March 2

Text: Matthew 8:10-12

Now when Jesus heard this, He marveled, and said to those who were following, "Truly I say to you, I have not found such great faith with anyone in Israel.  And I say to you, that many shall come from east and west, and recline at the table with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven; but the sons of the kingdom shall be cast out into the outer darkness; in that place there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth." (NASB)

Sometimes good reactions come from never-expected sources!  First, there were Israelites who had access to God’s teachings for hundreds of years.  They would be expected to recognize God’s power in Jesus quickly.  They did not. 

Second, there was the Roman centurion.  Israel was a strange country with an even stranger religion.  Matthew did not indicate this centurion had years of exposure to Israel’s concept of one living God.  He would not be expected to recognize God’s power in Jesus.  Yet, he did.  How strange!

The position of a centurion was much like our position of sergeant today.   He typically had 100 men under his command.  He was the person who “got the job done.”  His position typically was resented by the occupied—he was “the face” of the occupying force!

 This centurion had a paralyzed servant who suffered, but getting a healthy servant was not his answer.  He wanted Jesus to heal his servant.  In fact, he entreated Jesus—a centurion begging a Jew for a favor?

Jesus agreed to come to his house to heal the servant.  Shockingly, he refused because he felt unworthy of such a visit!  “I know about authority, and you have it.  Just command it be done, and it will happen.”

Jesus was astounded!  He had not seen that kind of faith in an Israelite.  What would be the result of such faith?  The result: gentiles of faith would be accepted into God’s kingdom, while faithless Jews would be rejected.  Jesus told the centurion to go home, and His trust would be rewarded.

Suggestion for reflection: If God’s blessings depended on your level of trust, what would happen?  (Consider Luke 17:5-10.)

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