August 26, 2020
When Jesus heard this, He marveled and said to those who followed Him, "Truly, I tell you, with no one in Israel have I found such faith" (Matthew 8:10).
Faith is not passive, it is active or it is not faith. James said, What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, "Go in peace, be warmed and filled," without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead (James 2:14-17).
While it is true Jesus came to save the Jews (Matthew 15:24), it is also true that He came to seek and to save the lost regardless if Jew or Gentile. In this instance, the man who approached Jesus was a Gentile and a Roman officer. That Jesus would even respond to him indicates His desire to see all people come to faith in Him.
The faith of this Roman officer was exceptional. In the first place his priority of faith in Jesus was superior to his loyalty to Rome. Second, his humility before Jesus stood in stark contrast to the arrogance of most Roman officers. Third, his respect for Jesus’ authority is remarkable in comparison to the disrespect that came from the Scribes and Pharisees. Finally, he believed that all Jesus needed to do was speak the word and his servant would be healed. The fact that the servant was healed that very same hour is a testimony to the power and authority of Jesus, and the great faith of the Gentile Roman officer.
Far greater than the miracle of healing is the contrast between the faith of the Gentile and the faithlessness of the Jews. Jesus’ statement of the man’s great faith does not indicate the quantity of his faith, but the quality of his faith.
Jesus is looking for the same expression of faith in Him today. In many instances the ‘faith’ that some have in Jesus is no faith at all; it is a mental belief in the facts of Scripture without the corresponding behavior that is to follow. Again, James tells us that faith without works is dead (2:17), it is of no value; it certainly can’t save anyone.
“Father in heaven, thank You for this example of great faith in Jesus that a man who would have otherwise been excluded from Your Kingdom would enter into Your Kingdom even before the miracle of healing took place. May my faith increase in such quality that all I desire from You in faith will reflect the faith of his Gentile soldier. To Your honor and praise I ask, Amen.”