December 15, 2009

A Great Faith

Luke 7:1-10

“I have not found such great faith even in Israel.”
Luke 7:9


While grocery shopping, I heard a little boy tell his mother that he deserved his favorite cereal with the action figure inside, and she must buy it. I wondered, “Where did he learn that word deserve?” Somewhere this child had learned that he was entitled to certain things and his parents were supposed to provide them.

The Roman centurion’s servant was sick, and this centurion had done some wonderful things for the Jews. So they said to Jesus, “This man deserves to have you do this, because he loves our nation and has built our synagogue.” Without commenting, Jesus went with them.

When we are under the illusion that we deserve something from Jesus, we miss the opportunity for the miracle that can happen in us. Soon Jesus received a message from the centurion himself, who didn’t talk in terms of what he deserved: “Lord … I do not deserve to have you come under my roof… But say the word, and my servant will be healed.” In response, Jesus praised this man’s great faith. He was pleased with the confident faith of a military man who loved his servant enough to believe Jesus could do a miracle of sheer mercy.

Faith in Jesus is found when we come to him with empty hands and an open heart rather than an attitude of deserving. What drives you to Jesus? “Deserving” has nothing to do with it.

Dear Jesus, drive us back to simple faith in you and your kingdom. Open our hearts to come to you for healing. In your name we pray. Amen.

About the author — Reginald Smith

Dr. Reginald Smith is senior pastor at Roosevelt Park Community Christian Reformed Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where he has served for seventeen years. He has also served as a pastor in Paterson, New Jersey. He and his wife, Sharon, have three daughters, Janelle, Katrina, and Mariah.

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