“When God Marvels”

by Pastor Christine Caine

July 21, 2019

When Jesus had finished saying all this to the people who were listening, he entered Capernaum. There a centurion’s servant, whom his master valued highly, was sick and about to die. The centurion heard of Jesus and sent some elders of the Jews to him, asking him to come and heal his servant. When they came to Jesus, they pleaded earnestly with him, “This man deserves to have you do this, because he loves our nation and has built our synagogue.” So Jesus went with them. He was not far from the house when the centurion sent friends to say to him: “Lord, don’t trouble yourself, for I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. That is why I did not even consider myself worthy to come to you. 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. I say to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” When Jesus heard this, he was amazed at him, and turning to the crowd following him, he said, “I tell you, I have not found such great faith even in Israel.” Then the men who had been sent returned to the house and found the servant well. – Luke 7:1–10 (ESV)

Faith is the currency of heaven. The Bible says that without faith, it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6). We should all seek to have the kind of faith that causes God to marvel. When God marvels, he does miracles. 

It is important for us to note that during this time, being a servant was akin to being a slave. Nevertheless, the master still cared a great deal for the servant’s well being and went to Jesus on his behalf. He realized that if he placed himself under the authority of Jesus, then miracles would happen. The master had compassion, humility, submission and generosity that caused Jesus to marvel at his faith. 

The only other time that we see Jesus marvel is in Mark 6:1–6. This time, he marvels at a lack of faith. Here, we see that nothing quenches the miracles of God like familiarity. Familiarity breeds laziness in our faith that hinders Jesus from being able to perform miracles in our midst. 

For Jesus, his hometown Nazareth was a very dangerous place. Nazareth was a place of familiarity. These were the people that grew up with Jesus. They knew the scripture, worship music, and went to church, but they did not have faith.  

Today, we have a faith issue. We have too many unbelieving believers. If we had more believing believers, we would see transformation in the world around us. Instead, we have sanitized and diluted our Christianity. We have become too concerned about fitting in and not appearing weird or offending people.

However, we should embrace the fact that God has chosen us to be a “peculiar people” according to Peter (1 Peter 2:9). What we believe as Christians is indeed “weird” by the world’s standards-- the resurrection of Jesus and the immaculate conception by the Virgin Mary are not normal! We serve a God who does the impossible. Nothing about our faith is normal. 

Often we get so focused on trying to understand God or explain our faith to others that we lose sight of what faith is all about. Faith is not predicated on understanding God. We are never going to be able to fit God into a test tube and prove him scientifically. We don’t need a God who we can understand; we need a God we can trust. You can’t trust someone who you don’t believe in your core is good. 

There is such an attack on faith in the world that we live in today. In popular culture it is cool to be anything but a Christian. We should not try to domesticate our faith to fit into the world. We must continue to believe God for signs, wonders, and miracles. 

As Christians, we must live by faith, walk by faith, pray by faith and believe by faith. Faith is the operating force of the kingdom. 

Jesus did not come to earth and die on a cross so that we could live safe, comfortable lives; he came so that we could be dangerous to the kingdom of darkness. You won’t take a risk if you don’t trust God; you’ll live a boring, religious life. Faith is about taking risks and trusting God when you don’t know what the outcome will be. 

We are God’s agents, and we have an assignment to carry out on earth. We are to bring God’s promises to a broken world. The world needs people of faith walking by faith. The world needs the church to be the place where faith is activated, God shows up, and the impossible happens. 

Faith is not exhibited by what we say; it is exhibited by what we do. Impossible is where God starts. Miracles are what God does.

Discussion/Reflection Questions:

  1. Do you have faith like the centurion? In what areas of your life do you believe that you could activate more faith?  

  2. How have you seen familiarity be damaging to your faith and to what God wants to do in your life or in others? 

  3. What do you think is your God-given assignment to help carry out his Kingdom on earth?

  4. Where do you believe God is calling you to step out in faith and take more risks in pursuing your purpose or assignment?