What a Non-believer Can Teach Us About Jesus

You wouldn’t expect a non-believer to be able to teach you anything about Jesus, but one did and Jesus commended him for what he did and how he demonstrated his faith.

Matthew gives us the account of the centurion (presumably a Roman and a gentile, possibly a proselyte to Judaism) who had a seriously ill servant (Matthew 8:5-13). He asked Jesus to heal the servant. When Jesus began to go to the servant, the centurion revealed his faith. He described how he was both under authority and over others in his authority. In both cases, obedience was the key.

Jesus marveled at this man and his faith. What does he teach us about Jesus?

First, he shows us that Jesus cares about life as we know it and as we face it. He trusted Jesus to be caring and compassionate toward the servant, and He was. He had complete faith both with the power of Jesus and the deep concern that Jesus had for all people.

Second, Jesus can be trusted with all of our lives. This non-Israelite was willing to place himself and his servant in the hands of Jesus of Nazareth.

Third, Jesus is God in the flesh. He is the God of the universe. He has the power to bless all of our lives. The centurion believed in the power of Jesus. He asked Jesus to simply say the word and he knew his servant would be healed.

Jesus was amazed at the centurion’s faith, noting that He had not seen such faith in Israel.

Fourth, faith and obedience are more than feelings or ideas; they are actions. This centurion demonstrated his faith by telling Jesus that He could merely speak the word that his servant should be healed.

Finally, this man teaches that Jesus should be obeyed completely and without reservation. This is genuine faith.

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I am the senior pastor of First Baptist Church, Covington, Louisiana, a position that I have held since 1989.

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[Life by the Spirit] You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. — Galatians 5:13 (NIV)