Faith that Makes Jesus Marvel

Grand Canyon

When was the last time you saw something that made you “marvel”? To marvel is to be filled with wonder, admiration, or astonishment at something that is extraordinary.

Who is the only man in the Gospels whose faith is said to have made Jesus marvel? Any guesses?

After [Jesus] had finished all his sayings in the hearing of the people, he entered Capernaum. Now a centurion had a servant who was sick and at the point of death, who was highly valued by him. When the centurion heard about Jesus, he sent to him elders of the Jews, asking him to come and heal his servant. And when they came to Jesus, they pleaded with him earnestly, saying, “He is worthy to have you do this for him, for he loves our nation, and he is the one who built us our synagogue.” And Jesus went with them. When he was not far from the house, the centurion sent friends, saying to him, “Lord, do not trouble yourself, for I am not worthy to have you come under my roof. Therefore I did not presume to come to you. But say the word, and let my servant be healed. For I too am a man set under authority, with 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 turning to the crowd that followed him, said, “I tell you, not even in Israel have I found such faith.” And when those who had been sent returned to the house, they found the servant well. (Luke 7:1-10)

The Sort of Faith that Makes Jesus Marvel

  • This centurion had “heard about Jesus” (7:3).
  • He was a man of character and compassion (7:4-5).
  • He believed Jesus was credible (7:6a).
  • He was willing to humbly acknowledge his own unworthiness (7:6b-7a).
  • He genuinely trusted that Jesus was capable of granting what he needed (7:7b-8).
  • “When Jesus heard these things, he marveled at him…” (7:9a).

But this is not the only time Jesus is said to have “marveled.”

He went away from there and came to his hometown, and his disciples followed him. And on the Sabbath he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were astonished, saying, “Where did this man get these things? What is the wisdom given to him? How are such mighty works done by his hands? Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon? And are not his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him. And Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor, except in his hometown and among his relatives and in his own household.” And he could do no mighty work there, except that he laid his hands on a few sick people and healed them. And he marveled because of their unbelief. (Mark 6:1-6)

The Sort of Unbelief that Makes Jesus Marvel

  • These people were acquainted with Jesus (6:2a).
  • They were very unsure about what Jesus was doing and what it really meant (6:2b-3a).
  • “And they took offense at him” (6:3b).
  • “And [Jesus] marveled because of their unbelief” (6:6).

Here’s the question: When Jesus looks at my faith (or lack thereof), is he made to marvel?

This sermon was delivered on November 24, 2013.

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