Friday 31 July 2015

Bible Book:

“When Jesus heard this he was amazed at him, and turning to the crowd that followed him, he said, ‘I tell you, not even in Israel have I found such faith.’” (v. 9)

Luke 7:1-10 Friday 31 July 2015

Psalm: Psalm 54


The writer now moves on from a collection of teachings andsayings to a collection of actions and healings. The Gospel writerswere not, in the main, interested in relating the life of Jesus inthe right order. They often grouped various events together inorder to make clear what they believed mattered most about him.

Here the reader is offered some contrasting thoughts about howJews and Gentiles were viewed. The Jews are seen as the people ofGod, who might be said to deserve God's grace and miracles, whileGentiles are always outsiders and sometimes second-class at best.So the elders list the virtues (verses 4-5) that mean thisparticular outsider is deserving even though 'not one of us'.

Maybe this account belongs here to underline what Jesus has beenteaching about the relationship with God, and the obedience whichsprings from faith. The very different view of the centurion isprofoundly emphasised by the detail of the report of what hesaid.

There are at least two fascinating and unusual aspects of thisparticular healing. The first is that Jesus is "amazed". It is muchmore usual for a gospel writer to attribute knowledge andunderstanding to Jesus, often beyond what might be expected. Doesthe amazement indicate that Jesus too expected less from theoutsiders? Or might it be that the reader is invited to join Jesusin delighting at such faith?

The other is that there is no mention of Jesus speaking any wordof healing, and no suggestion of the quite common phrase "yourfaith has saved/healed you" (eg Luke7:50; Mark 10:52). There is not even the word ofcommand that the centurion apparently asked for. Often at the endof a healing story, the reader will be told that the people were'amazed', but here the writer offers a very different picture,which includes the outsider who really understands.

To Ponder

  • What parts of your own faith journey would you like to offer to'amaze' God?
  • Consider reflecting for a while on God's possibleresponse.
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