Luke 7:1-10: The Faith of the Centurion
There is a lot of confusion around the idea of faith today. In our post-religious age faith is now a form of ungrounded optimism towards the future, a keep-your-chin-up sort of attitude that helps motivate you. Some see it as a self-development tool in a materialistic age. Since we have impoverished ourselves in an age of consumerism we need to have some spirituality, and any sort will do. Biblical faith is something different, Biblical faith is informed by the Bible, and it has an exclusive object—Christ. In the Scriptures we come across those who have no faith, those who have weak faith and those with great faith. Hebrews 11 gives us a great list of those who lived by faith. The portion that we are looking at today, Luke 7:1-10 is all about someone who had great faith. Luke deliberately puts on display the faith of the Centurion in a chapter where John the Baptist is showing uncertainty, v18-35. This is one of two places where Jesus is said to marvel at people’s response to Him v9. He marvelled at the Centurion’s faith, the other place is where He marvels at Jewish unbelief in Mark 6:6. Even though Christ does an amazing miracle, He heals the Centurion’s servant without sight of him or touching him, the mechanism of the healing is not explored or even recorded, the last two verses show no detail of how it was done; rather our focus is drawn by Luke to this man and His faith in Jesus. The Centurion’s faith is indeed great and a good study for us who are often weak in faith.
Before we get stuck in let me ask you, does it matter if you have a weak faith? It matters to God, in Matt. 6:18-20 Jesus rebukes those who are filled with anxiety and worry and do not trust God as their Father. In Matt. 8:23-27 Jesus rebukes His disciples when they feared for their lives in the storm though He was in the boat with them. God thinks that are faith is important enough to refine with difficult trials, 1 Pet. 1:6-7. A weak or strong faith determines how much you pray, how well you suffer, how much joy you experience in your salvation. Your faith in action puts on display to the world the God you believe in.
As we examine the Centurion’s faith we will look at how he expresses his faith in good works; at how he has a humble faith, and how he has a trusting faith.