And when Jesus was entered into Capernaum, there came unto Him a centurion, beseeching Him, And saying, Lord, my servant lieth at home sick of the palsy, grievously tormented. And Jesus saith unto him, I will come and heal him. The centurion answered and said, Lord, I am not worthy that Thou shouldest come under my roof: but speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed. For I am a man under authority, having soldiers under me, and I say to this man, Go, and he goeth, and to another, Come, and he cometh, and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it.
When Jesus heard it, He marvelled, and said to them that followed, Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no not in Israel.
And Jesus said unto the centurion, Go thy way: and as thou hast believed, so be it done unto thee. And his servant was healed in the selfsame hour.
So, what is” Faith “? In a big old dictionary we have, it says, “Trust, confidence, belief, reliance, and a personal realization of the truth of divine revelation”.
The centurion who came to Jesus for help had obviously heard of His healings and other miracles. Perhaps he had enquired, or even witnessed one or more of these events. But I would say that his faith in our Lord’s ability to heal also came from an understanding of Jesus Christ’s authority in this matter. For why else would he explain that it was not necessary for the Lord to go to his home, – because he knew that if Jesus said his servant would be healed, then it would be so. And his own rank of authority had made this plain unto him. He did not need convincing – he had already decided that this amazing ‘Rabbi’ could and would indeed heal and applying his own understanding to the situation meant that his faith in the Lord was whole.
In today’s world I would surmise that there is very little faith, and that explains why very few miraculous healings take place. “And He said unto him, Arise, go thy way: thy faith hath made thee whole.”
(Luke 17:5-6) “And the apostles said unto the Lord, Increase our faith. And the Lord said. If ye had faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye might say unto this sycamore tree, be thou plucked up by the root, and be thou planted in the sea, and it should obey you. ” (Luke 17:5-6)
You would think that it should be easy for all of us who believe in Jesus Christ as Our Lord and Saviour, and that He is indeed the Son of Almighty God, to have unshakeable faith in our Saviour. But there is something that often holds us back and that is ‘doubt’! Not doubt that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, no, but that although all these amazing events and miracles took place in Biblical times, they couldn’t really happen now could they? I mean, the Lord God has seemed to have been absent from world events for a long time now…!
Even if we don’t think such thoughts openly in our minds, it is probable that they are there in our subconscious. I remember an episode of a science fiction series, where four men were in a situation that would involve them being shot and killed. The situation was actually an illusion, but because it all seemed very real they knew that unless they were 100% sure they could not be killed by illusionary bullets they would be. Even the slightest doubt would be enough to kill them.
Throughout this covid pandemic we have wondered why our leaders here in Britain have not organised a day of prayer (and repentance), as took place during the two world wars. I read that the Church of England has not sanctioned such an event because the Bishops are concerned that if we did so – nothing may happen, and it would put people off becoming Christians…!
Such is their faith….! “But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came. The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the Lord. But he saith unto them, Except I shall see in His hands the print of the nails and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into His side, I will not believe. And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you. Then saith He to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold My hands, and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into My side: and be not faithless, but believing. And Thomas answered and said unto Him, My Lord and my God. Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen Me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.” (John 20:14-29)
Thomas needed to see that it was really Jesus that had risen from the dead and returned to speak with, and share fellowship with His disciples. Perhaps this was because he needed to understand the situation, even though I am quite sure that his faith and trust in the Lord before the crucifixion was strong.
We have to remember that after Jesus was crucified and had died, it would have been a tremendous shock to the disciples for initially they did not understand what was to happen.
Our dear Lord explained many things to His disciples after His resurrection, and so their faith was multiplied greatly, and even more so when the Spirit of Truth came upon them after He was taken up to Heaven. But for us in these current times it is an easy matter for people to think that the Lord has forsaken His people, and just gone away, for we have come so far from His Ways, and His Laws – and without this “oil of understanding”, the gulf between us could be considered wider than at any other time.
In Deuteronomy chapter 32:20 we read, “And He said, I will hide My face from them I will see what their end shall be: for they are a very froward generation, children in whom is no faith.” Looking in Strong’s we see that the word ‘froward’ (tshpukah) means ‘perversity’ or ‘fraud’, or ‘perverse thing’. It is from a root, ‘haphak’ which is to turn about or over, tumble, turn aside etc. And that pretty much describes many today – including, I am sorry to say, the Church.
So, it is a very pertinent question that Our Lord asks in Luke chapter 18:8, “Nevertheless when the Son of Man cometh, shall He find faith on the earth?”