Thursday, February 12, 2015

Amazing Faith

Pastor’s notes for 15 Feb 2015
Last week’s WHAM verse of the week was:  When Jesus heard this, he marveled and said to those who followed him, “Truly, I tell you, with no one in Israel have I found such faith. (Matt 8:10). Do read Matthew 8:5-13 for the context if you have not done so.
I mentioned this passage in passing in my sermon last month on the humanity of Jesus and how he was able to be surprised.  But it is actually more than surprised. The Greek word “thaumazo” translated “marvelled” has the meaning of wonder, admiration, AMAZEMENT.
Ponder for a moment. This pagan centurion had faith that was able to actually amaze the Son of God. (This is an example of how the word “amazing” should be used!) Compare the centurions understanding of prayer and faith in comparison to what we see prevalent in ancient times and even in the church today.
1.      He understood the concept of authority and extended his understanding to the true and complete authority of Jesus and his relationship with God.

The centurion understood that he only had authority (as a centurion) because he was willing to be under the proper authority.

Even Jesus lived under the authority of the Father and because of that had real authority. The centurion understood this.

There cannot be amazing faith when the authority of the Bible is challenged.  Nor when the authority of church leaders or our won authority is higher than authority than of Jesus.

2.      He did not have any pre-conceived (“superstitious”) expectations as to how the healing had to be achieved. All he required was that Jesus’ speak the word.  And only when Jesus assented to this request did he exercise faith.

There cannot be amazing faith when we depend more on techniques to force faith rather than depend on God’s sovereignty. Nor when we jump the gun and proclaim authoritatively “healing” (or whatever the matter may be) in the name (and authority of Jesus) before God has actually agreed to our prayer request.

“Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”  (Matt 6:9-10)

We can only have faith when Jesus has actually assented to our request and it has to be in the will of God.

3.      His whole demeanour was one of humility – from his request to his acknowledgement of Jesus’ granting his request.

There cannot be amazing faith when our demeanour is that of arrogance rather than  humility.   

 “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.” (Luke 22:42) 

 “You will drink my cup, but to sit at my right hand and at my left is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared by my Father.” (Matt 20:23-24)

When Jesus prayed or granted a request, it had to be in accordance to the will of God the Father.

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