The Far Reaching Faith of a Centurion

Matthew 8:5-13

A man with no arms went to a guitar shop. He
grabs a guitar and asks the owner of the
establishment, “How much for this one?”

The owner replies, “$300. If you don’t mind me
asking, how are you going to use it?”

The man replies, “I’ll just play it by ear…”

If you were here before Easter and Palm Sunday you are
sure to remember that our sermon series was the Faith
of our Fathers. We spent several weeks discussing the
saints listed in the Hall of Faith found in Hebrews 11.

Today, we will transition from the OT to the NT.
For the next three weeks we will see that
faith is not just for the elite
Faith is for all who believe

For we are saved by God’s grace through faith, not by
works, so that man cannot boast.

Matthew 8:5-13

Oftentimes this passage is taught as a Miracle of Jesus
and that is, of course, correct, but if we focus too much
on the miracle we miss an unlikely hero, and fail to
recognize an incredible display of faith.

This morning we are going to examine the heart of this
Centurion culminating with his far reaching faith.

The Centurion Showed Compassion

This man was a leader of the Roman army. He may have
been over as many as 100 soldiers.
He was powerful, well respected and he had great
responsibility.
He also had personal servants.
Many masters treated their slaves badly and didn’t care
about them. You can tell by reading the text that this
man cared deeply for his servant.

He implored Jesus to heal him because he was at home
paralyzed fearfully tormented. This was not for his own
benefit, he showed compassion by asking Christ to heal
him. This centurion had a heart of compassion. He saw
his servant as a person not a worthless piece of property.
He genuinely cared for him.

The Centurion Showed Humility

As I mentioned moments ago, this centurion was a
Roman, which means he was a Gentile.

We know that Jews and Gentiles didn’t fraternize with
one another. So, for Jesus to invite Himself to a Gentile’s
house was a big deal.
The centurion says, “Lord, I am not worthy for You to
come under my roof…” v.8
The word translated worthy is the same word John the
Baptist used when he said he was not worthy to untie the
sandals of Jesus.
It’s a display of humility.
Although he was a man of power and position. He knew
he was nothing in comparison to Jesus.

The Centurion Recognized Jesus’ Authority

The Centurion was a man of authority.
He mentioned that he could tell someone to come and
they would come, he could tell someone to go and they
would go, and that he could tell someone what to do and
they would do it.
He HAD his own authority.
But it only went so far. He had authority over men, not
over disease or illness.
And thus he recognized Jesus’ authority.
Let’s take a brief moment to consider the authority that
Christ has.
Remember, Jesus is God in the flesh.
He was with God in the beginning.
God made everything that was made.
And He did it by speaking.

Jesus showed that power when He calmed the storm on
the sea of Galilee. With His voice He made the wind and
waves cease.

Jesus showed authority over demons when He cast them
out of people throughout His ministry.
Remember the time He told the demons to go into the
pigs and had them run off the cliff?

Jesus has authority over death. He raised Lazarus from
the dead and He Himself defeated death when He rose
from the grave on that very first Easter Sunday!

Jesus had authority because He is God in the flesh.
The Centurion recognized Jesus’ authority, that’s why he
implored Him to heal his servant.

The Centurion Showed Great Faith

The last part of v.8 is where we see the giant faith of the
Centurion. He says to Jesus “just say the word, and my
servant will be healed.”

He knows that there is power in the words of Jesus.
We know that when God says something it is done
because we have His word and we have studied it and
know that everything God says He does.
This Centurion did not have an Authorized copy of the
King James translation of the Bible. He had FAITH that
Jesus could and would do the impossible!!

He had the assurance of things hoped for and the
conviction of things unseen.
He believed that Jesus was able and willing to heal his
servant.

Oh to have the faith of this Centurion!

Jesus marveled at his faith
Listen to His words in v.10 “Truly I say to you, I have not
found such great faith with anyone in Israel.”

What a compliment for this Gentile
His faith surpassed even that of the Pharisees and others
from God’s chosen people.

Then Jesus speaks about the great harvest of Gentiles
that will come from the ends of the earth. People from
everywhere who show faith in Him will be feasting at the
table with Christ and the OT saints like Abraham, Isaac
and Jacob.

But here’s the downside.
There are many who think that just because they were
born in the right country they have a place at the table.
The sad truth is that only those who have faith in God
through Christ will be saved.
Many will say to me Lord, Lord but I will say to them,
depart from Me, I never knew you.

It’s the same today.
There are many who claim to be Christians, but do not
believe that Jesus is the Son of God.
There are many who attend church, but do not have a
relationship with Christ.
Those who reject Christ will be forever separated from
him in Hell where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth.
This should break our hearts to hear that there are many
who profess to be Christians but don’t truly know Him.

So, how should we respond?

APPLICATION

Increase our Faith – I know, you are probably thinking
I’m off base here, because the Bible tells us that we only
need the faith of a mustard seed. Hear me out though.

What if we had the faith like Joshua to pray to God and
ask Him to ask the sun to stand still?

What if we had the faith of a Centurion to ask Jesus to
heal a servant who is not even with him?

What if we had the faith to say to this mountain move,
and actually believed that God would move it?

I’m not really talking about increasing the size of our
faith, but rather the belief that our God is big enough to
do things far greater than we can even think of or
imagine.
God is bigger than our box that we try to put Him in.
Do we really think He can do the impossible?

Share our Faith – the last command Jesus gave His
disciples was to go and make disciples of all nations
baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son
and the Holy Spirit, teaching to obey all of His
commands.

This is our command as well. We must do all we can to
share this Good News with those who do not believe.

The truth is clear.
Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.
There is no other way to God but through Him.

We have to take every opportunity to share the truth
with those who will listen to us.

Who will you share your faith with this week?