Jentezen Franklin - What's Great Faith Can Do
I'm reading from Matthew 7. "And a certain centurion servant," Luke 7:2, "who was dear to him", some translations say: "Whom he loved," "was sick and ready to die. So when he heard about Jesus, he sent elders of the Jews to Him, pleading with Him to come and heal his servant". "And when they came to Jesus, he begged Him earnestly, saying that the one for whom He should do this," they said: "was deserving," or he's worthy. Listen to the reason, Luke 7:5: "For he loves our nation, and he has built us a synagogue". These are the elders of Israel saying, "This is why he's worthy," is he loves the nation, and he's built us churches, we would say.
"Then Jesus went with them. And when He was already not far from the house, the centurion sent friends to Him, saying to Him, 'Lord, do not trouble Yourself, I am not worthy that You should enter into my roof. Therefore I did not even think myself worthy to come to You. But speak the word," say the word: "and my servant will be healed. For I also am a man placed under authority, having soldiers under me. And I say to one, 'Come,' and he comes; and one, 'Go,' and he goes; and one, 'Do this,' and, 'Do that,' and they do it.'" Listen to Luke 7:9. "When Jesus heard these things, He marveled at him", it's the only place in all the Bible that's found. He marveled at him. It didn't happen for any of the disciples, it didn't happen for any of the miracles. It didn't happen for any other occasion in all the Holy Bible where God marveled at him, who was him? A centurion. A Roman soldier. He marveled at him: "and turned around and said to the crowd that followed Him, 'I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel!' And those who were sent, returning to the house, and the servant was well who had been sick".
This amazing story happened as Jesus walked off of preaching perhaps the most famous sermon He would ever preach, the Sermon on the Mount, the Sermon of Beatitudes. He had just taught one of the great things of that message, to love your enemies, to do good to those who oppress you. And now, He walks off of that sermon platform, in the mountains of the northern part of Jerusalem, and He walks into His hometown of Capernaum, and the elders of Israel come, and they say, "Go to this Roman soldier's house, and pray for his servant". Pray for him, because he loves this country. Pray for him, because he's given enormous resources and built us a synagogue, and he's not even one of us. He's a Gentile, he's a Roman soldier, a part of the people who are oppressing and who are absolutely overstepping over and on us, and we're under their dominion and control, and Jesus had just taught, love your enemies.
Jesus had just taught, pray for those who do wrong, and now, it's kinda like, I guess He might've thought, well, I just preached that, I might as well go, but it's interesting that the thing that they came and said, "He's worthy of a miracle," because he loves our nation, number one, we ought to love Israel. Number two, and he's built our church. He's given of his enormous resources, and we wouldn't have our synagogue without this man using the resources that he has. And a synagogue was just where the law was taught. It's just where the morality and the morals of the Old Testament were taught, the Ten Commandments were taught, the five books of the Old Testament were taught. And he liked that, he liked that better than the religion of the Romans.
And what I want you to understand is there's three quick things that caused this man to stand out. This is what great faith can do, that's what I'm preaching on. This is what great faith can do. This man had three things that caught the attention of Jesus and caused Him to marvel. The word marvel means to be astonished. The word marvel means to be amazed, and to stand in awe. One translation said to take the breath away. Can you imagine, God in the skin of human man, veiled in flesh, was so moved, not by a preacher, not by a disciple, not by a rabbi, not by a scholar of the Torah, not by someone who performed great miracles, but a man who was not even, I wanna call him a non-religious man. Exercised so much faith in what Jesus, who he was and what he was able to do, that Jesus said, "I'm not impressed with titles, and I'm not impressed with religion, and I'm not impressed with how many scriptures you can quote, and how many praise songs you sing that you really don't mean, because you really don't believe that God will do anything that was beyond normal".
But when He saw a non-religious guy look at Him and say, "Don't come to my house". They said he's worthy, but he said, "I'm not worthy". And the closer I get to You, because as Jesus started getting close to his house, the closer you get to Jesus, anything in you that's proud and anything in you that's arrogant, and anything inside of you that says I'm worthy, look at me, I'm wonderful, God ought to bless me. I don't understand why You haven't answered my prayer. I did this, I gave my tithe, I did that, I did that. And the closer you get to Jesus, the more you see your own sinfulness, and the more you see His holiness, and the more you understand, I'm not worthy, You're the worthy Lamb that was slain, and everything I get, I deserve only because of Your blood and the Cross and the death and the resurrection of Jesus Christ. I don't deserve anything.
Well, we've been going to church all these years and God ought to do something for, you don't deserve anything. All of your righteousness is as filthy rags, but when you look at Him and you say, "His blood deserves a miracle. His blood deserves my family being saved. His suffering on the Cross absolutely is worthy of a healing in my life". Worthy is the Lamb. And when this man, a non-religious man, said, when Jesus was getting close to his house, notice what he loved, he loved his country, he loved the country that he was in, and I just wanna pause, and I wanna say I still love America. I still love the red, white, and blue. I still get tears in my eyes when I see a mother get a flag, and know that her son died for our nation. I still love the National Anthem, and I stand for it, and put my hand on my heart. I'm not ashamed to say I love, this is the greatest nation in the world. He loved the nation he was in, notice what else he loved, he loved the church, and he gave to build it of himself. And he loved his servant.
What kinda person marvels Jesus? Astonishes Jesus? Number one, a person who has great love for his country, for Israel, not only that, but he loved the synagogue. He loved the church. He loved it. It was the center. We ought to make church, it still ought to be something we cherish. And then, he loved his servant. I read something interesting this week, when I was looking into this. A centurion was someone who was over at least 100 soldiers that were under him. A centurion, in the Roman army, was someone who was not allowed to be married. When he was elevated to that position, it meant that he would give up the right to be married and have a family, because he knew, eventually, he would be sent to foreign soil, because the Roman empire was ever-expanding, and he would be required to stay and be stationed at that place for up to 20 years, never to come back home from that place that he had been assigned to.
And so, servants and people that he took with him became like family to them often, one commentary said. They were their family. And so, when one of his servants whom he loved got sick, he loved him. And Jesus was astonished and marveled at this man, because of his great love, but secondly, his great humility. Because the elders said he's worthy for You to go in his house and do a miracle. But the man said, in the text, "I didn't even feel worthy to come to You. And now, that You're coming to me, I don't feel worthy that You would come under my roof". I got a sneaky suspicion, he probably was thinking to himself, I've got altars and images and statues to gods that I burn incense and make blood sacrifices to. Just like all the Romans did. They're all in my home, they're all out in my yard and in my garden. I worship all kinds of gods. And He's a holy, He is God in the flesh, He is, I sense this is the God of all gods, the King of all kings, and I'm not worthy that He would come in.
That's humility. Humility says, Lord, I'm not worthy, but You're worthy. And then, lastly, he had great faith. And when Jesus approached his house and they told him what the man said, he said, "Just tell Him to speak the word only, and my servant will be healed". What he was saying was, I know who You are. And Jesus, the Bible said, did something that the angels couldn't make Him do, the sun, the moon, the stars could not make Him do, nobody in the scriptures made him do. Nothing that happened in all of creation made Him marvel, it never says after He created something or He did something or He performed some miracle, "And God marveled on His throne". The only time that God Almighty marveled is when He saw a non-religious man who recognized who He was behind that veil of flesh, listen, and the power of His spoken word to do what He said it would do. And the Bible said that it took the breath away of Jesus for a moment, it stunned Him. It astounded Him, and God, or Jesus, marveled. He stepped back and said, "Wow". Not in all of Israel, with all these religious people, have I ever seen faith like this.
The only thing that can make God be astonished and stun God and marvel God is a mere man who recognizes who He is, and that the power of what He says, He can make it happen. And He said, "Go, because your servant is healed". And they went back, and the servant was healed. A non-religious man believed, and it marveled Jesus. A mere man could make God Almighty marvel, and when Jesus marvels, it ought to make us meditate on why. Anybody that can marvel God, blow God's mind. The magnificent earth, full of mystery and beauty, sea life, plant life, animal life, human life, the physical body. The earth is just His foot stool. The star, Teres, is able to swallow up 64 million suns, greater than the one sun that we have over earth. The star, Epsilon, is 3.000 times the size of our sun. Our closest star to planet earth is 26 trillion miles away. The furthest star is 59 septillion miles away. We are just a speck, planet earth, in the big picture of all of God's creation. But none of that stuff marvels God, none of that stuff astonishes God. God is not impressed.
As a matter of fact, this blows my mind. When God got ready to take credit for all creation, and He wanted to mention, "I made the stars, too," this is what He said. He used five words. "He made the stars also". No big deal. I created all living things, and by the way, just as a footnote, I made the stars also. That's how big and bad I am. So, nothing in this universe made God marvel, but when a man, when a woman, when a mother, when a dad, when a teenager, when a young person stands up and says, "I believe what God has spoken to me, He's going to bring to pass". God says, "Oh, My goodness, I'm astonished. They believe it. They don't just say it, they believe it". They don't just sing it, they believe it. Does anybody want to astonish Jesus by believing His word? Hallelujah. When you stand and you say, Lord, I'm still confident. I don't see it, I don't feel it, I don't understand it, I don't have answers, but I'm still confident, I still trust You, I still praise You, I still honor You. You make Jesus Christ be astonished and stunned.
Seas parting. The Red Sea becoming like jello. I'm sure there was a little, snotty-nosed kid in the children of Israel, when they were walking through on dry ground, that had to poke it one time, and it would just tremble and shake like jello, standing up on both sides, and they're walking across, but God did not marvel. A donkey opened his mouth and preached to the prophet Balaam, and God did not marvel. A whale swallowed a man for three days and spit him up afterwards, and he came out like a raisin, with no hair, and all shriveled up, and came out, preaching. No eyebrows, you know all those acids had eaten everything away, and he's just, he looked like some kind of weirdo, but he, "Repent". I would've repented if I saw that. But God did not marvel. An ax head, doing the back stroke across the Jordan River, and God did not marvel. A bush, burning and lighting up in the wilderness, and saying, "Take off your shoes. You're standing on holy ground".
I would marvel, but burning bushes didn't marvel God. 26.000 tons of manna every morning at the tent door of the Israelites for 40 years didn't marvel God. Water coming out of rocks didn't marvel God. Dead men being raised like Lazarus didn't marvel God, but when someone says, "Lord, speak the word only, and I don't know how You're gonna provide, I don't know how You're gonna deliver, I don't know how You're gonna work a miracle, but I believe in You and Your ability to get it done". Come on, somebody, with a shout of praise. The devil didn't think you would come to church and praise God like you're praising Him.
Old Jehoshaphat got a bad, bad letter from Sennacherib. Evil king, he said, "I've got 600 chariots of iron, and I'm gonna run all over you". And he sent it in a letter, he took the letter to the temple. Put it on the altar. Looked up to heaven and said, "God, we got mail". 'Cause You put me here, and I know You're good, and I know You're faithful, and I know You love me, and I don't understand this attack, and I don't understand this letter, I don't understand this x-ray, I don't understand this news, I don't understand these dark days. But I know You're working all things together for the good. And so, God said, "Well, I'll tell you what to do, Jehoshaphat. Take the praise singers and tell 'em to get out on the frontline, and don't send any weapons with 'em, just give 'em a tambourine and give 'em a harp and give 'em a violin, give 'em a guitar, and a saxophone, and tell 'em to get out there, and do nothing but talk about how good I am, and how merciful I am, and how I'm a generational God, and My mercy endures from one generation to another".
I don't care what the times bring, don't care what the culture brings, don't care what evil brings, don't care what Antichrist wants to bring. Bring it on, greater is He that is in us than he that is in the world. And the Bible said when they got out there and they started praising God, that's why what we're doing in here, it's more than the loud, annoying person behind you, while you're trying to soak it all in. No, sometimes, you don't understand. That's a former alcoholic. That's a former jail bird. That one on your right over there, look at him, he's a former alcoholic, that one was a manic-depressive, that one was lost, that one was sick and dying of COVID, but here they are, in church this morning. You don't know why people are so noisy, you need to leave them alone. The Bible said, "Rejoice with them that rejoice". Uh-oh. That means if anybody on your row starts rejoicing, you have a biblical mandate to jump in and say, "I don't even know what we're shouting about, but let's go". Let's go.