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  • Writer's pictureClovis AV

Newsletter 5/1/2024

When Jesus heard this, he was surprised and said to the people following him, "I tell you, I have never found anyone in Israel with faith like this. - Matthew 8:10

Jesus is awed by the faith of a Roman soldier and expresses His surprise at how much trust He places in the Lord. The context is that the centurion had a slave which was a Jew. The servant was extremely sick. The soldier tells Jesus about the man’s condition and immediately Christ sets Himself to go and heal the man. No questions asked. But the centurion puts a pause on the situation. He tells Jesus that there is no need to come into his house, he’s too unworthy to have God in the flesh step into his home. So he asks Jesus simply to speak the words, and the slave will be healed. He goes on to explain his reasoning. As a commander, he is both in authority and under authority. He knows that words have power. He is essentially explaining to Jesus that because He is the Lord, He has power to command things to be done and they get done. Just speak the word, and it is done. Wow. 

But while Jesus commends the Roman non-Jew for his rare faith, He lofts a subtle dig at the whole entire nation of Israel. His celebration of the centurion’s belief was also a condemnation of Jewish doubt and skepticism. In general, the chosen people were slow to go all in with Christ. They did not show up at His birth, they questioned His identity, some doubted the origin of His miracles, they fussed with Him about His teachings and religious observance, they tried to trap Him in His words. The once very popular wonder worker eventually fell out of public favor to the point where He was marginalized, arrested, and posted on a tree. No wonder Jesus couldn’t find faith like that of the soldier anywhere, and Jesus had no problem calling out the church. That stings.

But what would Jesus say about the church today? Would He find faith similar to that of the pagan centurion or the religious Israelites? Are we any more trusting of His power? Do we believe in His miracles? Do we trust Him to save us from our sins? Do we really believe in the argument of the resurrection? Are we willing to go all in with Jesus simply upon the strength of His words? Is the church as skeptical as the doubting world? Can Jesus find such faith among us today? I would hope so. I pray that I can have such inflexible trust in the authority of Jesus. I think it would be good for you to pray for that too. That you would have a confidence in the Lord that rises above the murky confusion about truth and questioning of God that pervades today’s culture. That you would have a living faith that is more than a static hope in religiosity or ritual. 

This Sabbath we’ll dig into The Life and Teachings of Jesus: Skeptics. Our study will lead us through Matthew chapters 8 & 9 where we will observe numerous accounts of Jesus' miracles and various skeptical reactions to Him. From these we will learn about the way of Jesus, the gospel, and how to grow a faith that will outlast doubt. See you this weekend! 

Pastor Dean 


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