Chapter 1
Amazing the Almighty

Luke 7:1-10

We have seen so far in Luke that the Lord has done some amazing things. Doctors were amazed at the wisdom Jesus when He was a young boy.

Luke 2:46 And it came to pass, that after three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors, both hearing them, and asking them questions.

The people were amazed when He cast out a demon in a man at the synagogue.

Luke 4:36 And they were all amazed, and spake among themselves, saying, What a word is this! for with authority and power he commandeth the unclean spirits, and they come out.

People were also amazed when Jesus healed a lame man.

Luke 5:24 But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power upon earth to forgive sins, (he said unto the sick of the palsy,) I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy couch, and go into thine house.

Charles Gabriel expressed his amazement for the Lord Jesus Christ in a song he wrote.

I stand amazed in the presence

Of Jesus the Nazarene

And I wonder how He could love me,

A sinner condemned, unclean.

How marvelous, how wonderful

And my song shall ever be.

How marvelous, how wonderful

Is my Savior's love for me.

When you take a good look at the Lord Jesus Christ, He is truly amazing. There is no getting around it. What a wonderful man and Lord!

* Jesus Is Amazing

* I'm amazed at His Love, that He, who is the Altogether Lovely One, would love even those who pierced His gentle hands and feet with corroded iron spikes like a seamstress that punctures a pin cushion.

So great was His love that even in the final moments on the cross, as His blood flowed in crimson streams and puddled in ruby pool beneath the cross, He said, "Father forgive them for they know not what they do." Paul said, "But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8).

In His Love, beloved, He provides grace for our grief, mercy for our misbehavior, peace for our panic, and strength for our shakiness and lack of security.

* I'm amazed at His Longsuffering, that He continues to be patient with us when we are stubborn, rebellious, and unwilling to trust in Him. He puts up with the guff and garbage that we dish out toward Him when we become indifferent to the Scriptures, insensitive to His Spirit, insubordinate to His will, and irritated in our heart when living for Christ shakes our comfort zone and causes us to sacrifice.

* I'm amazed at the Life He lived, facing temptations and trials in every area that we face, yet, He did not sin at all. His heart and life were as pure and radiant as silver pearls. He was absolutely perfect and unselfish.

* I'm amazed at His Listening, that He is attentive to our prayers, even though there are times we don't give Him the time of day, and listen to Him when His Spirit is calling out to us. As the sun opens the curtains of the dawn each morning since the day the Lord spoke it into existence, the invitation of Christ is extended to us, "Call unto me and I will answer thee and show you great and mighty things thou knowest not (Jer. 33:3)."

* I'm amazed at His Learning. His wonderful wisdom is amply illustrated in what He has created, whether it is the human body, birds, bees, bacteria, bushes, the atom, the earth, or the stars of the heavens, they all have His marked stamped invisibly upon them. His creation does not read, "Made in the USA, or made in China." No, it reads "Made by the God of Heaven."

Paul told us, "For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: [17] And he is before all things, and by him all things consist (Colossians 1:16-17)."

What is even more amazing is that the Lord can be amazed by us. In this portion of Luke, we find a man that amazed the Lord. He amazed the Almighty. What in the world did he do to accomplish this response? Let's find out what He did so that our actions will follow his example.

I. The Condition of the Centurion's Servant—7:1-2

After Jesus taught the people that you can identify a person by the fruit of their actions, He entered the city of Capernaum. Of the 33 miracles performed by the Lord Jesus, eleven of them were done in Capernaum and only two were done for Gentiles. This is one of them. This passage marks a turning point in Luke's account of Jesus' ministry. Up until this point, Jesus has dealt exclusively with the Jews; here he begins to include the Gentiles.

We are informed that a Roman centurion had a servant that was dear to him that was extremely sick and at the point of death. This word "dear" is from the word entimos {en'-tee-mos} which means "to be held in honor, to be prized or precious." This slave was very special to him.

A centurion was a Roman soldier who was in charge of one hundred soldiers. He was not a wimp. He was a man's man. This centurion would be in charge of the Roman garrison in Capernaum. The Roman army occupied the land of Israel and had a number of garrisons of soldiers throughout the land to keep the occupied country under control. Even though they were men of rank and power, some of these centurions honored the Lord Jesus Christ. The centurion in our story did so. As we will see, he was a man of strength and beauty. He was a man of authority, yet, yielded to the authority of Christ. If you recall, another centurion confessed Christ at the cross.

Mark 15:39—And when the centurion, which stood over against him, saw that he so cried out, and gave up the ghost, he said, Truly this man was the Son of God.

The servant of the centurion was very sick. The word "servant" used in Matthew's account is the word pais {paheece} which means the slave or attendant was a child, possibly a teenager. Matthew 8 indicates this servant had palsy or was paralyzed. He had severe pain for he was grievously tormented and was at the point of death. His situation was very dire. He could feel the cold, clammy fingers of death beginning to squeeze the life out of him.

The attitude of love and concern of this soldier was quite unusual about his slave. In Roman law, a slave was defined as a living tool. He had no rights. In fact, a master could abuse him and even kill him if he chose to do so. A Roman writer on estate management recommended the farmer to examine his implements every year and to throw out those which were old and broken, and to do the same with his own slaves. Normally when a slave was past his ability to work, he was thrown out to die. The attitude of this centurion, however, was not like this at all.

II. The Call for Help and the Credentials of the Centurion—7:3-5

When the Roman officer heard of the Lord Jesus, he requested that the Lord come and heal his servant. He was not barking out orders or making demands. He was desperate for help and turned to the Great Physician to care for someone he loved. The Jewish elders that were sent on the mission to talk to Jesus went to the Lord with urgency and seriousness. They explained to Jesus this was a good man who was worthy to be helped. This was the view of his friends, but not the view of the centurion himself.

These elders shared with the Lord his credentials. Even though he was a Roman, he loved the Jewish people, and had faith in the Lord. He even built them a synagogue for worship. He was a highly respected man. Centurions' salaries were much higher than those of their troops, but for this centurion to have built the local synagogue represented a great financial sacrifice.

III. The Consciousness of the Centurion—7:6-7a

Jesus responded immediately to the request of the centurion. As the Lord approaches the house of the Roman officer, He is met by another delegation of people who are delivering another message to Him from the centurion. The officer tells Jesus that he is not worthy to entertain the Lord in his home. He felt unworthy to be in the presence of Jesus. I believe he was conscious of his own sin and the greatness of the Lord Jesus Christ. Augustine's comment on these remarkable words is good: "By saying that he was unworthy, he showed himself worthy of Christ's entering, not within his walls, but within his heart." His heart was tender toward the Lord.

This man is unlike many today that feel they deserve to go to Heaven. Beloved, we don't deserve anything from God except His judgment. No one is good enough or righteous enough to get to Heaven on their own merit.

Isaiah 64:6—But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.

Ephesians 2:8-9... For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: [9] Not of works, lest any man should boast.

IV. The Concrete Confidence of the Centurion—7:7b-8

The officer had so much confidence or faith in Christ's power and ability that he told Jesus, "Just say the word and he will be healed. Just as I have authority to command others and they obey, you have authority to command and it will come to pass."

This was the sentiment of the centurion. He had risen above the need of an outward sign, such as a touch or even the sound of a living voice. He needed no contact with the fringe of the Master's garment, asked for no handkerchief or an apron that had touched His person. The word the Master would speak would be enough. He totally delegated the problem and the need of his servant to the Lord Jesus and was confident that Christ would take care of the matter. Do you have that kind of confidence?

V. Christ's Amazement with the Centurion—7:9

Hearing of the faith of this centurion, the Almighty is amazed. The Bible says that Jesus "marveled." Only twice is Jesus said to have marveled at people. He marveled here and at the people in Nazareth because of their unbelief (Mark 6:6). Who had inspired that faith, but He who now admires it?

This word "marveled" is from the word thaumazo {thou-mad'-zo} which means "to be amazed, to admire, to be astonished or impressed." Christ turned to the crowd and told them He had never witnessed such great faith in Israel as in this man. The centurion acknowledged the authority and power of Christ by acknowledging that the Lord need not be present to heal his servant. This was amazing faith because this man did not grow up with the Old Testament scriptures, yet, he had learned the need to depend totally on Jesus' power. He knew, without a doubt, that Jesus could do what seemed impossible. Such faith both astonished and pleased the Lord Jesus. In marveling at his faith, Jesus intimated that we ought to admire great faith, too. He admired it for our benefit, that we might imitate the centurion's faith.

Let me ask, "Does your faith and confidence in the Lord amaze Him? Is your faith great or small? How confident are you in the Lord's ability to meet your needs and solve the problems in your life?" Beloved, God wants us to learn to rely upon Him just as this Roman soldier. Realize that every crisis you face is an opportunity to trust in God. Storms may rage in your life like the temper tantrums of a tempestuous sea. Christ, however, has the power and ability to calm your storm, or to help you sail through it.

Hebrews 11:6—But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.

Hebrews 3:12—Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God.

In WW 2, Sergeant Mitchell Paige of the United States Marines won the Congressional Medal of Honor. He single-handedly drove off platoon after platoon of Japanese soldiers on the island of Guadalcanal. Using the machine gun of killed or wounded Marines, Paige held the critical air-base for hours until reinforcements could arrive. He stood his ground like an immovable mountain anchored into the foundation of the earth. When help did arrive, he then fearlessly led a bayonet charge into the teeth of the Japanese stronghold.

When the battle was finally over, when the breath of the wind cleared the thick veil of smoke, when the thunder of guns and war cries went silent, Sergeant Paige, with hands that were burned and charred from cradling hot machine-guns, rummaged through his pack to find the one thing, the ONE thing his mother said would strengthen and sustain him throughout the war. It was his pocket Gideon Bible.

Opening his Bible up after that dramatic, drastic, distressful, dangerous, deadly day, its pages fell open to the very same verses his mother had imprinted upon his memory when she said farewell to him and sent him off to serve in the Marine Corps six years earlier. What were the verses she branded into his mind? What was it that she did not want her son to forget?

Proverbs 3:5-6.... Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. [6] In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.

She wanted him to have concrete faith in God. Do you?

VI. The Complete Cure of the Servant—7:10

The Lord comes through for the centurion. He honors his faith and heals the servant as the centurion expected. God will honor our faith too, if we have it. That is His promise to us.

Matthew 17:20—And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.

Luke 11:9—And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.

James 1:5-6... If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. [6] But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.

May our faith be so great that we too, will amaze the Almighty.

* Textual Notes: A Comparison of Matthew 8 and Luke 7

When you compare Matthew's account of the healing of the centurion's servant with Luke's account of the same miracle, an apparent discrepancy quickly arrests the reader's attention. Matthew's account says the centurion himself came to Christ on behalf of his sick servant, but Luke's account says the centurion sent some "elders of the Jews" to speak with Christ about the sick servant and then later, sent some of his "friends" to Christ to tell Christ that He did not need to come to the centurion's house, but only needed to speak the word for the healing.

The best solution to this problem of whether the centurion went himself to Christ or sent others to Him, is to remember that sometimes we speak of a person doing something when he actually did it through someone else. Scripture says Solomon built the Temple in 1 Kings 6:14, but we know that he did not actually build the Temple himself but ordered the Temple built and provided for the material and financial needs. Qualified craftsmen and builders built the Temple.

Pilate is said to have scourged Jesus in Matthew 27:26, but it was Roman soldiers who did the actual scourging. They simply did it at Pilate's orders. And in our text, the centurion is said to have built the Jews a synagogue, when we know he did not actually build the building himself, but simply provided the finances to make it possible. Matthew's account of the miracle is simply an abbreviation of Luke's account and so it says that the centurion himself communicated with Christ. It is acceptable language which is commonly used even in our day.