Throughout the New Testament, Jesus is only mentioned to have been “amazed” twice and both times center around the subject of faith. In this passage, Jesus is amazed by great faith while in the other story Jesus is amazed by the lack of faith. So who “amazed” Jesus with their great faith in this passage – Peter, the woman at the well, a Roman centurion, or John?
The answer: a Roman centurion
In Ancient Rome, a “centurion” meant “captain of 100”. So a Roman centurion was a captain over 100 Roman soldiers. Centurions were the leaders and foundation of the Roman army. Centurions started out as soldiers but ultimately rose to these leadership roles because of their sharp minds and their merit/ skills demonstrated on the battlefield. These were the smartest and the best of the best of the Roman soldiers. Now remember later on, Roman soldiers would have to carry out the orders to crucify Jesus. The Roman soldiers would beat and flog Jesus, they would mock Jesus, and ultimately they would drive the stakes in to nail Jesus to the Cross. Yet in this passage, Jesus is “amazed” by the faith exhibited by one of the Roman centurions.
The whole story is found in Matthew 8: 5-10, 13:
5 When Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to him, asking for help. 6 “Lord,” he said, “my servant lies at home paralyzed, suffering terribly.” 7 Jesus said to him, “Shall I come and heal him?” 8 The centurion replied, “Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed. 9 For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and that one, ‘Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” 10 When Jesus heard this, he was amazed and said to those following him, “Truly I tell you, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith. 13 Then Jesus said to the centurion, “Go! Let it be done just as you believed it would.” And his servant was healed at that moment.
We learn as this passage starts, that a servant of the Roman centurion is paralyzed and at home suffering terribly. As Jesus arrives in Capernaum, the centurion knows this is the one person who can heal his servant so he approaches Jesus. Jesus responds “Shall I come and heal him?” The Centurion’s response to Jesus question in verse 8 is where he demonstrates the great faith. He tells Jesus “I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed.” In other words, the centurion believes Jesus does not need to come to his house to heal the servant. Jesus can merely just say the words and the servant will be healed. This is faith. This is confidence. This is God confidence. The centurion fully knows Jesus can heal his servant by just saying the word. Not one doubt in the centurion’s mind about Jesus ability to heal. He fully trusts Jesus. The centurion also seems to have a tremendous amount of humility and high regard for Jesus as he says he is not even worthy enough to have Jesus come into his house. This level of respect for Jesus is unexpected because most Roman soldiers and centurions during this time were pagan meaning they worship other gods. Jesus then tells those around him about the centurion, “I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith.” And the passage concludes by Jesus healing the servant.
This is the level of faith God wants us to develop and live by. Having the confidence to know that God can heal and that God is fully in control of all situations in our lives. Having true God confidence. Now there are times when God may choose not to heal according to His will, but the real question of faith is – do we believe that God has the power to heal and to control any situation? God does. I challenge you to take a gauge of the level of your faith in this area.
Faith Gauge Questions:
Do you have the level of faith of this Roman centurion?
Do you really believe God has the ability to heal any situation?
Would God be able to tell those around him that you have great faith?
Do you have any questions or comments? I would love to hear them – please leave a reply below. Thanks.