The Scriptorium

Faith Portent

Faith unleashes the power of the Kingdom. Matthew 8.5-13

Matthew 8: Setting Things Right (2)

Pray Psalm 67.1-3.
God be merciful to us and bless us,
And cause His face to shine upon us,
Selah
That Your way may be known on earth,
Your salvation among all nations.
Let the peoples praise You, O God;
Let all the peoples praise You.

Sing Psalm 67.1-3.
(Solid Rock: My Hope is Built on Nothing Less)
O bless us, Savior, by Your grace, and shine upon us with Your face,
that we Your way may loud proclaim, and tell to all the earth Your fame!
Refrain v. 3 (5)
Let all the peoples praise You, Lord,
Rejoicing in Your holy Word! Rejoicing in Your holy Word!

Read Matthew 8.1-13; meditate on verses 5-13.

Prepare.
1. How did the centurion show his faith to Jesus?

2. How did Jesus respond to his faith?

Meditate.
In Capernaum, to the north, it would not have been uncommon to find Jews and Gentiles rather more mixed in with one another. But it was still the Jewish mindset that the Gentiles were, and always would be, outsiders to the line of Abraham.

But this is because of years of prejudice, built-up by teachers who resented the Gentiles and refused to listen to the teaching of God’s Word. We have already seen, in the visit of the Magi, that the Gentile world would be drawn to Jesus. This centurion is but another indication of the broad scope of Jesus’ work. Disciples will arise to Jesus from “all the nations” (Matt. 28.18-20). Here is one more portent of the Kingdom’s all-encompassing extent.

The centurion came in faith – faith that amazed Jesus (v. 10). He had not seen such faith thus far anywhere in Israel. This was certainly a rebuke to the Jews, even those closest to Him. Jesus used the centurion’s complete trust in Him, and recognition of His power and authority, to recall the promise to Abraham, that in him all the nations and families of the earth would be blessed (Gen. 12.1-3). Faith, like that of the centurion, is the key for Gentiles and Jews alike to enter the Kingdom of heaven. At the same time, those who fancy themselves as having a lock on that Kingdom, by virtue of mere physical descent from Abraham, will be cast out into weeping and gnashing of teeth. Without faith, it is impossible to please God (Heb. 11.6).

Faith is the gift of God (Eph. 2.8, 9). We do well always to ask, seek, and knock for it. Believing in Jesus unleashes power to overturn the terrible effects of sin. A paralyzed and tormented servant was here released from his misery and healed by the mere Word of Jesus, spoken in response to the request of faith, and accomplished at a distance. This is the power that Jesus wields among and through the faithful citizens and ambassadors of the Kingdom of God.

Reflect.
1. What is faith, and how do we exercise it toward Jesus?

2. How can we increase in faith?

3. How should we expect the power of Jesus, unleashed by our faith, to work in our lives?

Jesus is found marveling at the centurion. He turns his attention to him and honors him with the gift of the kingdom. He calls others to the same zeal.
John Chrysostom (344-407), The Gospel of Matthew, Homily 26.2

Let Your power be at work in me today, Jesus, as I…

Pray Psalm 67.4-7.
Pray for the nations of the world, that God would revive His churches in them, and bring a great season of awakening to the world.

Sing Psalm 67.4-7.
Psalm 67.4-7 (Solid Rock: My Hope is Built on Nothing Less)
Let all the nations gladly sing and joyous praise before You bring;
You judge them by Your holy worth and guide the nations of the earth.
Refrain v. 3 (5)
Let all the peoples praise You, Lord,
Rejoicing in Your holy Word! Rejoicing in Your holy Word!

The earth in full its bounty yields – the blessèd harvest of the fields.
We gather blessings from Your Word that all the earth may fear You, Lord.
Refrain v. 3 (5)
Let all the peoples praise You, Lord,
Rejoicing in Your holy Word! Rejoicing in Your holy Word!

T. M. Moore

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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. All psalms for singing adapted from
The Ailbe Psalter. All quotations from Church Fathers from Ancient Christian Commentary Series, General Editor Thomas C. Oden (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2006). All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (available by clicking here).

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in Essex Junction, VT.
Books by T. M. Moore