Watching the NFL (National Football League) the last couple of weeks, I have been amazed observing Derrick Henry of the Tennessee Titans play. He is 6’3’, weighs 247 lbs. and runs the 40-yard dash in 4.5 seconds…an amazing athlete who plays against world class athletes weekly. Yet, he has made these competitors look like kids having the brute strength to run over them, the speed to sprint around them and the athleticism to throw a jump pass touchdown by them. Many would say during the play-offs, he has played like the GOAT…the Greatest of All-Time.
Derrick Henry has amazed me, but do you know who amazed Jesus? Take a look at Matthew 8:10 and you will see. “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.” Jesus was amazed at the “great faith” of a Roman Centurion of all people. A Centurion was a military officer that had 100 men reporting to him. In the times of Christ, these men were feared. Some of them were hated and few were respected. What “amazed” Jesus was not his military clout but his faith. Let’s take a look at this officer’s story.
In Mark 8, it recorded that “5 Jesus had entered Capernaum (a fishing village on the northern shores of the Sea of Galilee), 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.”
Analyzing this story, you discover that the Centurion displayed uncharacteristic behavior from the norm of a Roman officer. He…
- Had a caring heart. Of all people, he was concerned about his servant and took time from his busy schedule to locate and ask Jesus for help. “6 ‘Lord, ’he said, ‘my servant lies at home paralyzed, suffering terribly.’” He saw the pain of his servant and was willing to sacrificially seek out help…he took his valuable time to wait on and encounter Jesus.
- Lived out life with humility even as a man of authority.
- This is first pictured when the centurion addressed Jesus as “Lord.” Customarily, Roman officers were arrogant and disdained Jews showing them little respect. Yet, this officer called Jesus, “Lord.”
- Then, he stated, “I do not deserve to have you come under my roof.” What genuine, Godly humility this soldier of stature had.
- Showed great faith…this is what amazed Jesus. “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.” As an officer, he understood authority. There were military officers above him and soldiers below him. The Centurion knew how to submit to and carry out the orders from the officers above him and how to issue orders to men below him with full expectation that they will be followed. The Centurion was able to translate this to the Spiritual world recognizing that Jesus had ultimate authority. He knew Christ was at the top of the authority chain in the spiritual realm. Everyone knew that they had to bow down, submit to and obey orders issued “in the name of Jesus “. Thus, he said, “Lord, just give the command and it will be done.” This amazed Jesus!! The Centurion saw clearly into the spiritual realm and how it worked recognizing the one with ultimate authority was Jesus. So, if Jesus issued the order, his servant would be healed.
“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.’”
Do you see what the Centurion saw? Jesus is the Authority. Believe and trust Him and you will be amazed at what He does. Matthew 28 “18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.”