Great Faith

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Welcome once again to Meditation Moments. We’re so glad you’re with us this morning. We do pray earnestly that something from God’s Word, or something said in His Spirit, will be a blessing and help to you.

We’ve been talking to you in recent weeks about the different degrees in faith, and today we go to God’s Word to see what Jesus said about “great faith,” who has “great faith,” and what are the elements of “great faith.”

We deal today with only one instance where Christ spoke of great faith. This chapter is one of the most wonderful and inspiring in the Word of God. It’s one of my favorites and has been a great inspiration to me. You find it in Luke 7:1–10. We’ll study it as we go along, but it opens on this wise: “Now when Jesus had ended all his sayings in the audience of the people, he entered into Capernaum. And a certain centurion’s servant who was dear unto him was sick and ready to die. And when he heard of Jesus, he sent unto him the elders of the Jews, beseeching him that he would come and heal his servant.”

Now this chapter from God’s Word is precious because of one particular sentence, and we’re going to note what that sentence is in just a moment. You’ll note here that it says that “Jesus marveled.” It’s been hard for me to visualize the Lord of lords marveling at anything, but here it tells that this man’s faith was such that Jesus marveled at it. It was a great faith; Jesus said so.

Only twice does it say that Jesus marveled at anything. And while this time it was at great faith, the other time it was because of unbelief at His miracle-working powers.

If Jesus marveled at something, it’s worth our taking account of it and seeing why. The first wonder here is the man himself, the centurion, for he was a wonderful man. He was a Roman, not a Jew, a subject of the Imperial Caesar, and a citizen of Imperial Rome. In that place, a slave was just a chattel, simply a thing among their possessions.

Usually a centurion was pretty hard, a toughened soldier, cold of heart, but this centurion loved his slave. That’s one of the outstanding things in the first place, a marvel in itself. And the second wonder is that he should send the elders of the Jews to beseech Jesus to come and heal his slave, for the Jews hated the Romans because they were under great oppression from the Romans. But when he asked these elders of the Jews to carry this request to Jesus, they quickly went because they loved him. The centurion was a magnanimous man, and he had built the Jews a synagogue.

We don’t know how, but he had evidently come into the knowledge of God through Judaism, and had been big enough to overlook their bigotry and narrowness as well as their hatred of his own idolatrous nation. This was all very unusual, and Jesus in His omniscience saw it all, and the Scripture said Jesus went with him.

His heart went out to this man who loved a slave, who built a synagogue for the Jews, and who had faith enough in God to ask the Jews to beseech Jesus to come and heal his sick slave. So He turned about, Jesus the Christ, and went with these Jews toward the home of this Roman centurion.

I want to pause long enough to say that Jesus has the same compassion toward you and toward me. He is just as willing to come to you as He did to this man. He’s the same Savior, and He knows how unworthy you feel also, for that’s what the centurion said: “I am not worthy.”

Now to continue with the Scripture. “When he was now not far from the house, the centurion sent friends to him, saying unto him, Lord, trouble not thyself, for I am not worthy that thou should enter under my roof, wherefore neither thought I myself worthy to come unto thee, but say the word, and my servant shall be healed.” Here is the marvel of this verse to me, where it says, “But say the word.”

Now we continue reading, and from the Amplified Version, “For I also am a man daily subject to authority, with soldiers under me, and I say to this one go, and he goes, and to another one come, and he comes, and to my bondservant do this, and he does it. Now when Jesus heard this, he marveled at him and he turned and said to the crowd that followed him, I tell you, not even in all Israel have I found such great faith.” And when the messengers that had been sent returned to the house of the centurion, they found the bond slave who had been so very ill was thoroughly healed. God’s Word says, “and he was healed.”

To me the marvel of this man and this passage lies mostly in these words: “Speak the word only and my servant shall be healed.” Oh, such confidence in Christ’s word! That was quite enough for him, just Christ’s word. He said, “You don’t have to come under my roof. Jesus, You don’t have to come in the presence of my servant. Why, Your word has such authority, all You have to do is just speak the word, and it’s done.”

Oh, would to God that we had that confidence in the Word today! It’s the very same Word, it has the same power. Do you have this kind of faith in God’s Word? If you find a promise in your Bible that fits your need, then may I tell you, you have the authority to claim it, and finding it there, faith should take hold automatically, for “faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God” (Romans 10:17).

Is your faith such that you can say, “God has said it and it’s true. It’s so because God said so”? The centurion had great faith because he was standing only on the Word of God. It was just as if he said, “Lord, Thou hast unlimited power, so just speak the word and my servant will be healed.”

In the 107th Psalm we read, “He sent his word and healed them.”1 Oh, pin your faith on God’s Word! Millions have done so, and it has never failed them. We can have the same faith as the centurion, if we believe absolutely God’s Word, that it is the divine Word, the living God, and if we come also with the same humble attitude.

Great faith is always humble. God’s Word says, “Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God. Submit yourselves unto God. He giveth grace to the lowly. He resisteth the proud,”2 and many more such admonitions. It’s along this path of humility, lowliness of soul, that the King of glory rides in victory into your soul.

Here’s a wonderful verse: “To this man will I look, to him that is humble and of a contrite heart, and who trembleth at my word” (Isaiah 66:2). Perhaps this is why some have not had their answer to prayer, because Christ comes in where there is humility.

This is surely the reason some are not saved, because humility precedes salvation. If you’re too proud to pray the penitence prayer, “Lord, be merciful to me, a sinner,”3 and then truly repent of your sins and accept what the precious Word says, that if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.4 If we’re too proud to humble ourselves to say that, then we couldn’t be saved. Do you believe that? That’s God’s Word. God cannot lie.

If you confess your sin, He is faithful and just to forgive you your sins and cleanse you from all unrighteousness. If you believe the Word, then He does forgive you and cleanse you, doesn’t He? No matter how you feel. It isn’t how you feel about it—it’s what God’s Word says about it.

I like to follow that along every line of life—mentally, spiritually (spiritually most of all), and physically. It isn’t what I feel; it’s what God’s Word says when I take a promise, and I’m standing on that promise. I’m going to believe it against all contradictory circumstances and feelings. God speaks the Word, do you accept it? This is faith; this is how you get saved.

Jesus marveled. Jesus marveled. Amidst all the unbelief, how sweet was this voice of faith to Jesus, this voice when the centurion spoke thus. It was like a voice from heaven, as if the gates of heaven swung ajar for a little moment and let a strain of heavenly music through.

It can be the same for you. Tell Him that you believe His Word. Say it over and over again, “I do believe Thy Word. I do believe Thy Word. But speak the Word, Lord, and it shall be done.” And the unbelief in your heart will be muzzled.

What He wants is faith in His Word. This is what drew Him to the centurion, and the centurion’s servant was healed. Christ spoke the Word and it was done. The very same Savior says: “According to your faith, so shall it be done to you. All things are possible to him that believeth.”5

So this is great faith, when you can say, “Speak the word only, and it shall be done.” This is great faith.

Now that wonderful old song, “Sing them over again to me, wonderful words of life; let me more of their beauty see.” Oh, I love that old song. Sing it along as we play it and say the words, will you?

Sing them over again to me, wonderful words of life,
Let me more of their beauty see, wonderful words of life;
Words of life and beauty teach me faith and duty.
Beautiful words, wonderful words, wonderful words of life.

Christ, the blessed one, gives to all wonderful words of life;
Sinner, list to the loving call, wonderful words of life;
All so freely given, wooing us to heaven.
Oh, beautiful words, wonderful words, wonderful words of life.

[God’s words, wonderful words, the words of the living God that wonderful Bible gives you.]

Sweetly echo the Gospel call, wonderful words of life;
Offer pardon and peace to all, wonderful words of life;
Jesus, only Savior, sanctify for ever to us these wonderful words.
Wonderful words of life, beautiful words—God’s Word—wonderful words of life.6

Remember, God’s still on the throne and prayer changes things.

  1. Psalm 107:20.
  2. 1 Peter 5:6; James 4:7; Proverbs 3:34; 1 Peter 5:5.
  3. Luke 18:13.
  4. 1 John 1:9.
  5. Matthew 9:29; Mark 9:23.
  6. “Wonderful Words of Life,” by Phillip Bliss, 1874.