February 19

Let’s Make Jesus Marvel (for the right reason)

Luke 7:6-9 Then Jesus went [to the house of the sick servant of the centurion]. And when He was already not far from the house, the centurion sent friends to Him, saying to Him, “Lord, do not trouble Yourself, for I am not worthy that You should enter under my roof. Therefore I did not even think myself worthy to come to You. But say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I also am a man placed under authority, having soldiers under me. And I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes; and to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.”

When Jesus heard these things, He marveled at him, and turned around and said to the crowd that followed Him, “I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel!”

Mark 6:1-6a Then He went out from there and came to His own country…. And many hearing Him were astonished, saying, “Where did this Man get these things? And what wisdom is this which is given to Him, that such mighty works are performed by His hands? Is this not the carpenter, the Son of Mary….? So they were offended at Him….And He marveled because of their unbelief.

Jesus is said to have “marveled” twice. Once was in Capernaum—far outside Judah—and concerned a Gentile, a Roman soldier, someone the reader assumes would have been as far removed from real faith as possible. The second was in Jesus’ hometown of Nazareth, among what should have been “His people” in all senses of the word.

With the centurion, Jesus marveled at his faith. Among His people, Jesus marveled at their unbelief. Clearly, Jesus was struck deeply when it comes to the exercise of faith or the lack thereof.

The centurion was a friend of the Jews, and may have been a “God-fearer,” a Gentile who sympathized with Jewish beliefs and practices. But no matter what his other beliefs were, what He saw and respected in Jesus was His authority and the power of His word. Unlike others, he didn’t need to see miracles and didn’t even need the Person of Jesus to come to His house. The centurion understood authority and recognized it in Jesus. He knew the power of a command, and had faith in the power of whatever Jesus would say.

How about us? Must we see new demonstrations of Jesus’ power to believe? Do we trust in His word—especially those that have already been written down for us? The centurion added his faith to Jesus’ spoken word, and his servant was healed.

Jesus also marveled at the unbelief of those that should have known Him the best. Instead of responding to the presence of God, they were too distracted by their knowledge of Jesus as a son and sibling. Being too preoccupied and judgmental about the outside package, they missed the power of God within.

Again, how about us? Have we missed God—and the blessings of His power and presence—because we know the person being used too well? How sad for us, and how sad it was for Jesus.

Prayer: Father, help me to be like the centurion, recognizing the authority of God’s word as having real power. And forgive me for rejecting Your chosen vessels because I know them in the natural. Help me to see Your power and presence wherever and in whomever You choose to display it.


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