Faith

The Faith of a Centurion – Matthew 8:5-13
When he had entered Capernaum, a centurion came forward to him, appealing to him, “Lord, my servant is lying paralyzed at home, suffering terribly.” And he said to him, “I will come and heal him.” But the centurion replied, “Lord, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof, but only say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I too am a man 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 this, he marveled and said to those who followed him, “Truly, I tell you, with no one in Israel have I found such faith. I tell you, many will come from east and west and recline at table with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven, while the sons of the kingdom will be thrown into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” And to the centurion Jesus said, “Go; let it be done for you as you have believed.” And the servant was healed at that very moment.

My take: Isn’t this an amazing story? These stories truly make the Bible interesting. There is so much we can glean from this passage.

1) He cares about others. The centurion is concerned about his servant, his team member. I get the feel he is true leader in every sense of the word. He has compasion and doesn’t appear pompous whatsoever.

2) He takes initiative. He sought out Jesus. The passage says, “a centurion came forward to him, appealing to him”.

3) He is meek. Don’t confuse meekness with weakness. It is humility under authority. He realizes the Lord’s power and position even under the cloak of humanity when he said, “Lord, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof. but only say the word, and my servant will be healed.” He learned from the chain of command authority and its power. He knew whom he was talking too!

4) He is full of faith. He didn’t just talk about it. He embodied faith. It so wonderful that Jesus marvelled at his faith and understanding.

God may not choose, we may not have access or we perhaps we may not posses this level of faith for amazing miracles to occur regularly but make no mistake, we will indeed all be made a new and receive glorious resurrection bodies and shall recline at Christ’s table with the patriarchs…if we believe in Him with faith as tiny as a mustard seed.

My prayer: Lord, separate from You, I can do little earthly works and nothing eternal. Help me learn and do like this centurion.

Wise man’s instruction

Pondering Proverbs 21:11 (Oct 21)
“When a scoffer is punished, the simple becomes wise; when a wise man is instructed, he gains knowledge.”

My take: there are two paths to learning. The hard and the not so hard. Here the scoffer increases in wisdom by punishment and external discipline. Yet the one who already has some sense of the attainment of wisdom still is learning but via instruction and applies internal discipline avoiding the need and pain of punishment.

My prayer: Dear Lord, help me learn from Your Word, my past experience and other’s experience. I want to be coachable and a continual learner. Lord willing, guide me and help me to avoid regret and punishment for avoidable misteps.

HEALING AND HEALED

HEALING AND HEALED

He Himself bore our sins in His body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By His wounds you have been healed.
1 Peter 2:24 ESV

RELEVANT SCRIPTURES

Romans 6:11
So you too must count yourselves dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus.

Romans 6:13
Do not present the parts of your body to sin as instruments of wickedness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and present the parts of your body to Him as instruments of righteousness.

Colossians 2:14
having canceled the debt ascribed to us in the decrees that stood against us.
He took it away, nailing it to the cross!

SELECT COMMENTARY

The Pulpit comments: Faith in the crucified Savior lifts the Christian out of the sickness of sin into the health of righteousness.

Gill eloquently writes: Sin is a disease, a natural and hereditary one, an epidemic distemper, that reaches to all men, and to all the powers and faculties of their souls, and members of their bodies; and which is nauseous and loathsome, and in itself mortal and incurable; nor can it be healed by any creature, or anything that a creature can do. Christ is the only physician, and his blood the balm and sovereign medicine; this cleanses from all sin; through it is the remission of sin, which is meant by healing; for healing of diseases, and forgiving iniquities, is one and the same thing; see Psalm 103:3 on which latter text a learned Jew (i) has this note,

His “bearing” them was in this manner: he becoming the surety and substitute of his people, their sins were laid upon him by his Father, that is, they were imputed to him, they were reckoned as his, and placed to his account; and Christ voluntarily took them upon himself; he took them to himself, as one may take the debt of another, and make himself answerable for it; or as a man takes up a burden, and lays it on his shoulders; so Christ took up our sins, and “carried” them “up”, as the word here used signifies, alluding to the priests carrying up the sacrifice to the altar, and referring to the lifting up of Christ upon the cross; whither he carried the sins of his people, and bore them, and did not sink under the weight of them, being the mighty God, and the man of God’s right hand, made strong for himself; and so made entire satisfaction for them, by enduring the wrath of God, the curse of the law, and all that punishment which was due unto them; and thereby bore them away, both from his people, and out of the sight of God, and his vindictive justice; and removed them as far as the east is from the west, and made a full end of them; and this he himself did, and not another, nor by another, or with the help of another; not by the means of a goat, as the high priest, but by himself; though he was assisted in bearing his cross, yet he had no help in bearing our sins; angels could not help him; his Father stood at a distance from him; there was none to help; his own arm brought salvation to him; but
his own self, who knew no sin, nor did any, he by himself purged away our sins, and made reconciliation for them, by bearing them:

Henry comments: The fruits of Christ’s sufferings are the death of sin, and a new holy life of righteousness; for both which we have an example, and powerful motives, and ability to perform also, from the death and resurrection of Christ. And our justification; Christ was bruised and crucified as a sacrifice for our sins, and by his stripes the diseases of our souls are cured. Here is man’s sin; he goes astray; it is his own act. His misery; he goes astray from the pasture, from the Shepherd, and from the flock, and so exposes himself to dangers without number. Here is the recovery by conversion; they are now returned as the effect of Divine grace. This return is, from all their errors and wanderings, to Christ. Sinners, before their conversion, are always going astray; their life is a continued error.

MY PONDERING

It is fascinating how deep, profound and meaningful this act was and is. Only God could come up with this strategy. Only God could execute this tactic of salvation. Who would and could have brought life from death to save the walking dead. Prior to regeneration we Christians were walking spiritual zombies. Some fake it, some make it. God tests to prove if we are legitimate and authentic. God know His own and His own know Him. His sheep know their Shepherd’s voice.

This verse also speaks that salvation is sanctification and it is also holy final imputation of Jesus’s righteousness unto us. It is a process and it is a done deal at the same time. We are to work out our salvation by fear and trembling says inspired Paul in Phil. 2:12 while at the same time, positionally in the realm of eternity, Jesus has already done it and God’s wrath has been satisfied. Work it and abide.
Trust and obey. Faith, prayer, grace and love shall save the day.

MY PRAYER

Good God, this deep and mysterious thoughts and works hurt my head and rattle my cage. You feed us with both milk and meat. Both sustain. My confidence is in Christ. Seal me with Your heavenly Spirit and kiss.

Meek not weak

Be meek not weak

A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.
Proverbs 15:1 ESV

Relevant Scripture

1 Kings 12:7
Then they spoke to him, saying, “If you will be a servant to this people today, and will serve them and grant them their petition, and speak good words to them, then they will be your servants forever.”

Proverbs 15:18
A hot-tempered man stirs up strife, But the slow to anger calms a dispute.

Proverbs 25:15
By forbearance a ruler may be persuaded, And a soft tongue breaks the bone

COMMENTARY

From Pulpits: Two things are here to be observed: an answer should be given – the injured person should not wrap himself in sullen silence; and that answer should be gentle and conciliatory. This is tersely put in a mediaeval rhyme –

“Frangitur ira gravis
Quando est respensio suavis.”

“Anger, however great,
Is checked by answer sweet.”

Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible
A soft answer turneth away wrath,…. Mild words, gentle expressions, delivered with kindness and tenderness, humility and submission; these will work upon a man’s passions, weaken his resentments, and break and scatter the storm of wrath raised in his breast, just breaking forth in a very boisterous and blustering manner; so high winds are sometimes laid by soft showers. Thus the Ephraimites were pacified by Gideon’s mild answer; and David by Abigail’s very submissive and respectful address, Judges 8:1;

Matthew Henry Commentary
15:1 A right cause will be better pleaded with meekness than with passion. Nothing stirs up anger like grievous words. 2. He that has knowledge, is to use it aright, for
the good of others.

MY PONDERING

Meekness is far from weakness. It is one thing to know, which is the start, but its only effective when practiced. To do consistently is the key. Perfection is impossible. To grow we need to:

Recognize.
Accept.
Adjust.
Apply.

This can only come from experience and it takes true wisdom.

Excellence is achieved when we master the balance of meekness and passion, remaining calm while being strong, and keeping focused on our goals while understanding God’s ultimate sovereignty.

We humans have a distinct advantages, gifts, from the rest if God’s creatures. One if which is our cognitive mind. The space between action and reaction is critical. Animals have no space. We do. We can choose our response. We should filter our reaction thru God’s Word and our personal mission. This is where success abounds.

MY PRAYER

LORD, You know I have come a ways in this regard but have quite a haul yet to travel. Empower me to be victorious and an overcomer. Thank You sweet Jesus for being my provision and advocate.

My Heart, Christ’s Home by Rob Boyd Munger

I came across this book many years ago and it really impacted me.

This may not be the best acting or production in the world but it point is undeniable and portrays Munger’s book succinctly and vividly.

Here is link to the whole book read aloud: https://youtu.be/RZ8-Sc882Yg

And you can buy it for a couple bucks here: https://www.ivpress.com/my-heart-christ-s-home-ebook

If you watched the video, listened or read the book, what do you think about it?

The bottom line…saving sinners

The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost.” 1 Timothy 1:15 ESV

Relevant Scriptures:

Mark 2:17
On hearing this, Jesus told them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”

Luke 15:2
So the Pharisees and scribes began to grumble: “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.”

Luke 19:10
For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”

Select Commentary:

Pulpit Commentary
Verse 15. – Faithful is the saying for this is a faithful saying, A.V. Faithful is the saying (πιστὸς ὁ λόγος). This formula is peculiar to the pastoral Epistles (1 Timothy 3:1; 1 Timothy 4:9; 2 Timothy 2:11; Titus 3:8), and seems to indicate that there were a number of pithy sayings, maxims, portions of hymns or of catechetical teaching, current in the Church, and possibly originating in the inspired sayings of the Church prophets, to which the apostle appeals, and to which he gives his sanction. The one appealed to here would be simply, “Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners.”

Gill’s Comments. And if a prophetic command or admonition, then surely: such an evangelical doctrine, as follows, is entitled to this character,that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; Christ came into the world, being sent by his Father, but not against his will, but with his free consent: he came voluntarily in the fullness of time into this sinful world, where he was ill treated; and this was not by local motion, or change of place, but by assumption of nature; and the end of it was, that he might be the Saviour of lost sinners, as all men are, both by Adam’s sin, and their own transgressions; though he came not to save all, for then all would be saved, whereas they are not; and if he came to save them, he must have then so far lost his end; but he came to save sinners, of all sorts, even notorious sinners, the worst and chief of sinners: and the apostle instances in himself.

My Pondering:

Pithy sayings are good for us, especially ones like this that Paul highlights. This is the most elementary truth where it all begins in regard to the New testament and the Gospel. Its easy to skim across this and take it for granted or neglect its power.

For salvation to happen, remorse and repentance are critical. We must truly feel and know to our core that we are sinners. It’s not fair that Adam and Eve’s transgressions have been passed down from one generation to the next, much like a long string of dominos we all fall. But was it fair that were we even born? Or fair, that by one great man, God in incarnate, we may all be saved by His mighty work?

Our shame and guilt is legit but doesn’t have to control and rule us. This is the glory of Jesus that the lost do not know nor comprehend. If this is foreign to you, start reading the Bible like the book of John, with all your heart soul, mind and strength and God will NOT disappoint. That is HIS promise, His guarantee.

My Prayer:

Creator of all, we trust your mercy and grace is sufficient. Enlighten and keep bright our souls. I want to be on fire for YOU!