Faith of Jesus Daily Devotional - Day 32
Matthew:8:5-13 The Faith of the Centurion
Previous Context: devotion:Matthew:8:1-4 The Man With Leprosy
Our context yesterday asked the question why in God's creation is there disease in the first place. We answered it by considering that God's mercy toward salvation is behind the fact that the sentence of immediate death was not executed at the very moment of man's fall, that disease is an evidence of that sentence being temporarily held back while at the same time the all important element balancing Tree of Life being absent. It is a hefty consideration no doubt that will carry on into the next several devotions.
What is God doing?
The confirmations continue from the Father following the obediences of Jesus, this time in the healing of a Roman Centurion's servant. Jesus by these confirmations is being proven to be the "Promised One". What Jesus sees the Father do that He is doing.
Through Jesus, the Father is leading mankind step by step through to a crucial understanding about man's nature, man's predicament, God's only but great provision. Note that in this man we are not yet talking about a true saving faith, merely a notion based upon what he has already seen and heard about regarding the apparent healing power of Jesus that if anyone could heal his servant it would be Jesus.
The promise of Messiah we should recall was made to all mankind back at the start being that there was no such thing as a Jew for quite sometime after the promise/prophecy was made. It is just that God chose a particular people later down the road in which to establish the crucial law and the prophets through. Israel was made by HIM to be the injection point of the Messiah just as the upper arm is chosen and first prepared to be the injection point of the Tuberculoses inoculation. The vaccine enters at that point, but the entire body reacts to it. Jesus Himself states that He has come first to the chosen; in this short three year ministry they will be His primary (nearly exclusive) focus.
What is man doing?
The point of Jesus of identifying the Gentile soldier's peculiar faith is more to the point of the Jews' lack of faith than it is does his; his is being made example of for the Jews. There is also the concern identified by the Roman that being a Gentile that he is not worthy of the Jewish Messiah's personal visitation to the house, he is sensitive to the cultural/ethnic expectations of others that might be involved and attempting in his mind to work out a way that some sort of healing might still be possible.
Amongst the many ways our understanding of divine healing is corrupted is the notion that it is actually the faith of the man healing the servant; that somehow Jesus is merely a facilitator of drawing the good faith out from the man. Or that the healing power is innate to the universe and that Jesus is tapping men back into it. Or that the strength of one's faith and determination makes it persuasive to God to grant a healing. Then there is the majority position already alluded to that Jesus is not actually healing anything, some sort of a trick is being played; there are too many things Jesus is doing that we don't agree with for this to be the hand of God performing/confirming this. All of the various directions that we would rather take the secrets of healing are indeed corrupt in various ways.
So you see that in the Father's continuing/developing effort to walk man through all of this, HE is using this one man's peculiar faith to stir up all this whirlwind of corrupted notion and self made rationalization surrounding it. It is particularly poinient being that the Jews believe themselves to already have God's teaching on healing and thus Messiah understood, but no they obviously don't.
What does this passage tell us about the about the commands and faith of Jesus that saints are to keep/guard?
We are often described as the "ye of little faith". "If we only had faith the size of a mustard seed" it is echoed. We "do not receive because" we "do not ask". "Faith the type to move this mountain". Think at how many ways we believers seek to corrupt this biblical information from it's true intention and meaning. Do we even know where the true meaning is left to be found at this point? Yet we are to be keeping and guarding that true meaning as saints just the same. How can one keep and guard what they do not know because much of what they do know has in some form been corrupted?
Yesterday we also considered the problem of the possibility of one being healed from a disease (an evidence of the sentence of death mercifully withheld for now for the chance of receiving God's provided salvation) only to reject the greater salvation still being under the full weight of the sentence themselves. We know nothing of the servant's eventual believing unto salvation nor this Centurion's. We only know of ours brought upon us by the hearing and acceptance of legal testimony such as this.
I will hold off making fuller consideration of the role of an individual's faith in the process of healing until we get more testimony in this Gospel. There will be plenty of it still coming!
Next: devotion:Matthew:8:14-17 Jesus Heals Many