What Amazed Jesus
“When Jesus heard this, he was amazed at [the centurion], and turning to the crowd following him, he said, ‘I tell you, I have not found such great faith even in Israel.’” (Luke 7:9 NIV)
What do you think it would take to amaze Jesus? After all, through him the world and all humanity were created in the first place. He has forever existed in heaven itself. While on earth, was there anything that impressed him to the point of exclaiming, “That’s really something! Wow!” Never in any chapter of the four Gospels was Jesus astounded by anybody’s righteousness. After all, he was entirely pure and holy himself. Never was he impressed with anyone’s wisdom or education. Never did he say, “Boy, Matthew sure is smart, isn’t he? I really picked out a financial genius there.”
But he was amazed by one thing: people’s faith.
When he told the Roman centurion he would go to his house to heal his servant, and the centurion said not to bother but just to speak the word of healing, Jesus “was amazed at him, and turning to the crowd following him, he said, ‘I tell you, I have not found such great faith even in Israel’” (Luke 7:9). The Jewish listeners probably didn’t appreciate being outclassed by this Roman, but that is the way it happened, regardless.
When another “foreigner,” a Canaanite woman, came pleading on behalf of her demon-possessed daughter and wouldn’t take no for an answer, Jesus exclaimed at last, “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted” (Matthew 15:28).
On the other hand, when he went back to his hometown of Nazareth, where he had grown up, “he could not do any miracles there, except lay his hands on a few sick people and heal them. And he was amazed at their lack of faith” (Mark 6:5-6). You can be sure that no sickness was too extreme, no demon too powerful for the Son of the living God. But on that particular day in Nazareth, his hands were tied by their unbelief. In fact, he laid down this statement as a first principle: “According to your faith will it be done to you” (Matthew 9:29).
We can’t twist the story theologically by saying, “Well, maybe it wasn’t God’s will for him to heal those folks in Nazareth.” The text gives no indication of that. It clearly says the Son of God was limited that day.
Faith alone is the trigger that releases divine power. As Peter wrote, it is “through faith [that we] are shielded by God’s power” (1 Peter 1:5). Our trying, struggling, or promising won’t work—faith is what God is after. Faith is the key to our relationship with him.
-Pastor Cymbala (excerpted from Fresh Faith)