Friday in the Sixth Week of Ordinary Time

Matthew 8:5-13; Luke 7:1-10

God Works in People We Don’t Expect

Today we have the wonderful account of the faith of a centurion.  A centurion was a Roman soldier over one-hundred men.  As a Roman, he would have been a gentile (a non-Jew), one dead in trespasses and sins, following the course of the world, following the prince of the power of the air, a son of disobedience, living according to the passions of the flesh and desires of the body and mind, and by nature a child of wrath; in other words, a pagan (Ephesians 2:1-3).  This was the description of gentiles before the coming of Christ who opened the gate for both Jew and gentile through his broken body.  And it is still the description of anyone prior to coming to saving faith in Christ.  Biblical Christianity 101 teaches us this doctrine called “original sin,” or simply, “the fall,” in which every person is born in sin, and so must be born again (John 3:3).

But God was doing a work in this pagan’s life.  God had moved him to love his covenant people, the Jews.  Surely he must have learned from them about the one true God.  Perhaps he had also learned from them about the hope of the coming Messiah who would rule in righteousness and peace.  As a Roman, he certainly could discern the dignity and truth of the God depicted in the Scriptures over the debased and immoral gods of the pagan myths.  But even more than that, he had heard of this man, Jesus, who was healing, preaching, and doing works that no pagan could do.  So he sends a delegation of Jews to intercede for him to heal his servant, thinking himself unfit to approach Jesus.  When Jesus begins his journey to this man’s house, he sends yet another delegation to tell him such a trip is unnecessary.  The centurion is a man under authority and knows that all Jesus has to do is say the word and it will be done.  The centurion does not have to see; he knows.

Jesus then marvels declaring that he had found no such faith in all of Israel, God’s covenant people.  And then he says that many will come from the east and west (all over) to sit in the kingdom of God while those who thought they were in will be cast out.  We must always remember that salvation is by grace through faith (made real by a faithful life).  And we must always remember that no one is beyond the pale, after all, God saved us.  That passage from Ephesians which I quoted above, well, that was us before the Holy Spirit brought us to saving faith, so why not that person that you think is so lazy, vile, wicked, etc.  The man who wrote “Amazing Grace” had once been a slaver – John Newton – but God’s grace made a new man out of him.  And God can do the same for that one whom you love, or perhaps, scorn.

Author: The Reformed Baptist

My name is Stephen Taylor, ordained Baptist minister of eighteen years pastoral experience with a Ph.D. in Historical Theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Better than that, I am married to a godly woman, Karla, who has been very patient with me since 1989. I have two daughters, both of whom I homeschooled for extended periods of time, who became godly young women, and who ran off and married godly young men, all of which is very proper. The oldest daughter has even seen fit to bless me with a grandson and a granddaughter, and my youngest daughter with a grandson, all three of whom are bundles of exceeding joy. As you can see, I am quite blessed. This website is dedicated to helping people grow in the wisdom and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ through the gift of writing that the Lord has given to me. It is specifically about helping His people grow in godliness, the theme you see repeated above. I write devotions with this aim and hope that they might be of some help to God’s people. Full disclosure: I am of a Reformed bent, meaning that my understanding of Scripture is primarily informed by the Reformers and their successors of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. However, as a student of church history and theology, I strive to remain true to that teaching handed down once for all unto the saints through every age of the Church. I like to think of myself as a “catholic” Christian, as the Reformers thought of themselves. At any rate, feel free to read, pray, and contact me if you wish, or correct me if need be. As you can see, I tend to follow the church year. Of course, I make no special claims about these devotions. I know very well that others have written better and plumbed the depths of God’s word with greater insight. But if my musings help someone draw closer to the Lord, well then, I have my reward. Blessings to you and may the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ speak to you that word which He knows you especially need to hear. Grace & peace, Stephen Taylor

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