Luke 7:1-10: God-Pleasing Faith
Read: Luke 7:1-10
The centurion’s faith impressed Jesus. He saw authority in Jesus, acknowledging that just a word from Jesus’ mouth could heal his servant. He understood this because he too would instruct soldiers and they would act. A centurion was an officer in a Roman legion, and in command of around 80-200 men. They were paid handsomely compared to regular soldiers and command the respect of those in their legion. This particular centurion was nameless, but he was well liked among the Jews because he built their synagogue for them and he was apparently God-fearing too. Jesus healed the servant from afar, and remarked on the centurions faith, saying he had not seen such faith in all of Israel. In other words, those who were supposed to have faith apparently did not have faith that compared to this Gentile.
Luke, in keeping with his theme of the gospel being a gospel for all people includes this story to show that even a Gentile can have faith. Saying that a Roman had more faith than a Jew though was a front to the Jews, because they were supposed to be the ones that had faith. The difficulty with many Jews is that they didn’t see Jesus for who he really was. Luke has already shown that Jesus was rejected in his hometown (Luke 4:14-30) and how stiff-necked the Pharisees were when they heard him preach (Luke 5:17-26). Yet even so, Jesus was well received by the people of Capernaum (Luke 4:31-44) and Gentiles were coming to hear him preach (Luke 6:17). Jesus made no exclusions on who could hear the good news or to those he would heal.
Paul explains in Romans 2-3 the relationship between the Jews and the Gentiles. God chose the Jews to be the ones to carry the gospel to the world going back as far as Abraham. He wanted the Jews to live in accordance with the Law and witness about God so that God’s name would be made known among the Gentiles. However the Jews did quite the opposite, blaspheming God’s name among the Gentiles by their deeds. But Paul reckons that the true Jew was not the one who is circumcised or a descendant of a Jew, rather one who follows the law (Romans 2:28-29) and that Jews and Gentiles are justified by faith (Romans 3:28-31). Abraham was the father of many nations (Genesis 12:1-2. Genesis 17:4-5, Genesis 17:20, Hebrews 11:2) – not by birth but by faith (Romans 4:9-18).
Faith is how one becomes a child of God. Hebrews notes that without faith, it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6). In other words, it is absolutely essential to have faith to become a Christian and live as a Christian. In the same way that the Centurion’s faith impressed Jesus, so does the faith of all those who call on his name and live accordingly even now. It is by faith that God is pleased.
Lord, help my faith be God-pleasing faith!