Who is Jesus?
March 13, 2022 / Luke 7:1-10
Col 1:15-20, Rev 19:11-16
The Centurion’s “Great Faith” (Luke 7:1-10)
1 After he had finished all his sayings in the hearing of the people, he entered Capernaum. 2 Now a centurion had a servant who was sick and at the point of death, who was highly valued by him. 3 When the centurion heard about Jesus, he sent to him elders of the Jews, asking him to come and heal his servant. 4 And when they came to Jesus, they pleaded with him earnestly, saying, “He is worthy to have you do this for him, 5 for he loves our nation, and he is the one who built us our synagogue.” 6 And Jesus went with them. When he was not far from the house, the centurion sent friends, saying to him, “Lord, do not trouble yourself, for I am not worthy to have you come under my roof. 7 Therefore I did not presume to come to you. But say the word, and let my servant be healed. 8 For I too am a man set under authority, with soldiers under me: and I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes; and to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” 9 When Jesus heard these things, he marveled at him, and turning to the crowd that followed him, said, “I tell you, not even in Israel have I found such faith.” 10 And when those who had been sent returned to the house, they found the servant well. – Luke 7:1-10
Jesus’ reaction to the Centurion’s statement is remarkable. So, what is it about this interaction that leads Jesus to say He has not found anyone else with such great faith? In order to understand this better, it helps to know some context about the Roman military…
If a Roman soldier disobeyed an order from his direct superior – no matter his rank – he was not charged with defying his superior, but rather, with defying Caesar himself. By referencing his own status as an officer of the Roman military, what this Centurion is really saying to Jesus is this: “In the same way that I wield the very power and authority of Caesar to those placed under me, you wield the very power and authority of God Himself. And since nothing in creation is outside of God’s authority, you have power over disease and death. Not only that, but time and space aren’t constraints to you, so you don’t even need to come to my servant, but merely say the word from wherever you are and I know that he will be healed”.
Jesus commends him as having great faith, not because of what he believed Jesus could do, but because his faith in what Jesus could do was based on his recognition of who Jesus is.
Charles Spurgeon had this to say about the faith of the Centurion:
“Beloved, see whether this truth bears us as on eagle’s wings. Caesar has but to say, “Absolve te,” and his guilty subject is acquitted, Caesar has but to speak, and a province is conquered, an army routed. Stormy seas are navigated at Caesar’s bidding, mountains are tunneled, the whole world shall be girded with military roads, Caesar is absolute, and his will is law. So on earth, but so much more in heaven. Let the imperial Caesar of heaven but say, “I forgive,” and the devils of hell cannot accuse you. Let Him say, “I will help you,” and who shall oppose? If Emmanuel be for you, who shall be against you? Let Him speak, and the bonds of sinful habit must fall off, and the darkness in which your soul has long been immured must give place to the instantaneous light. He reigns as King, Lord over all, let His name be blessed forever, let each one of us, by our faith, give Him the honor that is due unto His name. All hail! great Emperor, once slain, but now forever Lord of heaven and earth!” – Charles H. Spurgeon 3/15/1868
The Supremacy of Christ (Colossians 1)
15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 16 For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. 17 And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. 19 For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross. – Colossians 1:15-20
In the beginning, when God created the world, Jesus was there. When He spoke the words “Let there be light”, Jesus was there. When He said, “Let us create mankind in our image”, Jesus was there.
Proverbs 3:19-20 tells us:
By wisdom the Lord laid the Earth’s foundations, by understanding He set the heavens in place; by His knowledge the deeps were divided and the clouds let drop the dew.
This passage paints a clear picture that everything in creation was intelligently designed with intent and purpose. God didn’t just say “Let there be light”, then see a bunch of stars show up in the universe and say “Yeah, that looks pretty cool; let’s go with that”, as if He was presently surprised with what showed up. Rather, God envisioned everything in His mind down to the greatest detail: every galaxy, every planet, every rock, every single atom and sub-atomic particle. Everything was created precisely how God designed it to be. And all of it was created by, through, and for, Jesus. He is the one who holds all of it together and He is the one who will reconcile all of it back to the perfect state in which it began.
The Lion of Judah (Revelation 19)
11 Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war. 12 His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on his head are many diadems, and he has a name written that no one knows but himself. 13 He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which he is called is The Word of God. 14 And the armies of heaven, arrayed in fine linen, white and pure, were following him on white horses. 15 From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron. He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty. 16 On his robe and on his thigh he has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords. – Revelation 19:11-16
Let us not become complacent by focusing only on the picture of Jesus as the suffering lamb. Make no mistake; the same Jesus who came first as the Lamb of God is also the conquering Lion of Judah. He will come again in all of His glory, and when He does, there will be no mistaking who He is. Every knee will bow and every tongue will confess.
When the author walks on to the stage the play is over. God is going to invade, all right: but what is the good of saying you are on His side then, when you see the whole natural universe melting away like a dream and something else – something it never entered your head to conceive – comes crashing in; something so beautiful to some of us and so terrible to others that none of us will have any choice left? For this time it will be God without disguise; something so overwhelming that it will strike either irresistible love or irresistible horror into every creature. It will be too late then to choose your side. There is no use saying you choose to lie down when it has become impossible to stand up. That will not be the time for choosing; it will be the time when we discover which side we really have chosen, whether we realized it before or not. Now, today, this moment, is our chance to choose the right side. God is holding back to give us that chance. It will not last forever. We must take it or leave it.”
C.S. Lewis – Mere Christianity