Chapter # 7 Paragraph # 1 Study # 4
July 27, 2008
Lincolnton, N.C.

<452> Thesis: Faith is not about manipulation; it is about acceptance. Introduction: When we last considered Luke's record of Jesus' words and actions, we were considering His declaration that there was something considerably unique about the centurion's "faith". In that study we raised the question of just what it was that was so unique. Jesus said that He had not found "such faith" in Israel. But just what was it that made it unique? The text emphasizes the centurion's "humility", but that was not unknown to Jesus in His dealings with Israel. The text also emphasizes the centurion's focus upon "authority", but we saw that Jesus used that issue as the bottom line in His introduction of Himself to Israel. The only issue in the text that is not in any of the texts about Jesus' dealings with Israel is the centurion's awareness that "proximity" is not a requisite for Jesus' actions. When we combine this fact with Jesus' declaration that He had not found such faith in Israel, we have only this to conclude: for the centurion Jesus' essential "authority" is real. This is the core element of the "faith" that Jesus had not found in Israel. The demons know that Jesus' own authority is real for they cannot disobey Him. The physical universe knows that Jesus' authority is real for it cannot resist Him. It is only the so-called "people of God" who do not seem to understand that Jesus' authority is real -- for they disobey Him on a regular basis and then complain when their experiences do not line up with their expectations. Jesus described the reality of God and His Kingdom in His "down from the mountain" sermon. In that description, He commanded a host of "behaviors" that are in line with the character of God. But, in Israel, He had not found any sense that His commands were fundamentally authoritative. The centurion, not saddled with all of the baggage of the "bargaining" mentality of the Jews (7:4), knew the difference between the Jews' "proximity" dependent "authority" and the Romans' "absolute", "independent-from-presence", "authority". This morning we are going to look at this record at least one more time. We are going to consider the statement, "...they found the slave in good health." Why did Luke record this? What does it mean for us?