Chapter # 7 Paragraph # 1 Study # 4
July 27, 2008
9 When Jesus heard these things, he marvelled at him, and turned him about, and said unto the people that followed him, I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel.
10 And they that were sent, returning to the house, found the servant whole that had been sick.
1901 ASV Translation:
9 And when Jesus heard these things, he marvelled at him, and turned and said unto the multitude that followed him, I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel.
10 And they that were sent, returning to the house, found the servant whole.
- I. They Found the Servant Whole.
- A. With this, Luke opens, what has become for us, a huge can of worms.
- 1. If Jesus would heal the Gentile (!) slave of a Gentile centurion on the basis of "such faith", why does He refuse so often these days to heal His own people?
- 2. Today the setting is much like it was then: the "people of God" are seriously afflicted with all manner of difficulties and their "prayers" go unanswered in the way they are formulated. In that setting, Jesus revealed a potent willingness to "heal" any who came to Him -- as the example of the centurion reveals [and this, in the face of the record of Mark 7:27 in its own context]. But, in Luke's recorded setting, Jesus was "looking" for a "faith" like that of the centurion, and had not found it. This means that all of His "healings" in Israel were done without that kind of faith. This fundamentally means that the hocus-pocus that is bandied about these days in all of the "faith-healing" heresies is just that -- heresies. "Faith" does not determine what God will do; rather, it allows its executor to "grow up" in his understanding of God as God does as He wills.
- B. The major component of our can of worms seems to be this: why does the Bible give great credence to the issue of faith ("without faith it is impossible to please Him") and, at the same time, maintain God's independence from its "absence"?
- 1. At the heart of the matter is one reality: God seeks "faith" from men. The question is, "Why?".
- a. The answer is not hard: without faith there can be no relationship(s) and, since relationship is the fundamental mechanism of "Life", that makes the issue of "faith" absolutely crucial.
- b. But, in the simplicity of that answer, there is an often overlooked fact: "faith" is not designed by God to give men a kind of "leverage" with Him to get their way. It is all about "relationship", but it is not about "loveless manipulation". Paul did not write that the only "thing" that accomplishes anything with God is "faith that is energized by love" (Galatians 5:6) for no good reason: Love is far and away more crucial that "faith". What is to be accomplished is far more important than how it is to be accomplished. Love determines this "what" and faith determines this "how".
- II. Jesus' Healing of the Slave.
- A. This action was not primarily to enable the "slave" to return to a good physical condition so that he could continue to live like he always had.
- B. This action was not primarily to enable the centurion to continue to possess his slave.
- C. This action was far more focused upon that which gave Luke the impetus to record the event at this point: its meaning is found in Jesus' use of the opportunity to make plain what Israel did not have. He did not say to no point that He had not found such faith in Israel. This fact -- that Israel did not have this kind of faith -- is enormously significant. One has to ask, "Why?". And the answer is not hard to find: Israel was too in "love" with itself to be bothered about being so in Love with God as to be concerned about His plans. Faith does not come without a driving "love".