There are a couple of stories in the new testament that talk about people who have great faith. The one we are going to look at together is in Matthew 8:5-13 (NIV):
The Faith of the Centurion
“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.”
What can we learn from this story about what it means to have “great faith”? Lets try and identify a few things.
First off, the Centurion recognizes the authority of Jesus. He calls Jesus “Lord”. This man is a Gentile. He has a lot of authority himself. He is looked up to and respected. He has been entrusted as a leader. But he still has humility. The Centurion realizes that healing his servant is beyond his capacity. It is beyond his authority. He recognizes that he must appeal to an authority much higher than his own. Great faith makes decisions based on what God is capable of, not what man is capable of! Is this how we make our decisions? Do we trust in God’s authority? Do we trust in the authority of His Word?
Secondly, the Centurion was bold in his faith. He came to Jesus. Is Jesus the first person we come to when we have a problem? The Centurion came to Jesus and asked for help. He didn’t allow his own fears, “what if’s,” or doubts to hinder him from coming to Jesus. He just came because he trusted that Jesus was capable of healing his servant. He had great faith! Boldness is a characteristic of Great Faith! Do we allow our fears and doubts to stifle our faith?
Thirdly, the Centurion exhibited humility. We see that he sought out help, which in and of itself is an act of humility. He is also seeking that help on behalf of another person which tells us that he puts others before himself. Also, in verse 8 he says to Jesus, “Lord I do not deserve to have you come under my roof”, which implies his humble spirit as well. In James 4:6, James quotes Proverbs 3:34 saying, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble”. This is a theme that comes up over and over again in the New Testament. Great Faith consists of Humility!
There are many great examples of great faith in the Bible. Hebrews 11 outlines many characters throughout the Bible who exhibited great faith. Many, if not all, of these people were faced with tremendous trials in their relationship with God and each one overcame by having great faith in God and his authority.
My encouragement to you is to make sure that you are focused on God and what He can do. He has authority over all things. Too often we get bogged down in our fear and doubts, thinking about all the obstacles that stand in our way. We must think beyond the physical and material. We must think beyond what we can control and what we have authority over ourselves. We must humble ourselves, and boldly trust in the authority and power of Jesus and what He is capable of! He can do what He says He can do, and He will do what He says He will do!