Friday, August 12, 2016

Matthew 8 and the Object of Faith


Last night in my Bible reading group (nightlybible.danielpcox.info), we read the story of Jesus healing the centurion’s servant in Matthew 8.  In thinking this morning, I realized that while the story is in part there to show a good example of faith, it is not there primarily to point to the centurion. 

Jesus indeed commends the centurion’s faith, but when you think about it, it’s not his faith that should be surprising.  Rather, the fact that Jesus had not found such faith in Israel should be surprising, though that’s not really the point either.

The point is the object of faith, namely Jesus.  He is the one who with a word heals the servant at a distance and in an instant.  The reason the centurion’s faith is commendable is not because he had willed such strong faith, but because his trust matched its Object than the lack of faith that the Jews had. 

What is surprising is that the Jews, who had the testimony of God’s trustworthiness and power from their own history, did not trust God among them as much as the outsider did.  The centurion, though a foreigner to God’s covenant people, had learned enough to know the power of God in Christ and to trust Him.

The power of faith is not in its own strength or sincerity, but that the One whom you trust is worthy of it.  Jesus is the point of the story, because He proved to be both powerful and trustworthy on the order of God Himself.  Jesus is the worthy object of our faith.  He has power over sickness, indeed over the whole of creation, equal to that of the centurion’s authority over his men, and even moreso.  And His power is united with His care for those who trust in Him, so that we may obey the exhortation humbly to “cast our cares before Him.
s.D.g.

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