When Jesus heard this, he was amazed. Turning to the crowd that was following him, he said, “I tell you, I haven’t seen faith like this in all Israel!” And when the officer’s friends returned to his house, they found the slave completely healed. Luke 7:9-10
Faith like what?! Jesus amazed?! What is going on here? I find it amazing that Jesus is amazed at anything. All through his ministry, with all the trick questions, the angry outbursts, and the extreme responses of faith to his presence we never see Jesus quite like we see him here. I won’t go so far as to say that he is surprised at the Roman officer since the text itself doesn’t say that. But he is amazed. Jesus seems impressed and pleased.
This is rare and I wonder, “How can I do that? How can I impress and amaze the Savior in this way?”
On the surface it seems rather simple. The officer makes some speech about Jesus not even needing to come to his house, but knowing that if he just says the words healing will happen. So this means I just need to speak with big faith, right?
In some senses this is right. The level of trust the officer is displaying is amazing. He knows and believes that Jesus isn’t bound by location or proximity. He is so trusting that Jesus can do the work needed that he proclaims some level of understanding in Jesus’ command over the world. The man has big faith, and it shows in the words he uses.
But I wonder if there isn’t more.
I think what I see here is humility. The officer, with all his importance of position, power and authority isn’t self impressed. Others are impressed with him—“if anyone deserves your help, he does” (Luke 7:4)—but he isn’t. He proclaims his unworthiness and apparently (since Jesus knows what’s in the heart) it’s genuine.
Maybe this is it—genuine humility. It’s harder to come by than we’d like to admit; especially when we need something or want something from God. In those times we tend to revert to explaining our desires in light of how fair they are or how right they are or how deserving we are. The officer doesn’t do that.
He asks, he proclaims his trust that Jesus can do it, and he acknowledges that he isn’t worthy. It’s humble trust. No gimmicks, no sell job. No attempts at passive-aggressive commentary on the unfairness of life; and no victim mentality. It’s just a guy in desperate need of the Savior, declaring that he trusts. And whatever comes of it, he deserves nothing.
This sounds simple, but I know me. I know my selfishness. I know how easily my heart is convinced in my own deservedness. The Roman officer stands out for me as a reminder of how to amaze the Savior. Less about me, all about him.
Trust and humility.
Easier said than done for sure, but this is a worthy goal. I want to amaze the Savior. I want Jesus delighted in my trust of his abilities. And I want to do so with a humble heart.