Matthew 8:5-13: Faith Without Borders
Read: Matthew 8:5-13
The centurion’s faith impressed Jesus. 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.
The centurion’s faith is remarkable for a number of reasons:
- He recognized Jesus’ authority over matters of disease.
- He believed that Jesus could exercise that authority from anywhere and it would be done. In other instances, the Jews either wanted Jesus to come to them or they went to Jesus, but the centurion believed location wasn’t important.
- He recognized Jesus as having dominion over Jews and Gentiles. While Jesus came to save the world, the focus of Jesus’ ministry was on the Jews and later the apostles would take the gospel to the nations.
The global scope of God’s redemption from the beginning was intended to be for all the world (Genesis 12:2-3). Somewhere along the line though, the faith of the Jews had become fickle. They had come to trust in their heritage as descendants of Abraham more than they did on God himself. When centurion expresses faith that the Jews were supposed to have, Jesus uses this opportunity to remind the Jews that the family of God wasn’t limited to Jews. There would be a number of Gentiles present among the redeemed yet there would also be a number of Jews who were not present.
The bulk Christians today are not direct descendants of Abraham, rather are descendants of Abraham by faith. But many people also claim to be Christians because of their their family traditions or cultural heritage and are no better off than the Jews who will not be among the redeemed because they are not children of Abraham by faith. Kind of faith that God wants is not faith in name only, rather faith in Jesus who is able to save without boundaries. Trusting in Jesus for salvation is the only kind of faith that can save and ensure as seat at the table when Jesus does return!
Lord, your salvation knows no borders. Help the world to see and believe this!