The Character of Jesus 18

Healing the Centurion’s Servant

Matthew 8:5 – 13, Luke 7:1 – 10

  • Characteristic:  Seeking faithful spirits
    • Concerning the parallel accounts:
      • Matthew: the centurion appears to ask personally.  Luke: Jewish representatives were sent by the centurion.  So, Luke is more exact.  Matthew attributed to the centurion the message he sent by Jewish emissaries.
      • A large crowd (after the Sermon on the Mount) was following and observed this scene.
    • (Luke 7:3 – 8)  Jesus recognized true faith: humble, selfless, and demonstrating understanding.
      • Jewish people in general were taught to be arrogant, especially towards Gentiles.
      • Jewish people in general were taught that the works of the Law yielded personal benefits, rather than national benefits.
      • As demonstrated by the several ways that Jesus defeated the positions of the scribes and Pharisees with very straightforward logic, the Jewish system had become largely irrational.
    • (Luke 7:9)  Jesus was seeking faith, as indicated by “found.”
      • As previously announced by Jesus, His stated goal was to reach the lost sheep of Israel (Matthew 10:5 – 6, 15:24).
      • But, many of these lost sheep had no interest in God.  More accurately, Jesus sought those with fledgling faith that could be developed.
      • Jesus’ purpose was not centered on delivering “the truth,” although what He said was true.  Jesus was not focused on baptism, although His disciples were baptizing (John 3:22 – 23, 4:1 – 2).  Rather, He emphasized consistency, rational thinking, and evidence.
    • (Luke 7:9)  Jesus marveled
      • Jesus could not read thoughts all the time.
      • Jesus did not know the future.
      • Jesus was not hesitant to comment on remarkable faith.
  • Applications:
    • In general, what are the characteristics of those identified by churches as having faith?
      • Are church-goers more arrogant or more humble?
      • Do church-goers identify more with “going to heaven” or with helping others?
      • Are doctrines simple or complex?
    • Whom do we seek?  What types of lost people do we target most?
      • Do we appeal with consistency, logic, and evidence, or do we feed the self-centered?
      • Do we teach obedience or consistency?
    • Do we express our appreciation of remarkable faith?
      • Do we remark on surprisingly simple conclusions?
      • What makes fledgling faith remarkable?