As we go through the normal routine of our everyday lives as Christians, we have people within our sphere of influence who are watching us. Our neighbors, coworkers and other people we come into contact with are eyewitnesses to our reactions to situations that come with everyday life. Our actions, words and even the looks on our faces tell them about our faith in this “Jesus” that we profess as our Savior, Healer and Friend. Our reaction to situations, both good and bad, may be the difference in whether or not they will even entertain the idea of learning about Jesus.
The story of the Faith of the Centurion (Luke 7:1-10) shows us how our reactions to situations may help someone in desperation to be “sure of what they hope for, and certain of what they can’t see” (Hebrews 11:1). This passage tells us about a man who had probably volunteered for service in the Roman Guard and had made it up the ranks to have somewhere between 80 to 100 men under his leadership. One of his most valued servants was very sick and if something miraculous didn’t happen quickly his servant would surely die.
Instead of calling on a physician, the centurion calls on some Jewish elders for help. He hoped that they would know where this “Jesus” was. But why would he be so interested in finding Jesus to help him in his desperation? After all, he had the authority, because of his position, to tell any of his men to go wherever he ordered them to get the help he so desperately needed. Instead, he calls on the Jewish elders and asks them to go get Jesus. What made him so sure that Jesus could, in fact, heal his servant?
I am sure that he had heard about the miracles that Jesus had been performing, but even more, maybe he had witnessed in the daily lives of these Jewish people and leaders their faith in Jesus. Maybe he had heard the way in which they spoke of Jesus, it could have been the look that he saw on their faces as they spoke of Him. Perhaps their actions spoke loud enough for him to be able to believe that Jesus was his only answer.
He trusted so much by what he had seen in them that he knew that all Jesus would have to do was to “say the word” and his servant would be healed. Jesus rewarded his faith and then turned to the crowd following Him to let them know what faith in Him can do, even for Gentile believers. We never know what our reactions to situations can do for those who are watching our faith in action. The light of Jesus needs to shine so bright in our lives that others can clearly see that Jesus is our only hope in what seems to be a dark situation.
As we devote ourselves to this Lenten season, I pray that we will do more than just deny ourselves of an earthly treasure for 40 days. May we look inwardly and search our hearts for anything that would block any of our view of seeing Jesus for everything that He is. Our God, the Most High God, our Master, Almighty and Everlasting. Our Provider, Healer, Banner and Sanctifier. The One who brings Peace, the Lord of Hosts, our Shepherd and our Righteousness.
Rev. Tony Lupton – Orangeburg First Church of the Nazarene – Orangeburg, SC