What is great faith? How do you define it? Is great faith the person who trusts God to do what they want him to, or the person that leaves everything to fate? Is great faith the person who has all the blessings or the person who seems to constantly be under attack? Do we have answers to those questions? Do we understand faith?
In Luke 7, Jesus helps us do just that. He gives us an example of great faith, coming from a very unlikely source. One of only two people in all of Scripture Jesus commends for having a great faith, this Roman centurion (an accomplished military man) shows what it means to trust.
You see, he has a concern - his servant is on death's door. But he knows where to look for help - Jesus. And rather than going along with his friends' request on his behalf, showing how he deserved help from Jesus, he makes it clear that anything Jesus gives would be grace upon grace. He wasn't looking to himself or his actions. He truly looked to Jesus - the only one who could help.
Just compare the two requests: "This man deserves to have you do this for him," and "I do not deserve to have you come under my roof." If we are trusting in Jesus, let's take the example of this centurion of great faith and drop all of our claims for credit, truly leaning on him.
And when we do, we see that faith has a point. Just trusting for the sake of trusting doesn't do a whole lot of good unless you trust something trustworthy. You see, the centurion has a second lesson for us. Great faith trusts the word. As Jesus was coming to him, the centurion sent the message to Jesus, "Say the word, and my servant will be healed."
The centurion knew that it was not about some fancy ritual or show that Jesus would put on - "just say the word Jesus." He knew God's word was trustworthy. Think about the power of that word. In Genesis, we hear that word say, "Let there be..." and our universe came to be. In
And then, the word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. Jesus came, as the ultimate communication from God, and his word never failed, but brought health to the leper and sight to the blind, hope to the helpless and life to the dead. And then with that single word, as his blood poured into the puddle at the foot of the cross where our sins used to be, he declared it all "finished."
One word, and God had kept his word ... perfectly, and put into his word for all time -- power. And now our faith has something to trust.
That is what great faith is. It looks to our God. It trusts his word. There, there is power.