Hello everybody and welcome in to episode 186 of the Bible 2021 podcast. We are reading Luke 7 today and our focus is on What Does Great Faith Look Like? + What Motivated Jesus? We are a daily 10 minute podcast, where we will dig in to the truth of the Word of God by reading one Bible chapter a day and discussing it. Welcome to new listeners in Thanks for listening! Our goal is to encourage DAILY Bible reading, so you can jump in at any time and join with us. We want to invite as many people as possible to join us in daily Bible reading, so help spread the word and share the podcast! Don’t forget about our web-page, Bible2021.com – contact page, show notes, transcript and more– Click here for our Bible 2021 reading plan\
There is a beautiful and touching episode in Luke 7. A woman from a village called Nain, who had already lost her husband, has just lost her only son as well. How devastated she must be! How does Jesus respond to such a situation? Here it is:
13 When the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her and said, “Don’t weep.”14 Then he came up and touched the open coffin, and the pallbearers stopped. And he said, “Young man, I tell you, get up!” 15 The dead man sat up and began to speak, and Jesus gave him to his mother. Luke 7:13
That one phrase has often interested me: “Moved with compassion.” The Greek word there is fascinating and somewhat weird to us. The word is: σπλαγχνίζομαι splanchnízomai, and it means to be moved in your bowels…which sounds kind of funny on the surface, especially if you are a fifth grade boy – but the reality is it meant to be moved or shook or touched in your most inward being. That is how the first century people thought of compassion. Over and over again in Scripture, we see the Bible depicting Jesus as “moved with compassion.” In Matthew 9, Jesus is moved with compassion about a crowd, because they were hungry and tired. In Matthew 14, He is moved with compassion about a different crowd, because so many sick and hurting were in the crowd. In Matthew 15, He is moved by another hungry crowd, and in Matthew 20 He is moved with compassion when He sees two blind men begging for sight. In Mark 1, Jesus is moved with compassion by seeing a leprous man that everybody else stayed away from, and Jesus healed the man. What motivates Jesus to action? Multiple times in Scripture, Jesus is motivated by compassion – touched in the deepest part of His being with feeling for those suffering. May we be moved by the same motivations! Let’s go ahead and read our passage, and then we will discuss what great faith looks like, because we have a wonderful example of it today.
So, the Roman Centurion embodies great faith for us. What does great faith look like – the kind of faith that Jesus marveled at and commended? It looks like rock-solid, practical trust in the middle of a tremendous trial. The Roman Centurion obviously cared for his servant, and he was deeply worried about him. He was faced with a remarkable trial, but he wasn’t panicked about it, because He absolutely knew that Jesus could do something about it. I see two elements here of great faith. #1 Unwavering trust that doesn’t doubt. #2 Unwavering trust in the midst of a crisis. It is one thing to believe in God’s protection when you are sailing through calm waters, but it is quite another thing to still be fully assured of that protection when the ship of your life is going through a great storm that is rocking everything. This is what we see in the one that Jesus commended for great faith. Notice also that the centurion’s great faith was not arrogant, nor presumptuous, braggadocios or self-assured. He also models for us the humility of great faith, as Spurgeon says here:
Concerning the centurion…. he was such a believer in the Son of God that Jesus said concerning him, “I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel.” There is the vital point. There, my hearer, is the notable matter which shall enrol thee among the blessed. If thou believest in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, thy name is in the Lamb’s book of life, but if thou believe not in him, thine outward excellences, however admirable, shall avail thee little.
The faith of the centurion is described both in the eighth chapter of Matthew and in Luke 7, as being of the highest kind, and the remarkable point in it is that it was coupled with the very deepest humility. The same man who said, “Say in a word, and my servant shall be healed,” also said, “I am not worthy that thou shouldest enter under my roof.” In bringing before you this noble soldier’s example, these are two pivots upon which the discourse shall turn. I shall direct you to this double star, shining with so mild a radiance in the sky of Scripture: This man’s deep humility was not injurious to the strength of his faith, and his gigantic faith was by no means hostile to his deep humiliation.
C. H. Spurgeon, “The Centurion’s Faith and Humility,” in The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit Sermons, vol. 14 (London: Passmore & Alabaster, 1868), 145–146.
Bible Memory verses for the month of July: 47 “I will show you what someone is like who comes to me, hears my words, and acts on them: 48 He is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. When the flood came, the river crashed against that house and couldn’t shake it, because it was well built.” Luke 6:47-48
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