Amazing Faith

Luke 7

Wednesday, December 14, 2022


There are few instances recorded in the Bible that describe Jesus being amazed, but one of them is found in Luke 7. When Jesus came into Capernaum, word spread, and when a Roman centurion heard that the Messiah was in town, he didn’t hesitate to send help for his sick servant. Those who were sent attempted to persuade Jesus to come by attesting to the centurion’s worthiness, confirming that he loves their nation, and even built the synagogue. But that’s not why Jesus went with them. He went with them because he was astounded by the man’s faith; faith even greater than he had witnessed in his own people. He was astounded by the amount of compassion and love in the man’s heart. On his way to the centurion’s home, he received another message, this time the centurion was declaring his unworthiness to be within Christ’s vicinity, asking only for a simple word of healing. In doing so, he further displayed immense humility as well as abounding faith.

This soldier showed more awareness of Christ’s purpose and authority on earth than even the Jews. His level of faith is what we should strive for as followers of Christ, a humble and simple faith that doesn’t waver, a faith that even the Messiah can’t help but be impressed by. A faith that acknowledges Christ’s sovereignty in every situation, whether or not a request is fulfilled. Knowing in every scenario that we serve a God who is fully capable of supernatural, miraculous phenomenons, but that He is also good no matter how He answers our prayers and requests. Let us pray today that God instills within us a faith as deep and true as the faith modeled by the centurion over 2,000 years ago, and thank Him that we have so many examples of immense faith to reflect on and live by recorded in His Word.

-Isabella Osborn


Reflection Questions:

  1. Where do you find yourself sometimes initially looking for worthiness in the world?
  2. How do we know that God sees us as worthy, despite how much distance there is between us and Him?
  3. In what ways does the story of Jesus healing the Centurion’s servant apply to your own life?
  4. How can you make it your first instinct to turn to God when facing difficult circumstances?

Forgiven Much, Loves Much

John 9

April 6

Jesus heals a man born blind with a spit-filled mudpie. Creative. Unexpected. A tiny bit gross.

Totally worth it though, I imagine, to the man who can now see.

What we’re going to focus on, however, is the reaction to this healing by the elite, the ultra-religious, the Pharisees. Because this man’s miraculous healing happened on the Sabbath, they’re a little put out. A lot, actually.

As they drill him for information about the person who healed him, he does pretty good holding his own:

“Here is an astonishing thing! You do not know where he comes from, and yet he opened my eyes.We know that God does not listen to sinners, but he does listen to one who worships him and obeys his will.Never since the world began has it been heard that anyone opened the eyes of a person born blind.If this man were not from God, he could do nothing.”

They answered him, “You were born entirely in sins, and are you trying to teach us?” And they drove him out.

What they’re really saying is, “Who do you think you are?”

Matthew Poole’s commentary captures the attitude of their statement in this interpretation of their words:

Thou that art such a marked villain from thy mother’s womb, or that art such an ignorant idiot, dost thou think thyself fit to instruct us about true and false prophets, who are of God, and who are not? Surely we are to be thy teachers, and not thou ours.

It’s an indignant attitude, definitely an attitude of pride, wouldn’t you say? But we’ve all been there. We refuse the information because we don’t like the source. Maybe it’s because we feel superior (like the Pharisees). Or perhaps we simply don’t like them.

This passage reminds me of another time we can see the Pharisees’ pride shine a spotlight on their shame.

Luke describes a time that Jesus was dining at a Pharisee’s home and a sinful woman anointed him. In chapter 7 it says that she was “at his feet, weeping, and began to bathe his feet with her tears and to dry them with her hair. Then she continued kissing his feet and anointing them with the ointment.”

The passage goes on to describe how Jesus puts the shocked and indignant religious crowd in their place. He tells them that her sins, which are many, are forgiven—for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little.””

In both of these cases, we see beautiful examples of how Christ’s mercies are most valued by those who have felt the want of them. (Matthew Henry’s commentary on John 9:34)

There’s a song by Ten Shekel Shirt that captures this, I think. And it’s a good place to pause and reflect after this chapter.

I come to Your feet and weep
Remembering how You changed me
I kneel at Your feet humbly
I pour out my love and my thanks

I am the one who’s been forgiven much
I am the one who loves much

I sit at Your feet in peace
Sensing a smile over me
I’m here at Your feet gladly
Giving my love and my thanks

Listen here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_VrfvALiE8s

-Susan Landry

Questions for Reflection and Discussion:

  1. Have you ever struggled to accept something as truth just because of the source? Why do you think that is? How can we be better at preventing this attitude?
  2. Do you feel like you are someone who ‘loves much’ or ‘loves little’? If you’re unsure, pay attention to your actions, thoughts, and words for the next week and ask God to show you.
  3. Re-read John 9:40-41. Restate Jesus’ words in a different way. What is he saying? What can we learn from his statement?

Healing Hope

Luke Chapter 7

Screenshot 2019-12-08 00.42.58

This chapter is rich in content, and many sermons and classes have been built around the Faith of the Centurion, the woman who washed Jesus’ feet with perfume, or Jesus’ discussion on John the Baptist.  All very good stuff.

 

But something else stood out to me today in this chapter.  Isn’t it interesting how often scripture speaks to us in different ways based on when we read it?  That should be a very good reason to be in the word daily.

 

We have a funeral this coming week at our church for a World War 2 Veteran who lived a full life and passed away peacefully, and yet Bob will still be greatly missed.  Last year around this time, my dad passed away unexpectedly. I really miss being able to talk to him. I know many people who are currently suffering from or have recently suffered from cancer.  Someone else in our church is still suffering through a migraine headache that started three months ago. Death and suffering stink.

 

With all of these things in mind, this chapter has been an encouraging reminder for me.  In the opening account of the chapter, Jesus fully heals the Centurion’s servant who was near death.  Then Jesus raises a widow’s only son to life, after he had recently passed!  

 

Later, in verses 22-23, it reads, “At that very time Jesus cured many who had diseases, sicknesses and evil spirits, and gave sight to many who were blind. So he replied to the messengers, ‘Go back and report to John what you have seen and heard: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor.’”

 

Wow.  Imagine the grief you would be feeling if you just lost a close loved one (some of us don’t have to imagine) and shortly afterward, the loved one is returned to us, fully healthy and alive.  Or imagine if you have never had the ability to see, and then suddenly you did! 

 

We are promised that there will be a Kingdom where the dead will have been raised back to life and where all suffering has ceased.  That is hard to imagine as well. But here Jesus offers the proof that it is possible. Not only did Jesus raise the dead and fully heal the sick here and at other times, but many dead were also raised upon Jesus’ death, and then Jesus himself was raised to life.  Of course only Jesus was raised to eternal life. The rest will have to wait until Christ returns.

 

Friends, we have access to that wonderful Kingdom that God has promised.  What an amazing opportunity and reward that is. It is good to be reminded about that continually, but even more so at certain points in our lives.  Do you known anyone else who could use that kind of encouragement? Do you know anyone else who doesn’t share that same hope for the future? If yes, then spread the Good News!

 

Greg Landry

 

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