This is the only person the scriptures say amazed Jesus in a positive way. People amazed Jesus in a negative way with their unbelief, or lack of faith. We know Jesus constantly amazed people with his teaching and, of course, with miracles. Jesus is God and should be amazing, but this is the only time someone amazed Jesus positively. I have to ask myself, would I amaze Jesus positively?

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE CHAPTER 7

by Delbert Young

The Man Who Amazed Jesus (Luke 7:1-10)

The Man Who Amazed Jesus

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The Man who Amazed Jesus – Luke 7:1-10

Scriptures: Luke 7:1-10; Matthew 8:10-13

I want to ask a question as we begin today. When you think of “faith” what do you think? Is faith a muscle you develop to where you believe strong enough to accomplish something for yourself or others? Is faith, mental ascension believing hard enough to move a mountain? When you operate in faith, how do you do it? Have you ever, with all your might, believed, releasing every ounce of faith you had, but what you believed to happen didn’t – a relationship, marriage, finances, healing? Is faith useless? Have you ever questioned, “Is my faith broken?” Today we will talk about a man who amazed Jesus with his faith.

Luke 7:9 When Jesus heard this, HE 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.”

This is the only person the scriptures say amazed Jesus in a positive way. People amazed him in a negative way with their unbelief (Mark 6:6), or lack of faith. We know Jesus constantly amazed people with his teaching and, of course, with miracles (Luke 4:22, 32; 5:26; 8:25; 9:43; 11:14). Jesus is God and should be amazing, but this is the only time someone amazed Jesus positively. I have to ask myself, would I amaze Jesus positively? Would you? What would Jesus say about your faith? What kind of a person amazes Jesus? A Rabbi, a Scribe, a Pharisee, Sadducee, a Priest, Jew, right? No.

Luke 7:1-3 When Jesus had finished saying all this in the hearing of the people, he entered Capernaum. There a CENTURION’S SERVANT, whom his master valued highly, was SICK AND ABOUT TO DIE. The CENTURION HEARD OF JESUS and sent some ELDERS OF THE JEWS to him, asking him to come and heal his servant.

The one person who amazed Jesus positively was a gentile Roman centurion. He wasn’t even a Jew, wasn’t religiously trained, never met Jesus, and never taught about faith. That’s already amazing and should be if it amazed Jesus.

The sick servant was a slave – a possession. Slaves had no rights and were the bottom of society. We begin learning about this man whose faith amazed Jesus. He cared for the less fortunate.

This servant was deathly sick. Sickness and death are not God’s plan. God created man and woman to live healthily forever. We, mankind, brought sickness and death into the world through sin, not God. Yet, we somehow blame God when someone is not healed and dies. Most of us have been where this centurion was. Someone we cared deeply about was very sick and about to die. The doctors did all they could. Everyone did all they could. It looked bleak.

Today, I want you to emotionally go back to that place. Rehearse how you felt when someone you loved was deathly sick. It’s the most horrific experience you or I go through. Agony and pain are in their body. You can’t stop it. You can’t do anything to help other than love and make certain everything is done that can be done. You’re numbed, feel useless. Relive that place and time with me today.

Those times are the most “feeling useless” times I experience as a man of God. People look at me. Their eyes say, “Do something!” I want too. I can’t. I think, “You know I can’t, right? Please know I can’t.” Today, you be this Roman centurion. For a few minutes, be there with someone you love who’s sick and about to die. You heard about Jesus. If you could only get Jesus to……

I think about my own sister battling cancer. She’s battled cancer half her life and I can’t stop it. She’s been on chemo for decades. She’s suffered through numerous surgeries. On several occasions it didn’t look good for her. She calls me. Every time she says, “Pray for me.” When someone asks you to pray for them what are they saying? “Get Jesus to come to me. Please, please go get Jesus for me.” My Sister’s given up her womanhood to live. At this place in time, she goes through chemo every week. Judy and I went to see her after her last major bout. She was so weak, pale, and fighting for life. Fighting to live! Fighting to be with her two children! Fighting to be with her husband! Fighting to be with her granddaughter! I’ve heard of Jesus healing people. One thing I can do is do everything I can to get Jesus to my sister. So, I call her. We talk and before she hangs up, I’ll pray for her. I, like this centurion, ask Jesus to come.

centurion was a captain of 100 men (you see our word “century” in his title). Centurions were battle-tested, non-commissioned officers, captains, who came up through the ranks. He earned his position. In those days most combat was hand-to-hand. This centurion was a soldier trained to kill, probably had killed. This guy was tough and hard – a man’s man, the best of the best. He was combat-proven, faithful, and obedient to orders, loyal, brave, strong, and courageous.

Interestingly, every time the scriptures speak of a centurion, they do it with much respect. Often men will think Jesus is only for women and children. Men are wired for and consumed with combat and conquering. Often Jesus isn’t portrayed in a manly light though Jesus is the Conqueror of all kings.

Not only was this centurion tough, he was successful. He was wealthy, respected, powerful, and affluent. I want us to see this centurion was a real man who most likely could take any of us out, but he needed and called out to Jesus. A time comes when everyone will need Jesus for their self or for a loved one. So, where’s your faith?

Rome, the military world power, occupied the land of Israel. Rome positioned centurion posts in the cities to suppress Jewish insurrection and insure the collection of taxes. The Romans were hated by the Jews for those reasons, but not this centurion. He was obviously a man of wisdom with tremendous leadership skills. This centurion was an amazing man in his character, his manhood, and his integrity. He was a, if not the, most powerful man in Capernaum and admired peculiarly by the Jews.

Luke 7:3-5 The centurion heard of Jesus and sent some elders of the Jews to him, asking him to come and heal his servant. When they came to Jesus, they PLEADED EARNESTLY with him, “THIS MAN DESERVES TO HAVE YOU DO THIS, because he loves our nation and has built our synagogue.”

Those elders of the Jews admired the centurion, but they didn’t like Jesus. It was in Capernaum where Jesus upset Jewish Pharisees, PhD’s, and elders healing a paralytic by forgiving him of his sins (Mar 2). It was in Capernaum where Jesus upset everyone calling Matthew Levi, a tax collector (publican), to follow him and went to a great banquet given by Matthew Levi for Jesus who then ate with more tax collectors and sinners. These elders of the Jews didn’t like Jesus, but found themselves in a precarious position and pleaded earnestly with him.Literally they begged Jesus. If they pleaded earnestly obviously Jesus wasn’t very anxious about going. No one could get them to beg Jesus for anything, but this centurion did. That’s amazing too.

Interestingly, they said Jesus owed this centurion. “He deserves to have you do this.” “He loves our nation and has built our synagogue.” The centurion was also very generous. He built their synagogue. Remains of the synagogue are there today. Capernaum is gone, but remains of this synagogue and Peter’s house are there. Jesus preached in that synagogue (4:31) where he exercised a demon from a man on the Sabbath. Another reason these elders did not like Jesus.

They said the centurion “deserves to have you do this.” They listed all his works and good deeds.To them, before God will do anything for us, we must “bedeserving of.” Let me tell you something. I don’t want what I deserve from God. Religious people keep score. If you sin, you’ve got to do penance, be punished, let everyone know you sinned, do something to pay God back. However, if we “do good,” God owes us. God was obligated to this centurion. I see people think in this identical area. Someone else sins in their eyes. They need to be exposed and punished but when something goes amiss in their lives they think, “God you owe me. I did this and that. I deserve it.” You don’t want what you deserve and God doesn’t owe you anything. You can’t pay God back. Jesus already has. What you best ask for is grace and mercy. Don’t get mad with God thinking you deserve it. You might just get it.

Luke 7:6 So JESUS WENT with them…

Finally, Jesus went. The way I understand this section from Luke 6:12 to here is, Jesus was up all the night prior praying about and designating apostles. He then ministered to all those people healing and delivering (6:17-19). Next, he preached the Sermon on the Plain (6:20-49). He went into Capernaum with a crowd of people following him, likely heading for someplace to get some sleep, when Jewish elders come to him saying he should go to the centurion. It says,“So Jesus went…” My point is Jesus is never too tired or too busy to come to us. Jesus has time for you.

Luke 7:6-7 SO JESUS WENT with them. He was not far from the house when the centurion sent friends to say to him: “LORD, don’t trouble yourself, for I DO NOT DESERVE to have you come under my roof. THAT IS WHY I did not even consider myself worthy to come to you

Here’s what’s really good. This initially sounds inconsiderate. Jesus was nearly there, tired, and fulfilling a special request, but now told not to come to his house. The centurion sent word saying, “Lord, don’t trouble yourself…” Lord iskurios {koo’-ree-os} meaning supremacy; he to whom a person or thing belongs, about which he has power of deciding; a title of honor expressive of respect and reverence; this title is given to, God, the Messiah. Here is perhaps the most powerful person in Capernaum addressing Jesus as “Lord” – the one who has the power of deciding.

When we actually realize Jesus is Lord (kurios), it’s an epiphany. Hopefully, it’s happened to you. Remember Peter had an epiphany realizing Jesus was actually God, fell on his knees saying, “Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O LORD (kurios)” (Luk 5:8). Obviously, the centurion realized the same thing. “Don’t come to my house. I do not deserve you. Don’t look at me. You will see my filth.” The centurion didn’t say don’t come because of the Jewish teaching that a Jew going into a gentile’s house would be defiled. The Jewish elders were going too. The centurion recognized his sinful unworthiness, but he recognized way more than that. It wasn’t offensive to Jesus. Actually his saying “don’t come” tremendously impressed and ignited  the amazed Jesus.

Luke 7:6-9 for I DO NOT DESERVE to have you come under my roof. That is why I did not even consider myself worthy to come to you. BUT 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 AT HIM, and turning to the crowd following him, he said, “I tell you, I HAVE NOT FOUND SUCH GREAT FAITH EVEN IN ISRAEL.”

He said he didn’t deserve and wasn’t worthy of anything, but he knew this: if Jesus would speak it, it would happen. The centurion gave an amazing reasoning through an illustration that amazed Jesus causing him to say “Wow! You get it!” The centurion spent his life under authority. Those above him didn’t need to be there every moment to see if he was doing what instructed. He also had authority. He could give a word to soldiers, or a servant, and it happened. He didn’t need to be there for it to happen. He said, “I know how it works. You are Lord. You can say it and it will happen. You may not say it, but I know you can and if you do it will happen.”

Faith isn’t our getting what we want out of God. Faith is God getting what he wants out of us. Great faith is the epiphany Jesus is Lord of all. This is what amazed Jesus. We realize he is absolute authority of whatever happens. This centurion was not raised as a “covenant” person by heritage as were the Jews. He was raised as a Roman. He would not have come up in a home talking about, or singing about, the God of the Jews. He was not taught about a coming Messiah. He was not taught the commandments, sacrifices, and rituals of the Jews. He was raised Roman gentile with very different moral standards. It was not his theological training or moral training making the difference.

Why was this Roman gentile centurion able to release amazing faith while those trained to release amazing faith were not able? What was the obvious issue this man understood? The answer is authority. He wasn’t trained in the Jewish Law, but he was trained in military authority the primary teaching the military trains’ people to understand. His faith was not founded in the scriptures. His faith was founded in authority. This is amazing to me. Is it amazing to you?

I’ve based my faith on my knowledge of God’s word. I’ve thought faith was more a “formula” dependent upon my getting all the aspects correct in the equation – the variables, coefficients, operators, terms, expressions, constants, x’s, y’s, square roots, plus, minus, etc – prayer, study, giving, ministering, on and on my formula went. I made faith a complicated equation thinking if it didn’t happen, I missed putting something in my formula. The truth is this: if Jesus will speak it, it will happen, PERIOD. If he decides not to speak it, it won’t and I’ve got to be good with that too. Jesus is the one with all authority. He makes the calls. The centurion said, “…but say the word, and my servant will be healed.”“Just speak the command.”

Jesus hadn’t found that kind of faith in all of Israel implying he was looking for it, but those who should have it, didn’t. Is he looking for great faith today? If anyone should have faith it would be the people of Israel especially Rabbis, Scribes, Pharisees, Sadducees, Priests, Jews, etc. What was wrong with Israel? They were devoutly religious, but their religion was and is false faith. To them, Jesus didn’t have ultimate authority. Matthew recorded this event in his gospel. We get more interesting insight.

Matthew 8:10-13 When Jesus heard this, he was astonished and said to those following him, “I tell you the truth, 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.”

East of Israel were many gentiles and west of Israel were many gentiles. We live in the western hemisphere. Mostly gentiles live in the eastern hemisphere. Heaven will be and is filled with gentiles, but those in Israel, those subjects of the kingdom will be (and are) thrown into hell.

Correct faith is ultimately important. We must realize Jesus is Kurios – Lord of all. Faith isn’t a muscle we develop. Faith isn’t mental ascension believing hard enough to move a mountain. It’s not abundant scriptural knowledge. Faith isn’t our getting out of God what we want. It’s God getting out of us what he wants. Faith that amazes Jesus is when we realize he’s Lord of all. If he will speak the word it will happen. He is absolute authority.

Luke 7:10 Then the men who had been sent returned to the house and found the servant well.

How many of us feel we understand authority? I see a deficiency today when it comes to parents teaching their children authority. How difficult is it for you to say “Yes sir,” or “Yes ma’am” to someone younger than you, but with authority? If you have difficulty then you might probably have trouble with Jesus as you don’t understand authority. Can you see what the enemy is doing? If the enemy can remove our understanding of authority, he can remove our understanding of faith and we will never amaze Jesus. We will never have the faith Jesus is searching to find.

Other Related Sermons:

The Resurrection Proofed – Easter sermon video audio notes

Easter Nonsense – sermon video audio notes

I SEE GRACE pt 2 – Easter sermon video audio notes

Also see:

Sermons Change The World

Life Gate Church sermons by Delbert Young

http://www.jewfaq.org/women.htm