GREAT FAITH, GREAT MIRACLES(Luke 7:1-18)
"When Jesus heard these things, he marvelled at him, and turned him about, and said unto the people that followed him, I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel." Luke 7:9 KJV
This scripture defines for me the theme of the book Luke 7. Here Jesus commended the faith of the centurion who has one of his servants healed. And the subject of faith is what rings through the book of Luke 7. Yes there are other stories here in the book of Luke 7, on the surface they look different but when we look more closely they all bothered on the acts of faith or lack of it.
There was the raising to life the son of the woman of Nain who was already pronounced dead, laid in coffin, carried through the streets and to be buried. It was Jesus who scattered as it were the funeral procession, for Jesus was going his way while the funeral procession was going its way. The woman in question didn't ask for her son to be raised back to life but Jesus out of compassion ask the funeral procession to stop. And here is where the faith of the woman was demonstrated, he didn't ask for Jesus' credentials or authority to stop a funeral procession! No! This brings to my mind what happened in John 11 when Lazarus was raised from the dead, the sisters were like telling Jesus not to bother as Lazarus was already dead. Here, with the woman of Nain, there were no questions, no protests, no asking who Jesus was, for if they knew who he was they won't have been amazed and make the following testimony concerning the master after the son was raised back to life.
"And there came a fear on all: and they glorified God, saying, That a great prophet is risen up among us; and, That God hath visited his people".
Luke 7:16 KJV
When the master touched the bier the pallbearer stood still, and the miraculous took place! This is the power of faith, it makes alive that which is dead. In the first case, the servant was about dying, while in the second case the boy was already pronounced dead. Jesus, however, said I am the resurrection and the life, and that resurrection power went into action and the dead boy came back to life! Hallelujah!
All of the great works in Luke 7 wrought by the demonstration of faith!
THE PROBLEM WITH JOHN(Luke 7:18-35)
And then we read on from Luke 7:18-23 how this news spread around the towns and cities and the disciples of John shew to him all that has happened with the ministry of Jesus. The response of John betrayed the response of the same who said in Luke 3:16 saying,
"John answered, saying unto them all, I indeed baptize you with water; but one mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire"
In some other accounts of the gospel, he went on to introduce Jesus as the Lamb of God who took away the sin of the world! Yet this same John began to question the authenticity and the credibility of the same person he said who could not tie his shoelace. The same person he proclaimed the messiah
Luke 7:19 tells us what John said
"And John calling unto him two of his disciples sent them to Jesus, saying, Art thou he that should come? or look we for another?"
Up until John, we have read the story of great faith, but as we get to John, we get to see the other side of what happens when people doubt their God. John openly questions the authenticity of the Messiah. Are you the one to come or not? What a great display of unbelief coming from a spiritual giant, a spiritual stalwart. For if you go down to read in verse 24-26, Jesus tells us that there is no prophet that came before John that was greater than John!
"But what went ye out for to see? A prophet? Yea, I say unto you, and much more than a prophet. This is he, of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee. For I say unto you, Among those that are born of women there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist: but he that is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he"
John has greater spiritual status than the centurion and the woman of Nain, and yet John demonstrated lesser faith than these two that we were not told are children of the kingdom. This echoes the truths that we learned in the exposition we did in Luke 1 on Zechariah and Mary.
"Faith is available to all irrespective of our spiritual status in God, the one who believes is the one who becomes"
John did not believe and even though his destiny was loaded, yet he was beheaded! For no one realizes their great destiny without the demonstration of great faith! The one who believes is the one who becomes!
The good news is despite all of John's greatness we are destined to even become greater! Hallelujah! But only with great faith shall we accomplish great feats in God
THE WORDLESS WORSHIP OF AN UNNAMED WOMAN - Luke 7:36-50
And then rounding up this chapter is the story of an unnamed woman who came to worship Jesus! She poured expensive oil on the feet of Jesus, mixed with her tears and using her head this woman without words but by her action worshipped Jesus.
Every act of worship is an act of faith!
For Hebrews 11:6 tells us,
"But without faith, it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him"
That woman believed and came to Jesus, she bowed down and worshipped the master. Even without saying a word, her worship registered with the master and Jesus said in response.
'Wherefore I say unto thee, Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little. And he said unto her, Thy sins are forgiven. And he said to the woman, Thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace. Luke 7:47-48, 50 KJV
Her worship was a practical demonstration of her faith in God and that demonstration brought her salvation!
Graphically Luke 7 painted to us what happens when we follow on the path of great faith and what also happens when we walk on the path of unbelief!
From this chapter, we can pick a few lessons on the subject of faith. I will quickly share that as we end this analysis of Luke 7.
1. OUR FAITH BRINGS PLEASURE TO GOD
"But without faith, it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him". Hebrews 11:6KJV
So each time we demonstrate faith we please God! Put in another way our faith brings pleasure to God! Faith is like a small child bragging in the ability of his father to get certain things done for him. Such bragging fills the father with laughter delight and much pleasure. Each time we depend on God's ability to pull us through a situation we have not been a burden of him rather we are bringing pleasure to him!
If anything is clear in the story of the centurion, it is that the faith of this man both pleased and honored God. God delights in men’s faith. God is honored by faith when He is the object of that faith. What greater compliment to the character of God than to have men demonstrate that they have confidence in Him. Men find God trustworthy because He is worthy of men’s trust. Faith honors God. Faith pleases God. Faith is commanded by God.
Jesus seen such great faith, filled with delight, paused here to address the crowd at how delighted he was to see such great faith in Israel.
Our faith fills God with pleasure and when God is pleased our results are released!
2. FAITH BEGINS WITH WHAT YOU HEAR
Romans 10:17 tells us how faith comes,
"So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God."
And for this centurion commander, we are told how it all began for him in Luke 7:3
"And when he heard of Jesus, he sent unto him the elders of the Jews, beseeching him that he would come and heal his servant"
He heard great things about Jesus and that was where the faith began. But it must be said that not all who hears believes. John heard but didn't believe. Jesus specifically sent John disciples to tell him the things they have heard and seen (Luke 7:22). Still, this would not alter John's unbelief.
3. FAITH DEVELOPS WITH UNDERSTANDING
Great understanding is what births great faith. The centurion commander demonstrated his understanding of spiritual authority when he begins to give an analysis of how the chain of command works in the military and then he related this to Jesus' spiritual authority(Luke 7: 6-9). It was at this point the master cannot but exclaimed, "I have not seen such great faith!". This great faith was born out of great spiritual understanding.
It's not enough to hear the word, the word must be processed through meditation until it births great faith in the heart!
4. FAITH IS VALIDATED BY GREAT ACTION
The centurion didn't just show a great understanding of what he just said but by what he did. He told the master, no need to come into my house, just speak the word only. I mean the master was already on the way to his house but he sent servants to stop him in his tracks. Imagine you are to be visited by one of the great fathers of faith, and midway you ask them to stop and say a word only. That was what happened here, the faith was executed and completed by the positive step the centurion commander took.
It was the same with the pallbearer, they stood still when Jesus touched the bier. The woman's worship of Jesus' feet was a great act of faith. Our action is what lends credence to our faith! Great faith is always demonstrated by positive actions in line with the word of God!
5. FAITH IS NOT FAITH
Here we know faith is in levels! Jesus once taught of mustard seed faith but when he was confronted with the centurion commander's action he declared for all to hear, 'this is great faith in action'. Faith is in levels and the level of faith we operate determines the level of result that we command. Therefore let us upgrade our faith so we can upgrade the quality of our living, for the just shall live by faith!