The thing that I love about our reading from Luke 7:1-10 this week is that we get to see something that we don’t usually see in the Gospel’s. Jesus is surprised! Jesus is amazed and surprised, because having worked hard to teach the importance of faith to the people of God, he discovers the greatest example of faith he has ever come across through an encounter with a Roman Centurion.
The writer of the letter to the Hebrews describes faith this way; “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1
So confident is our centurion that Jesus can heal his servant that he knows that Jesus doesn’t even need to come to his house for the servant to be made well. ‘I tell you, not even in Israel have I found such faith.’ Luke 7:9
Of course the enemy of faith and the opposite of faith is fear. “What if God doesn’t answer my prayer?” And so fear stops us praying and faith is never even given a chance. The reason Jesus marvels at the Centurion’s faith is because it is exactly the kind fear denying faith he calls each of us to. Corrie Ten Boom puts it this way, “Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God!”
Of course the best way to grow in faith is to put it into practice as we entrust ourselves to God in prayer. Martin Luther King JR. said that “Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.” It’s not dependent upon our knowledge or understanding but by having confidence in Jesus promise that he always hears us whenever we turn to him in prayer. Phillip Yancey writes, “I have learned that faith means trusting in advance what will only make sense in reverse.”
So let’s give faith a chance and dare to believe, just like the Centurion did, that when we turn to Jesus and pray according to his will he really does hear and answer our prayers.
Till next time. Andrew
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Rev. Andrew Smith
Vicar of Light in the Hills