I Accepted Him - Why Do I Need to Follow Him?
Matthew 8:5-13 The Faith of the Centurion
Why do I believe?
The reason why people believe is different from person to person. Some people think because they a led to believe that it will bring end less wealth to them on earth. That is not a reason that will create the faith that we need. This belief will lead to many let downs and heartache in your life. You will always be going if I just had this everything would be easier, or I would be able to do this if I had this. This type of faith isn't the faith that the centurion had. The centurion had the faith of I will go where I am called to without question. He talks about how he gives orders to soldiers and servants, and they do with out question. Jesus knows that this is the man's nature and that he does the same. The centurion has referred to Jesus as Lord and viewed him like it. It shows that the centurion believes in Jesus and that he believes Jesus has the power to help him. The centurion refused to have Jesus come to his house because he didn't deserve that and he knew that Jesus could just say his servant would be healed and his servant would be well before the centurion returned. He knew in his heart that Jesus was his savior and that through Jesus could do anything.
Matthew 8 has a lot of miracles performed by Jesus in it. That means that there is a lot of faith in this chapter. Through the entire book, there is great faith shown. This passage though Jesus says something that he doesn't say in any other passage. He explains to his followers in Matthew 8:10 "When Jesus heard this, he was amazed and said to those following him, 'Truly I tell you, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith." It is a statement to his followers and the people of Isreal, and he goes on to explain in verse 11 and 12. "I will say to you that many will come from the east and the west, and will take their place at the feast with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. But the subjects of the kingdom will be thrown outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth."
He is talking about how people who accept Jesus and have great faith have a spot at the table even though they don't come from Israel. He is using this outsider from the Roman army as a prime example of what a servant of Jesus looks like in that he will do as he is told. He is throwing out what people learned from the Pharisees and saying that following the law of the Pharisees is not enough. He wants a full commitment to his teaching and his truth. He isn't wanting people that will only come to him when things are going wrong or only praise him when things are going well. He wants followers that are always wanting to be with him and are willing to listen to him. These are the type of people that will ask, but know that no matter the outcome that God has a bigger plan. Later in Matthew 8: 18-22 Jesus talks about the cost of following him. He doesn't want people that feel as if they need to look out for themselves first or say they will, but there is something they need to do first. Jesus wants people that will quietly follow and won't look for glory from people. It is these people that have this type of faith that isn't afraid of the storms in their life. They give off a sense of calm even when it seems like their world should be falling apart. That is because these are people that did not store their possessions on earth but in Heaven. They know that whatever may happen that God is in control of their situation and that whatever happens, it will make them stronger in their faith. They know that He will calm the storm. That is why they believe, not because they will get something out of it, but that the storm will pass and that they will be stronger than before. They are praising God through all the trials of life caring for the needs of others before their own.
Luke 9:23-24 says this "Then he said to them all: 'Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it." It is this faith that we should strive to have in our daily lives. Not just in our church life, but in everything that we do and it should appear to people that this is how we are living. Our faith should be a solid foundation that our life is built upon and should show throughout it. I want a faith like this. No one is perfect or can truly always have this faith, but we should always be trying to have this faith and should never give up on it.