This is our final installment in our series titled “Deferred Hope.” There is nothing more painstaking in prayer than having the answer to your prayers delayed. God’s delays should not be interpreted as His denials. In this series, we have learned how to navigate differed hope (read about it here) and how to respond to God when He is silent and when His answer is “no,” (read about that here).
In Matthew 8:5-13, Jesus is coming down from a mountain on His way to Capernaum where He is approached by a Centurion. What’s amazing is this man did not travel in search of Jesus for himself, but for a servant who lived under his roof. What an amazing demonstration of compassion. When he explains to Jesus that his servant is paralyzed Jesus responds, “I will come and heal him.”
This is the type of response we would all love to have after a single request of God. Most people would rush back home with Jesus but this Centurion gives an unusual response, “I am not worthy to have you come under my roof, but only say the word, and my servant will be healed.” Jesus comments how He has found no grater faith in ALL of Israel.
There are a couple important lessons about faith to be learned from this encounter. The word translated as “heal” comes from the Greek word, “therapeuo.” The emphasis of this word is on the authority of the one who heals. Our faith in Jesus is effective because there is no greater authority than Jesus Christ.
“And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.” Matthew 28:18
“All things have been handed over to me by my Father,” Matthew 11:27a
“and you have been filled in him, who is the head of all rule and authority.” Colossians 2:10
“The Father loves the Son and has given all things into his hand.” John 3:35
All authority, all things, He is the head of all rule and authority, the father has given all things into His (Jesus’) hands! One night while Jesus and the disciples were taking a cruise, the wind and waves begin to rise, and the boat is on the verge of sinking.
At the height of the disciples fear, Jesus comes out from sleeping and tells the wind and waves to be silent and they stop! The disciples ask themselves, “What sort of man is this, that even winds and sea obey him?” Matthew 8:27 The prayer of faith invokes the authoritative name of Jesus! All authority belongs to Him.
Great faith is always preceded by humility. (I wanted to say great humility but that sounded too prideful.)
Although this Centurion was a man of importance, he owned his unworthiness before Jesus. Our titles, seniority, abilities, or popularity don’t make us worthy to have Jesus as our guest, but by His mercy and grace, He invites us to come. Humility precedes faith and without faith, we cannot please God, Hebrews 11:6.
Without humility, we approach God like He owes us. God, you have the power. I need have a need. Hand it over! God doesn’t owe us anything. We have no place to demand anything of God. Yet God’s unexplainable love for us draws Him to our brokenness and He desires to give good gifts to us.
Take a couple minutes to reflect on your faith.
- Is your faith placed in Jesus?
- Do you understand that He has ALL authority?
- Are you humbly approaching Him, ready to accept His answer to your prayer?
Pray! God doesn’t mind the interruption.