The 11th chapter of the book of Hebrews is the “Hall of Faith” chapter. There we find many men and women who cooperated with God, and by faith, changed their world. Counted among them are Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham and Sarah, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, the harlot Rahab, Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, the great David, Samuel, and indeed the thousands of martyrs. God has taken special note of these in His word.
When faced with Judah’s continual rebellion, the Lord told the prophet, Jeremiah, “Even if Moses and Samuel stood before Me, My mind would not be favorable toward this people.” (15:1b) To the prophet Ezekiel the Lord said, “Even if these three men, Noah, Daniel, and Job, were in [the land], they would deliver only themselves by their righteousness.” (14:14) Here again, God recognizes the tremendous faith of these Old Testament saints.
Nonetheless, the Scriptures refer to only one man who made God marvel. Who was he? A Roman soldier. A Gentile. One of the least likely candidates for such a role. Here is what occurred:
Now when He [Jesus] concluded all His sayings in the hearing of the people, He entered Capernaum. And a certain centurion’s servant, who was dear to him, was sick and ready to die. So when he heard about Jesus, he sent elders of the Jews to Him, pleading with Him to come and heal his servant. And when they came to Jesus, they begged Him earnestly, saying that the one for whom He should do this was deserving, “for he loves our nation, and built us a synagogue.”
Then Jesus went with them. And when He was already not far from the house, the centurion sent friends to Him, saying 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. But say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I 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.”
When Jesus heard these things, He marveled at him, and turned around and said to the crowd that followed Him, “I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel!” And those who were sent, returning to the house, found the servant well who had been sick. (Luke 7:1-10)
Can you imagine making God marvel? Another translation says Jesus was astonished. He was amazed. I don’t know about you, but that challenges and inspires me at the same time. It is quite natural as a believer to see those giants of the faith (as flawed as some were) as being way out of our league. The centurion – not so. Could I, could you, could we, actually walk in such a humble and dependent faith as that Roman soldier?
Could we too, be the man or woman who makes God marvel?