Read: Matthew 8
It is believed that Matthew grouped things by theme, not by chronological order, so what theme do you see here? The theme to me is faith. I see several examples of what our faith should look like, and what it shouldn’t look like.
The first example is the leper. Leprosy is a terribly debilitating skin disease, and is very contagious. Back then there wasn’t a cure, so lepers were the outcasts of society. This man with leprosy had faith that Jesus had the power to change his life forever. But he didn’t demand it of Jesus; he came with a posture of worship. Jesus healed him immediately.
The next is the centurion, a Roman soldier. He had faith that Jesus only had to say the word, and his servant would be healed. He believed in Jesus’ deity completely, noting how unworthy he was for Jesus to enter his home. Jesus “marveled” at the faith of this Roman Gentile before healing the servant in that moment.
Juxtapose the centurion here with the disciples a few verses later on a boat in a great storm. Like the disciples, the centurion asks for help. Unlike the disciples, he doesn’t do so in fear and panic. By giving the example of his own authority in the Romans army, he demonstrates that he understands that Jesus is in control.
Lastly is the “faith” of the demons possessing the men in the country of the Gadarenes. Knowledge and faith are definitely different, so let’s just look at what the demons know to be true: 1.) Jesus is the Son of God, 2.) as the Son of God, Jesus has the authority to send them back to the underworld, and 3.) the demons could do nothing outside of the will of God, who has complete control that we can trust in. They knew these things, but it is one thing to know the truth, and a completely other thing to love it.
These stories don’t just show examples of faith, but also show that Christ is completely worthy of our faith. He cleanses people who are unclean, He helps those who don’t deserve help, He has power over all of creation, and has all authority in Heaven and on earth. And these qualities don’t depend on our faith in Him. We can decide whether we will live in fear, or if we will have faith in who Jesus is and what He can do.
We are like the disciples on the boat. But Jesus is calling us to be like the centurion. Personally, I want Jesus to “marvel” at my faith in Him, not chide me for my lack of it.
How can you be more like the centurion today?
What is stopping you from having full faith in who Jesus is and what He can do?
By: Kaitlin White
Good word today Kaitlin! There are so many good things in Chapter 8, however 3 words kept running through my mind.
"I am willing"
When I think of all the things Jesus was willing to do for us, it is quite humbling. Jesus was willing to:
* humble himself by leaving heaven and becoming a man
* be patient with stubborn, sinful disciples
* submit to His Father's will and die on a Roman cross
* forgive the thief on the cross who deserved to be there
There are so many more things Jesus was/is willing to do for sinful man. Our hearts should be filled with gratitude and a desire to serve Him. Thanks again Kaitlin!
Thank you for sharing that!
Good word Caitlin. Faith is certainly on display through this passage. I find that like the disciples, I many times struggle with faith in the storm and want/try to handle the fight on my own when if I relied on the power of Christ, He would help me through it. His word never promises to calm the storm as he did in this passage but that He will walk with me through the storm building me up in my faith along the way. I sometimes wonder how many storms he would have done for me just as he did for the Centurion if only I would have trusted in Him fully. With Gods help I will continue to grow in this area and someday experience the praise if Christ for my faithfulness. What a day that would be!
Great point, and such a helpful reminder that we are called to be people of faith in whatever else we’re called to as individuals!
Great message, Kaitlin! The faith of the centurion is one of my favorite stories in the Bible. Jesus also wanted to reach gentiles with the Good News!