January 7, 2020
How to Amaze Jesus
It was our long-anticipated vacation, so we wanted everything to be perfect and utterly amazing.
But casting a glance around my surroundings, I was doubtful. The arched entrance to the historic site was promising, and the price of admission implied a great time, but everything I could see looked run-down and underwhelming.
My husband Barry and I ambled over to the first attraction and settled in with expectation. Finally, a screen in the corner of the room came alive with a video explaining the show we were about to see. In an excited voice, the narrator announced the decades-old exhibit had been cutting edge at its opening in the 1960s.
He finished with fanfare, saying, “Prepare not to be amazed!”
Wait … what?
The narrator was priming us to be unimpressed, and he was right. The technology of 1960 is bland for folks accustomed to 2020 exhibits. Despite our high hopes when we bought our tickets, Barry and I found ourselves bored instead of delighted.
If it takes the newest and shiniest trends to amaze modern humans, how much does it require to amaze God? Surely, it’s unimaginably more! In Scripture, Jesus has an interaction with a surprising twist that leaves us hard-to-impress moderns dumbfounded.
In the story recorded in Matthew 8:5-11, a centurion came to Jesus and asked for healing for his servant. Jesus grants his request, but Scripture also records Jesus’ astonishing response: “When Jesus heard this, he was amazed and said to those following him, ‘Truly I tell you, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith’” (Matthew 8:10).
Let’s pause and consider this. Jesus, who watched the astounding act of creation and every historical event since, finds the centurion, his request and his faith amazing. Why is that? I see three reasons here.
Because the Centurion was Humble.
Centurions were Roman military officers who led 100 men. They were citizens of the conquering nation who were fully (and sometimes cruelly) in charge. Training had made him tough and battle-proven his bravery, yet this centurion humbly asks Jesus for help, saying, “Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed” (Matthew 8:8b, NIV).
Instead of using his own authority to command Jesus to come, the centurion surrenders to Jesus’ greater power, and his humility amazes Jesus.
Because the Request was Selfless.
The centurion didn’t come asking for himself or even for a close family member. Instead, he was moved by the terrible suffering of his servant and came to ask for a subordinate’s healing.
Rather than seeing his higher rank as superiority, the centurion selflessly put his status and schedule aside to care for someone who was less prestigious. Jesus was astounded by his selflessness.
Because his Faith was Limitless.
Although Jesus offered to go heal the servant, saying, “I will come and heal him,” (Matthew 8:7b, ESV), the centurion reveals his understanding of Jesus’ divinity by saying, “But only say the word, and my servant will be healed” (Matthew 8:8b, ESV).
Because of his own authority over his officers, the centurion understood that Jesus’ very words could heal. He grasped the power Jesus held and knew neither time nor space limited the Son of God. Jesus was floored by the centurion’s faith.
In our day, wonder is a scarce commodity. We demand more, bigger and better in order to be entertained and awed. But God sets a different standard for His people. He establishes humility, selflessness and faith as timeless characteristics that still amaze Him.
Lord, I long to amaze You, but I’m thankful I don’t have to be more or do more to achieve it. Your amazement isn’t based on my performance, Jesus. Instead, I choose the amazing traits of humility, selflessness and faith. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Proverbs 15:33, “Wisdom’s instruction is to fear the LORD, and humility comes before honor.” (NIV)
Philippians 2:3, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves.” (NIV)
You are not called to be a performer, doing more and being more to please God and others. Amy Carroll’s book, co-authored with Cheri Gregory, Exhale: Lose Who You’re Not, Love Who You Are, Live Your One Life Well offers freedom from that way of thinking!
REFLECT AND RESPOND:
Have you ever experienced boredom when amazement was promised? What was the disconnect?
How does it make you feel to know God doesn’t require something more or bigger to be amazed by you?
Which is your greatest strength — humility, selflessness or faith? Which one could use some work? Ask God to strengthen you there. Join the conversation by sharing in the comments section!
© 2020 by Amy Carroll. All rights reserved.