Faith Outside the Box

Written by Cindy Music

The Faith of the Centurion Matthew 8:5-13

When Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to him, asking for help. “Lord,” he said, “my servant lies at home paralyzed, suffering terribly.” Jesus said to him, “Shall I come and heal him?” The centurion replied, “Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and that one, ‘Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.”

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. I say to you that many will come from the east and the west, and will take their places 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.”

Then Jesus said to the centurion, “Go! Let it be done just as you believed it would.” And his servant was healed at that moment.

Why was Jesus amazed with the Centurion’s faith and so disappointed with the faith of those in Israel?

Let’s look at Israel first. The Jewish people, especially the leaders, didn’t accept Jesus as the Messiah. They missed all the signs in prophecy, the miracles, and his teachings that pointed to him being God’s Son. They had their own thoughts and expectations of what the Messiah would be like. How he would save them from the Romans. How he would be a political leader. They had created a “box” to put the Son of God in. By doing this, they limited him to their own worldly knowledge and experiences. When Jesus didn’t rise to the political occasion and save them from Roman rule, they turned on him. They looked for reasons to disqualify him as the Messiah in prophecy. They closed their eyes to the miracles he performed and closed their ears to his teachings. They wasted the time they had with Jesus, when they could have been experiencing all God had for them. Hmmm, sometimes we can all be a little like Israel.

The Centurion’s faith was different. That day when the Centurion asked Jesus to heal his servant, he knew what Jesus could do. Even though he had power and authority over hundreds of men, he recognized Jesus as someone who spoke with authority and a power that were not of this earthly realm. He recognized that his own power and authority were limited, and he could do nothing to save his servant. The Centurion knew he was not liked by Jewish people, but he put aside his pride. He came that day with a humble heart expecting Jesus to speak and his servant to be healed. The Centurion knew that day he had nothing to lose but everything to gain by having faith outside of the “box.”

What would it look like to have faith that goes beyond what our minds can dream? We are limited in our knowledge and experiences because we only have what we see around us. What if we look outside of our “boxes” and believe that Jesus can do so much more than what we can fathom? The only box God lives in is the one we put him in. We limit what we believe he can and will do based on our small amount of knowledge. He is so much more. He can do so much more. He doesn’t want us to limit him or limit our faith in what he will do.

Dream big and live with a faith that is even bigger. Go outside the box and expect Jesus to work as only he can. What have you got to lose?