INI + AMEN.
Our text today is all about faith. Now, what is faith? Where does it come from? Simply put, faith isn’t a thing at all. It’s trust, trust in Jesus. The centurion had faith: he trusted that Christ was merciful, was the Savior, would rescue his honored servant because that’s just the sort of Jesus He is. Now, how did he get his faith, his trust in Jesus? Well, that’s easy. “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of Christ.” This was certainly true for the centurion. “After [Jesus] had finished all his sayings in the hearing of the people, he entered Capernaum…When the centurion heard about Jesus, he sent to him elders of the Jews, asking him to come and heal his servant. ” The centurion had heard of Jesus and what Jesus had to say. His faith was borne out of what he had heard. He received Christ’s Word. So also you! You’ve received His water Word, His absolution Word, His body-and-blood Word. Now, in the end the centurion’s faith was praised by Jesus. Why? Well, it all has to do with what faith, borne of Christ’s Word, does. From our text, from the centurion, and from Christ’s praise of the centurion’s Spirit-worked faith, we believe, teach, and confess that
FAITH SEEKS OUT A WORD FROM JESUS.
((I. Faith is always pointed in a Jesus-ward direction.))
That’s right! Faith, trust in Christ, that’s worked by the Spirit through the Word, in turn looks only to Christ, only seeks Him out, wants to hear a Word from Him. Nothing else will do! Only Jesus and His Word. Faith doesn’t talk about itself. Doesn’t point to itself. There is no power in “faith.” There’s power in Jesus, the One we have faith in. The One we trust has salvation. Faith clings to Him, receives the salvation He offers. The only thing faith sees in us is nothing, but in Jesus it sees everything. Faith borne of the Word says things like, “Lord, do not trouble Yourself, for I am not worthy that You should enter under my roof. Therefore I did not even think myself worthy to come to You.” Oh, the Jews thought him worthy of Jesus’ help, but the centurion knew the truth—confessed it even! There was nothing in him—all rested in Jesus Christ alone, the Savior of the World. Now, just because faith sees nothing in itself doesn’t mean it’s timid—quite the opposite, actually! Faith is bold. Faith sees all good, blessing, forgiveness, and salvation in Christ. The centurion is very bold. He bosses Jesus around a bit! “Say the word,” he says, “and my servant will be healed. For I also am a man placed under authority, having 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.” “Don’t come, Jesus. I know how it works. Those who are under my command follow my orders. You’re here to be the Savior. So, be the Savior! Say the Word. I trust your Word.”
((II. Jesus is always pointed in an us-ward direction.))
Faith always looks to Jesus. He’s a good place to look. He’s the one to trust in. Why? He’s FOR YOU, that’ why! Jesus always seeks out your salvation. That’s what the centurion heard about Jesus. It’s what we confess about Jesus, “For us men, and for our salvation.” Jesus knows our need. When He’s sent from the Father, He comes. He’s born. When asked by the centurion, Jesus doesn’t dilly-dally. He goes! “Jesus went with them.” There was no need to butter Jesus up with “He’s worthy for you to do this…” He helps the unworthy. He saves the unloveable. He goes to rescue centurion’s servant! He’s saved you too. He seeks out your salvation. He’s under orders to do it. He must die. He must rise. He must save you. It’s the will of the Father who sent Him. He saves you. No need to look to anything in ourselves at all. Not how nice we are. Not how good we are. Not how worthy we think we are, or how worthy others think we are! He’s the Savior. He saves us in spite of all that stuff. Then He delivers it too! “Say the word, and let my servant be healed.” That’s how Jesus delivers salvation! The servant was well when they got back to the house. Jesus delivers His salvation to you. He does it with His Word: His water Word, His absolution Word, His body-and-blood Word. His Word in those places delivers salvation, forgiveness, body and blood for your forgiveness, life, and salvation.
Faith borne from His Word, seeks His Word, lives and is strengthened by His Word. When in need, faith is bold to ask Jesus, knowing He’s merciful and gracious. Faith trusts that He is. How is He not? Sent from the Father, He died and rose. He sends the Spirit in His Word: His water, absolution, body-and-blood Word. There faith is created and sustained. Jesus is that sort of Savior. Faith sees nothing in itself. Everything in Jesus. It trusts in Him, seeks Him, clings to Him—only Him! This trust, borne out of Jesus’ Word, is the sort of faith Jesus praises. It’s the sort of trust He’s given to you, the sort of trust that He strengthens you in even unto life everlasting.
INI + AMEN.