(Article for publication week of 9-25- AD 2014)
"When Jesus heard it, He marveled, and said to them that followed, 'Verily, I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel' " (Mathew 8:10). Readers are invited and encouraged to get your Bible and read the whole lesson from Matthew 8:5- Matthew 8:13 for we plan several articles from this passage.)
We learn from this passage that God's people may attain unto "great faith." We showed you in the two previous articles that not a few of the Lord's saints are of "little faith" (Matthew 8:26), and sometimes have their faith mixed with unbelief (Mark 9:24), yet they are not as the unregenerate who "have not faith" (II Thessalonians 3:2).
In the lesson at hand a Roman centurion comes to the Lord Jesus Christ and begs him to heal his slave who was at home sick. When the Lord readily agreed, the centurion replied , "I am not worthy that Thou shouldest come under my roof: but speak the word only and my servant shall be healed"! And the lesson happily concludes in the thirteenth verse as the Lord Jesus Christ pronounced the man's slave healed and so he was.
Now we note first of all the humble spirit in the Roman centurion. He did not feel worthy that the Lord Jesus Christ should grace his home with His holy Presence. I cannot but contrast this man's spirit with that of the average religionist of our day. Now, you are not that surprised by the pride of worldly people (although we should still despise it), but the cockiness of today's church members is disgusting, and I fear reveals unregenerate hearts. Most professors of religion today believe they are equal to any man, including the Lord Jesus Christ, the God-Man. But not so with this one of "great faith." He knew his place and was willing to remain in his place. Dear reader, if you are not of an humble spirit, you have no reason to suppose that you are of great faith, and it is to be feared that you are among those of "no faith." The grace of God humbles a man so that he does not feel himself worthy of any of the Lord's mercies. The grace of God humbles a man that he does not feel himself worthy to be among the saints of God. Dear reader, have you ever like the centurion of Great Faith cried out, "Lord I am not worthy"? Read the lesson again and see the humble spirit of this one that our Lord declared to be of "great faith."
Secondly, we note that the Roman centurion had absolute confidence in the Lord Jesus Christ. As he himself was a man of authority having soldiers and slaves under his authority, he recognised a like authority of the Lord Jesus Christ, but infinitely superior to his own. He perceived that the Lord Jesus Christ had authority over himself and his slave and the disease which disabled him. Indeed, the Lord Jesus Christ, Who is verily God, has authority over every germ and virus in the world. He has authority over the wind and the waves. He directs all atomic activity so there is not a misplaced atom in the universe, nor any undirected atomic activity. The centurion said, "Lord, you don't have to actually go where my sick slave is; all you have to do is say the word, and he will instantly be healed." And so he was at the Lord's word.
Here is "great faith" on display. May the Lord increase "little faith, and dispel unbelief in us that we may attain unto "great faith. And may He be gracious to the lost and gift them with faith.