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5

Unexpected Faith

Key References: Luke 7:1-10; The Desire of Ages, chap. 32, pp. 315-320; The Bible Story (1994), vol. 7, pp. 177-179; Our Beliefs, nos. 17, 11, 22

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“Looking unto Jesus, the author and  nisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:2).

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As our faith develops, so does our ability to serve.

When have you asked for something on someone else’s behalf? Have you ever saved someone’s life? Your life may have a greater impact on others’ lives than you may think. Read on to discover how an “unbeliever’s” faith saved a friend’s life.

An officer of the Roman army went to seek help from the Jewish leaders. The centurion explained to them that his servant was very sick with the palsy. Respectfully he asked the Jewish leaders to carry his message to Jesus and plead with the Master for the healing of his servant. Unlike some Roman offi cers, this centurion didn’t treat his servants cruelly. In fact, the servant had become like a family mem ber, and the centurion was saddened at the thought that his servant might die.

The Jewish leaders promised to help the centurion by carrying his message to Jesus and they hurried off to look for Him. When they found Jesus, “they begged Him earnestly” to help this man, saying “for he loves our nation, and has built us a synagogue” (Luke 7:4, 5).

Right away Jesus’ heart was touched. Whenever He heard that someone was sick or in need, His automatic response was to help. Unlike the Jews, He didn’t want to help the man because of who he was or what he had done. He wanted to help, not because the man deserved help, but because the man recognized his need for help.

Immediately Jesus set out for the offi - cer’s home. Slowly He made His way on foot through the dense crowd. But Jesus hadn’t gotten very far when the Roman offi cer’s message came to Him, “Lord, do not trouble Yourself, for I am not worthy that You should enter under my roof. Therefore I did not even think myself worthy to come to You” (verses 6, 7).

You see, this man had been watching and listening to Jesus for a long time. He had heard time and again stories of Jesus’ healing power and love. He recognized in Jesus something that even the Jews had failed to see. The centurion found in Jesus’ teaching the answer that could satisfy the deepest needs of his soul.

He knew that Jesus was no ordinary man, and he didn’t even feel worthy of a visit from Him. Nevertheless, the centurion’s hum ble message didn’t stop Jesus. He just kept on going, heading straight for the offi cer’s house. Jesus had one purpose in mind—to bless others through His unconditional and loving service. Wherever He went, He brought life, healing, and joy, and today would be no exception. Before He could reach His destination, the Roman officer came and fi nished his message to Jesus himself.

“But say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I also am a man placed under authority, having 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” (verses 7, 8).

When Jesus heard the centurion’s words, He was amazed. Turning to the crowd, he said, “I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel!” (verse 9).

When the Roman soldier returned home, he found that, just as Jesus had promised, his servant was indeed healed, completely well, and ready to continue his work.

There must have been many shouts of joy at the centurion’s house that day. Because of that Roman officer’s faith, his servant was blessed with the healing touch of Jesus. Over and over through the years, as long as this story is told, people will learn of the blessings available to each one who comes to Jesus with simple faith, believing in His power to restore human lives.

Just as Jesus honored the faith of the centurion and healed his servant, God will honor our faith in Him.

We each have received a measure of faith through the Holy Spirit’s working in our lives. It is a privilege to use our faith as the centurion did to connect people with Jesus, the true source of healing and restoration.

Can you imagine the difference we can make in the lives of others if we place our faith in Jesus as the centurion did?