Return To Sermons in the Encounters With Jesus

Return To Miscellanous Sermon Menu

Return To Lowell F. Johnson Master Sermon Menu

NOTE: To Edit this document, simply highlight the text, Copy, then paste to your word processor

13.A MAN WHOSE FAITH AMAZED JESUS
Luke 7:1-10


Before Reading the Passage

We are going to study about a man that the Bible says “Amazed Jesus.”

• He was not a Jew; he was a Gentile. But he was not just a Gentile, but a Roman and a soldier of the nation that enslaved the Jews.

• Not only was he a Roman soldier, he was a Roman Centurion. The word “centurion” comes from the word “century,” which means one hundred. He was a military officer with one hundred men under him in the Roman military.

• Roman centurions were considered to be some of the best men of Rome. They were really the backbone of the Roman army. They were often older, hardened soldiers who had been involved in much bloodshed and cruelty.

But the Bible says that Jesus was amazed at this man. Why?

• Notice Luke 7:9 – Notice the words “So great faith.” Jesus was amazed at this man's “So Great Faith.” We all know that people were amazed at Jesus. That's the consistent testimony

of the Bible.

• People were amazed and astonished at our Lord's power over diseases and demons and death.

1. In Matthew 8 – When Jesus calmed the powerful winds of the sea, His disciples said, “What kind of man is this that even the winds and waves obey Him.”

2. In Matthew 9 – When Jesus cast the demon out of a man, the people said, “Nothing like this was ever seen in Israel.”

3. In Matthew 15 – We are told that great multitudes came to Jesus and brought with them those who were lame and cripple and blind and dumb and many others and when He healed them, “the whole multitude were amazed.”

It's not surprising that people were amazed at Jesus, because Jesus is God! But it is shocking that Jesus was amazed by a mere man...But He was and I want you to meet this man.

Read the Passage

What was it that amazed Jesus about this man?

• His...what? His faith. His amazing faith.

• Would your faith amaze Jesus?

60

Frankly, when you think about it, it's amazing that Jesus would be amazed at anything.

Several times Jesus said, “Your faith has made you whole”, but He never described any other person's faith as “so great faith.”

There were times that He rebuked His disciples and said, “O, ye of little faith.”

• On one occasion the disciples asked Jesus to increase their faith.

• But several times Jesus had to say, “O, faithless and perverse generation.”

Only twice did Jesus say He was “Amazed” in relation to faith.

In Mark 6 Jesus went back to His hometown of Nazareth to teach and to heal, but He could do no mighty works there because of their unbelief and Mark 6:6 says that He marveled – was amazed – at their unbelief, there faithlessness; their LACK of faith. He is Amazed at the LARGENESS of this man's faith.

In our church services we use to include a “testimony time.” Someone would stand and share their testimony of when they were saved or some special blessing from the Lord.

• Testimonies are to be both heard AND seen. A person's outward character ought to match up with their profession.

• The testimony of lip and life should correspond exactly.

Look at the testimony concerning this centurion:

I. The Testimony TO the Centurion

Luke's account differs from Matthew's account. Luke says the centurion sent some Jews to approach Jesus, whereas Matthew says the centurion approached Jesus. There is no contradiction: both accounts are true. It was the centurion's request, but it was delivered through some Jewish elders. An executive might say, “I told them to cancel that order,” when in reality he told them through his secretary and she actually made the phone call.

This centurion had been a Gentile pagan, but like other Gentiles there was an emptiness in his life. Through daily contact with the Jewish people, he began to learn something of the true God and his heart was stirred.

• No doubt he had walked up to that barrier in the temple at Jerusalem that prohibited Gentiles from proceeding further into the temple. He understood the distinction between Jew and Gentile, and he knew he could not go into the holy place within the temple. That may be the reason he didn't approach the Lord himself, but sent some Jewish elders with his request.

• This centurion was given high marks by the Jewish elders.

• There's an old proverb that says, “It's better to die with a good name, than to live with a bad one.” This man had a good name among those around him. – They said to Jesus, “If there is anyone who deserves that you do something for them, it is this man.”

Why did they respect him so highly?

61

In that day most Jews hated Gentiles and Gentiles despised Jews. They rarely had anything good to say about each other and had nothing to do with each other. But in this case, the Jews loved this centurion and he loved them. They had great respect for one another.

A. He was an Honest Man

These Jews were under no obligation to help the centurion, and would not have if they did not trust and respect his.

He had a good reputation among them that he was an honest man and he was always fair with people of the other races and religions.

B. He was a Generous Man

He loved the Jewish nation and he backed up his love for the Jews in Capernaum by building their synagogue there. Not that he paid for it himself, but he commanded his soldiers to work to build it. Jesus Himself had taught there.

C. He was a Kind Man – 7:2

He cared deeply for his slave who was sick. The word “dear” means honored, precious, prized.

- In the society of that day, a slave was nothing, only a tool or a thing to be used as the owner

wished. He had no right whatsoever, not even the right to life.

- An owner could mistreat and kill a slave without having to give an account. But this soldier

loved his slave. He really cared for this slave. He personally looked after the slave.

- Matthew points out that he was a child-slave and that he had the palsy. That means he was

completely helpless and useless to the centurion.. He was disable and could not work, yet the

centurion took care of him.

- No wonder both Jesus and the Jews were impressed with this man. What testimony from the

Jews who usually hated centurions.

II. The Testimony OF the Centurion 7:4-5, 7

A. He Demonstrated Humility

Others said, “He is worthy,” but he said “I am not worthy” – either to go to Jesus myself or to have Him come under my roof.

- The centurion did not say, “My servant is not worthy to have you come”; but he said, “I am

NOT worthy.”

- Romans 12:3 “Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought.”

- James 4:10 “Humble yourself in the sight of the Lord and He shall lift you up.”

What is humility? It is the absence of vanity or arrogance.

This man measured his worth against the absolute standard, the Lord Jesus.

62

Why did he say, “I am a man under authority?”

- He understood that authority is not one-way; it is a two-way street. Only those who are

under authority can truly exercise authority over others.

- This centurion had a captain, the commander of his cohort, to whom he was responsible.

- He recognized that Jesus was someone who was under authority. While Jesus was on earth,

He voluntarily humbled Himself and submitted Himself to the Father, although they were

co-equal and co-external.

- He also recognized Jesus had authority over sickness and disease, so all he had to do was

speak a word – give an order – and it would happen.

- He saw himself as a private being visited by the Chief of Staff.

B. He Demonstrated Faith

The essence of faith is to believe God without seeing any evidence. He said, “I believe you can heal my servant. Just say the word.”

- Unbelief says, “I'll believe it when I see it.” Amazing faith says, “I believe it whether I see it

or not.”

- This centurion had such amazing faith that he didn't need Jesus to come and lay hands on his

servant or to pray over him, but to just say the word even from a distance and he would be

whole.

What is faith?

- The Bible answers that question in Hebrews 11:1-3.

- Faith is believing God even if we don't see any evidence. It is being sure and certain about

that for which we have no evidence.

- That's what salvation and Heaven is all about. I've never personally met anyone who trusted

Jesus, believed He forgave their sin, redeemed them, died and went to Heaven and came back

to tell me about it, but I believe it – without evidence.

- I've invested my life in telling folks.

The centurion illustrated perfectly what faith is – Hebrews 11:6.

- It is believing that Christ IS – That all power belongs to our Sovereign Lord.

- It is believing that Christ is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.

Notice that the servant was healed as the result of someone else's faith.

- It was vicarious faith – one person's faith is used for the benefit of someone else.

- Like the man borne of four. When Jesus saw THEIR faith – the four men's faith – He forgave

and healed the man.

- “Preacher, do you mean if I have a friend or family member who needs the power of God

released in their life that God will honor my faith as I pray for them?” Absolutely!

III. The Testimony To the Nation of Israel

63

Matthew's Gospel points out something that Luke's does not – Matthew 8:11-13

Two things are pointed out:

1. The kingdom will include Gentiles who place their faith in Jesus.

2. Some Jews who ought by right to enjoy the kingdom will be cast into outer darkness because they did not have faith.

Let me remind you again of the power of the Lord to heal at a distance.

The Lord is in Heaven. We are on earth. Yet, He can save at a distance if we have faith in His authoritative, saving power!