Architecture of New York
Living in New York, I frequently see tourists marvel at buildings. They stop in the middle of oncoming foot traffic – clueless that jaded New Yorkers stumble to avoid collision – because they are enthralled with the beauty of the skyscrapers and the landmarks.
Faith of a Centurion
Jesus once stopped to marvel at the faith of an unnamed Roman centurion . By all accounts, this man was an unlikely candidate to amaze Jesus. As a Roman soldier, he would have been stationed in Palestine to subject Israel to the foreign authority of Rome . As a centurion, he would have been experienced in the brutal warfare of Rome . As a Roman, he would have been raised as a pagan Gentile and considered “unclean” under Jewish law . Yet, he understood something that even his Jewish contemporaries did not.
Amazement of Jesus
As Jesus approached Capernaum, He was met by a group of Jewish elders, who were sent by a Roman centurion to ask Jesus to heal his dying servant. Recognizing the oddity of their partnership, an elder said to Jesus, “This man deserves to have you do this, because he loves our nation and has built our synagogue” . Perhaps sensing His Father’s hand, Jesus joined the elders and headed to the centurion’s home.
Yet, as they drew near, the centurion sent a messager to Jesus, saying, “Lord, don’t trouble yourself, for I do not deserve to have you come under my roof … But say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and that one, ‘Come,’ and he comes …” . When Jesus heard this, “he was amazed,” and said to the crowd, “I tell you, I have not found such great faith even in Israel” . When the messenger returned to the centurion, he found the servant well .
Prayer for Faith
Lord, We confess that we marvel more at what we can see than what we cannot see. Yet, you do not see as we do – we look at outward appearances; you look at the heart . But since your Word teaches us that faith is a gift, we ask that you give us more faith so that we will stop and marvel at you and your work in our hearts. Amen.
 See Luke 7:1-10 and Matthew 8:5-13. See also Mark 6:6 (recounting the other instance at which Jesus “marveled” at the faith of others – except, here, He marveled at the lack of faith of the people in Nazareth, His hometown) |  Since the sprawling Roman Empire occupied Palestine, the Israelites saw the Romans as their enemies. |  The rank of centurion in the Roman military was an honor gained by distinction. Generally, a centurion was named for the 100~ soldiers under his authority. For more information, see here. |  See Acts 10 (declaring to Peter that Gentiles were clean despite the Jewish law that dictated otherwise) |  Luke 7:4-5 NASB |  Luke 7:6-8 NASB |  Luke 7:9 NASB |  See Luke 7:10 |  1 Samuel 16:7