I’ve often seen bumper stickers that read, “Jesus said it, I believe it, that settles it.” While I appreciate the sentiment, I wonder if we really do believe what Jesus said. There is a story in Luke’s gospel that challenges whether or not we really take God at His word.
Now Jesus started on His way with them; and when He was not far from the house, the centurion sent friends, saying to Him, “Lord, do not trouble Yourself further, for I am not worthy for You to come under my roof; for this reason I did not even consider myself worthy to come to You, but just say the word, and my servant will be healed. “For I also am a man placed under authority, with soldiers under me; and I say to this one, ‘Go!’ and he goes, and to another, ‘Come!’ and he comes, and to my slave, ‘Do this!’ and he does it.” Now when Jesus heard this, He marveled at him, and turned and said to the crowd that was following Him, “I say to you, not even in Israel have I found such great faith.” When those who had been sent returned to the house, they found the slave in good health. (Luke 7:6-10)
The centurion had faith in Jesus’ word, and he understood by experience that the word of a powerful authority was always carried out. In response, Jesus marveled at the faith of this man because he was unique in his full trust and belief. That fact alone should cause us to stop and reconsider our own faith. So many of us hear God’s word and still we do not believe. This man not only understood the authority of Jesus, he had no doubt that what Jesus spoke would be carried out.
In the preceding verses, we learn that the centurion had a servant who was very sick. Believing that his servant could be healed, he asked the local rabbis to plead his case with Jesus. As a Gentile, the centurion knew that a Jewish leader could not enter his home, but he sent someone to have Jesus give a command, knowing that His word was all that was needed for his servant to be healed.
Others came to Jesus for themselves, or for their children, but this man asked for healing on behalf of his slave. The centurion may have been a leader of a hundred warriors, but he demonstrated a heart of humility and compassion by pleading with Jesus to heal his servant. We can suppose that his faith wasn’t a momentary flash, but something God had developed in his heart that he walked out in his own life through obedience.
God has said many things in His Word to us. Do we have such faith to apprehend His words of help and healing? Let us live in both divine inspiration and faithful obedience, that empower us to always take God at His word.