Sermon

Luke 7:1-10

Noticeable Faith

By Joseph Robb

A couple weeks ago, some friends of mine called and asked if they could talk to me about my experiences with my two open heart surgeries. I agreed and we met.

Their questions centered on their circumstances and any similarities there might be to the circumstances I had when I had my surgeries.

One of these friends had been told they needed open heart surgery immediately, and they were wondering about places, surgeons, and the nature of the choices.

As we continued discussing their circumstances, it became apparent they really wanted to know about the wisdom of a “SECOND OPINION.”

When I read today’s text, I thought back to this discussion.

In today’s text, a valued Centurion’s servant was on the verge of death. AND, like my friends, the Centurion was talking to his close friends about options and choices.

Like my friends, he was hoping to find some answer to saving his valued servant’s life.

Among the Centurion’s friends were some Jewish elders; and they told him about the things they had heard about Jesus of Nazareth who happened to be in town.

In fact, he was the “talk of the town” among the Jews that day.

This Centurion was not a Jew, and so he knew he wasn’t qualified to ask this Jesus for his help … yet … he thought, after listening to his friends, that it was worth a try … if he could get this Jesus …. to come to his house … to work his miracles on  his “valued servant.”

So, the Centurion asks his friends, the Jewish elders, if they will go and see if they can get this JESUS to come and heal his servant.

When we’re in trouble … and desperate … we try the new things people tell us about … that we believe will have the results we are hoping for.

Sometimes they work … sometimes they don’t … but, when we’re desperate enough we “just have to take the chance” … it’s like … “what do we have to lose!”

I mean … this Centurion loved his servant so much … he just had to try his friend’s recommendation … even though he had no other knowledge of Jesus’ miracles than what this group of friends had told him.

You wonder if the Centurion didn’t have some second thoughts after his friends went off to seek Jesus to come to his house.

• They had told him that Jesus was a Jew … and he was not.

• He knew the Jewish Laws forbid this Jesus from coming into his house.

• He respected his Jewish friends and their traditions …

• He had even helped them build their synagogue …

• So … was it appropriate to ask this Jew to come into his house … and in so doing … in effect ask him … whom he didn’t even know … to break the cherished Jewish Laws?

He couldn’t do that … so he followed his first group of Jewish friends with another group of friends … with another message:

• This message demonstrated his respect for who Jesus was–and

• It changed the nature of his request of Jesus –

• Rather than asking him to come to his house to perform the miracle

• If he would just perform his miracle in the way “he … the centurion” performed his duties … using his “authority” his “powers of command” … Jesus would not have to break any laws of his people.

• That action on the part of the Centurion really impressed and amazed Jesus.

People had come to Jesus in crowds, pushing in on him to JUST TOUCH, him or some part of his garment.

No one had ever before:

• Shown such great respect

• Nor demonstrated as much faith in his powers as to suggest that his powers might extend beyond the visible or physical.

• The Centurion, in fact, had related Jesus’ powers to what they actually were: authority!!!

• God’s authority … right here on earth … as it was in heaven!

Does that sound familiar?

• On earth as it is in heaven?

• Repeat it with me: “Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, Thy Kingdom come, they will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”

Is it any wonder that Jesus was amazed?

Not in all Israel … not from any Jew … had he ever heard such a profession of faith.

• Jesus’ whole ministry was designed to lead people to know and experience the hallowedness of God’s name, and the POWER of his Kingdom …

• Not only  in heaven …

• But right here on earth … as well.

And, it was a non-Jew … who “GOT IT!!!”

What about us?

Do we have it?

Do we know the POWER of GOD … right here … on earth?

That’s what Jesus’ ministry: his -sermons, his actions, his miracles … was about …

• Demonstrating …to all … the very power … of the prayer he taught the disciples … when they asked him to teach them how to pray.

• Jesus taught about relationships.

• He brought calm to harrowing situations in people’s lives.

• He brought healing to people’s broken and fractured lives.

• He taught nurturing of the human spirit.

• He showed the breadth of the love of God throughout all creation.

And only the Centurion “caught” how grand and powerful the authority of God was in Jesus to bring healing to the world.

Yes, perhaps the Centurion’s thoughts and wisdom were not quite this deep and extensive … but … Jesus saw in the Centurion’s compassion for him … and his Jewish friends … a love of God that passes all human understanding … the work of the Spirit of God.

Let us reflect on that simple act of faith, and ask ourselves how we might employ it in our daily lives allowing god’s spirit to fill us daily?

We all have moments and places of authority.

Do we allow Jesus the power … to use those moments … our moments … for God’s purposes … through the Holy Spirit … to bring glory to our “Father” who wishes to walk … through us … on earth … as well … as in heaven?

Amen!

Scripture quotations are from the World English Bible.

Copyright 2013, Joseph Robb.  Used by permission.