion had heard about Jesus, and that the things he had heard made him believe. After all, the centurion lived in Capernaum, the same place where Jesus had done many of his miracles. It seemed as if the things he had heard made him believe in Jesus.
But not only did he just believe in what Jesus could do, he also believed in who he was. The centurion believed that Jesus was someone with authority. That’s right, the power to do whatever he commanded. As a Roman military official, the centurion recognized an authority when confronted with one. But he knew Jesus was of a different regime. One who could speak to demons and have them tremble. Or to broken and crippled people and have them restored.
Thus because of what he knew, he believed. And so greatly did he believe, that he was commended for having great faith.
Do you want to have faith like the centurion? Then don’t base your belief in Christ on your worth, or your good Christian merit. His goodness has nothing to do with us, it’s simply because of who he is. Instead base your belief on what you know about him. That he is the all-powerful one who raises the dead and gives life to whom He wills. He is the creator of the universe and he answers to none. Base your belief on Christ, and Christ alone.
And if you do, I bet you will see God move amazingly in your life and maybe he will say to you, like the centurion, “Great is your faith.”
– Pastor Olu Jegede