“We come nearest to the great when we are great in humility.”
-- Rabindranath Tagore
By Alex P. Vidal
NEW YORK CITY -- To whom was Jesus referring when he declared in Matthew 8:10: “I tell you the truth. I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith?”
It must have been one of his disciples.
Or maybe someone whom he had just healed of the horrible and disfiguring disease, surmised the authors of Saints and Scoundrels of the Bible.
“Or what about the adulterous woman he saved from stoning, or the Samaritan woman he spoke with at the well?” the authors asked further.
While Jesus did heal and help many and had many faithful Jewish disciples, he was not referring to any of those folks in the statement, asserted authors Linda Chaffee Taylor, Carol Chaffee Fielding, and Drenda Thomas Richards.
Jesus was actually speaking about the Roman centurion.
He and this Roman army leader were separated by race, money, language, and social position, yet the centurion did not allow these differences to act as barriers.
The centurion--a powerful man with means to get any help he needed--came to Jesus for help.
That’s the first big “wow.”
The centurion was on a mission to get aid for his servant and he knew Jesus was the only man who could help him.
“Lord…my servant lies at home paralyzed and in terrible suffering” (8:6).
When Jesus offered to go and heal the servant, the centurion humbly replied, “Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed” (8:8).
Jesus was astounded by the man’s answer.
Now, it’s hard to believe that anything could stun and wow Jesus, but the Bible states it plainly: “When Jesus heard this, he was astonished (8:10).
He had never seen anyone in all of Israel with as much faith as the one Roman soldier.
That’s a second “wow.”
How could a Roman--a man hated by the Jews because his country oppressed and controlled them--have so much faith in Christ?
This despised Gentile’s faith put the Jewish religious leaders to shame.
In fact, they were missing out on God’s blessings because of their total lack of trust.
They wouldn’t believe Jesus really was who he said he was.
How many miracles would it have taken for them to get the point?
The Jews should have known the Messiah would come for everyone of all races, but they were too wrapped by in their own self-importance.
Jesus wasn’t impressed with the self-righteous hoopla of the religious leaders.
It took the simple faith of a humble man to really wow him.