And Jesus said unto the centurion, “Go your way; and as you have believed, so be it done unto you.” And his servant was healed in the selfsame hour. Matthew 8:13
I’m on a quest to understand what faith really looks like. And hopefully, during that quest, not only will I understand it and demonstrate it more deeply, but my prayer is that maybe this will help someone else to understand more deeply. Well, maybe deeply isn’t the right word. But is there a word like more “really”?
So, this may take a long time. Because I want to go back to Your Word, Lord, and look at the examples You have pointed out to us. Sometimes I want to look in the New Testament and sometimes I want to look in the Old Testament. Because I believe that faith is faith and that Your concept of faith in action has never changed. And whatever You consider as faith is my guideline.
Now, today in Matthew’s account, Jesus has just healed a leper. And Jesus, You, never mention to that leper anything about faith. Now I don’t know if that means that his healing had nothing to do with faith, but everything to do with Your power and love. I mean, even evil people receive good things. The sun rises over everyone. Everyone is blessed somehow under the umbrella of Your blessings whether they are Yours or not. But I’m not really looking at him today, because I don’t know why.
But I know that when You spoke to the Centurion You saw faith and You commended it before everyone. So what did You see? What did faith look like? Can a person have faith and it not be visible?
So here is this centurion, a leader of one hundred men in the Roman army. And even though Romans and Jews didn’t usually highly esteem each other, here he is, waiting for You and calling You to come alongside him.
You come alongside and You listen. He shares of his sick servant whom he obviously cares about. So, of course we know that He wants You to heal him. And You tell him You will go to the servant and heal him. That’s what he wanted, right? But the centurion throws in a shocker. “No, You don’t need to do that. I know what it means to have authority. ” But if you go back and read his words, I think he saw and meant so much more.
The centurion shared how he had authority over other men. All he had to say was, “Do this,” and they would, “Go,” and they would go, or “Come,” and they would come. So what’s the big deal in him sharing this “epiphany”? Why would Jesus say “Wow! I’m telling you I have not found such great faith in all of Israel as this guy has right now!” (my paraphrase)?
Think about it. Was the centurion asking Jesus to send another man for him to touch his servant? No. How would the healing take place? Jesus would command something. What did the centurion believe Jesus had authority over? “Disease, leave.” Could Jesus really speak to disease, or to the atoms of a body, or to spirits, or just to the essence of anything and make it obey? Could Jesus control things without even being there in it’s presence? Well, I don’t know about You, but for me this is getting really deep and powerful.
This centurion knew that Jesus’ power was more than physical. It went beyond His physical presence being necessary. He knew that Jesus’ words and His thoughts were all that was needed.
And Jesus, You sit this man in the future seat with those of faith, with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Then You tell him, “Go your way; and as you have believed, so be it done unto you.” And his servant was healed that same hour, that same time. What does it mean to “go your way?” I think the next verses define that for me.
I think that the centurion had already made a decision about You and about who You were and what You were capable of. I think the fact that he was waiting for You, that he had figured out where You were going so he could meet You on that path, means a lot. He wasn’t just following You with the crowd. He was determining where Your next move would be. He was looking for what direction You were headed in and he was determined to meet You there. And that’s the beginning of commendable, real faith.
So he had already started his way on heading Your way. He was already conforming his way to match up with Yours. Therefore, when You tell him to “Go your way,” it was like You were telling him to keep following You and conforming to Your way like he was already starting to do. That makes sense when I take the next part of the verse in context with that idea.
“Go your way, continue conforming your way to Mine, AND” what will follow? “Go your way, continue to conform your way to Mine, and as You believe, it will come to pass.” Now is that exciting or what?!!! So maybe the leper had a little faith in Your power to heal him but because that was all he was looking for, that’s all he got, a one time deal. But here’s a man who saw more in You than just someone who could heal his servant. And isn’t it exciting to know that You will demonstrate Yourself to us in proportion to what we believe?
If I believe little, if I expect little, I will receive and I will see little. How do you see what you aren’t even taking time to look for or expect? But here is a man who understood You were the Authority over everything. You were his authority, because he even admitted he didn’t deserve to come before You. And You were the authority over his servant who had never met You. And You were the authority over whatever it was that was causing the illness in his servant. He had determined all this in his heart and more about You and he was acting upon it.
Go back, read the story for yourself. Think about what it really means when translated into a real life, making real decisions, and deciding what to do with Jesus. Then we need to ask ourselves, “What about me? Do I know Jesus well enough that I am conforming my life, my path, my ways to His way? Is my faith deeper than what He can do for me? Is my faith deep enough to realize who He is and the magnitude of His authority over everything? Have I realized the lowliness of my own stature next to Him?
Well, here I am at a creative ministries conference, the Fellowship of Christian Magicians conference, and I am truly humbled, because there are all these clowns, magicians, balloonists, face painters, etc., who are seasoned professionals and here I am. And I’m praying that the Lord will line me up with the ones who’ll prepare me for the path He is leading me on. I feel really small right now. But thankfully, these professionals love the Lord, and are here to disciple me and others just like Jesus does.
So, I’m here, because I believe that Jesus is in the process of doing much, even while I can’t see it. And I’ve decided to conform my life to what He has for me, be it strange to some. But I’m looking forward to His promise to fulfill according to what I’ve believed. Which means for me, that He can turn a latex balloon into a Gospel outreach, and He can turn a no-rate clown into a vessel to overflow the love and message of God, and He can take an illusion and touch someone’s heart to know Him and serve Him and love Him more.
But maybe faith isn’t your strongpoint. Well, maybe the first thing is taking that uncomfortable first step to conform Your ways and ideas with His instead of what you’ve always been doing. The more you step out into the uncomfortable realm of faith, the more comfortable it becomes. Well, then at that point He moves us to the next, new uncomfortable level. But I wonder if our comfort zones aren’t more like “dead zones” sometimes. Just a thought.
Lord, I want to live by faith, real faith. I don’t know if there is such a thing as fake faith, but I do know that we can think we have faith, but it doesn’t look anything like faith that You commend. I want to conform my way to Your way. I want to believe in all that You are and live according to that belief. It doesn’t mean I’ll always have You down pat because no one can fit You into a box where we can perfectly describe You. But the more we commit our ways to You and our time to You the more You reveal Yourself to us. So, continually build my faith. And as I act in faith, let it be done to me according to what I believe. So every day, let me continually believe more and more!