What Made Jesus Marvel?

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What would it take to amaze Jesus? Under what circumstances could a mortal man make the Messiah marvel? It is an unimaginable proposition. People don’t make Jesus marvel. He makes them marvel! Jesus was the one who healed sick people, raised the dead, knew the inner thoughts of men, and spoke the parables. Jesus is the agent of creation: “All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made” (Jn 1:3). He spent eternities past in heaven with His Father.

But a mortal man did make Jesus marvel. In Mt 8, a Roman centurion approaches Jesus with a request: to heal one of his servants who was lying at home suffering terribly. Jesus promises to come to the man’s house to heal his servant. The centurion responds with humility saying, “Lord, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof, but only say the word, and my servant will be healed” (v8). Having faith in Jesus’ power and authority, the centurion then uses an analogy: “For I too am a man 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” (v9). Jesus’ reaction? “When Jesus heard this, he marveled” (v10a).

What about the centurion’s statement is so marvelous? Jesus goes on to explain: “Truly, I tell you, with no one in Israel have I found such faith” (v10b). If you know anything about his interactions with the Jews, you understand why Jesus said this. Jesus was constantly having his authority challenged by His Jewish brethren. Even when they witnessed his miracles firsthand, they still challenged His Messiahship. But here comes a Gentile—a Roman soldier no less—who believed Jesus was able to heal his servant from miles away. A commanding officer has the authority to only say a few words to initiate military action. Jesus has the authority to only say a few words to initiate supernatural action.

What made Jesus marvel? Absolute faith and trust in His power and authority. Faith that far exceeded the faith of the Scribes & Pharisees. In the end the centurion’s absolute faith was validated: “And to the centurion Jesus said, ‘Go; let it be done for you as you have believed.’ And the servant was healed at that very moment” (v13). Our absolute faith in Jesus’ authority will be validated too…but only if we actually have it.