Daily Devotional

Thursday, May 23, 2019

The Centurion’s Faith

When Jesus heard him, he was amazed and said to those who followed him, ‘Truly I tell you, in no one in Israel have I found such faith.'     Matthew 8:10

It took a lot to impress Jesus. When we consider all that Jesus has done for us, it would be beyond presumptuous to assume that any of our actions might fill Jesus with amazement. Unless, of course, we find some new way to amaze Jesus with the depths to which we are willing to sink in our relationships with others and with God! It must be a very rare occasion when Jesus is pleasantly surprised by our actions.

However, we are told that a Roman centurion’s willingness to believe, without much evidence to support his faith, filled Jesus with a degree of awe. The Gospels tell us that believing without seeing did serve to impress Jesus. Being able to trust God when you are filled with a world of doubt is an act of faith that is deeply moving to Jesus.

Are you generally inclined toward doubt or faith?

Lord, I like to have all the facts in front of me before I am willing to take a leap of faith. However, that is not faith; that is a desire for knowledge. I long for evidence while you request belief. Help me to set my needs aside so that I can pursue your desires  . . . perhaps even to your amazement. In Jesus’ name, I pray. AMEN.



With Whom Do You Eat?

When the Pharisees saw this, they said to [Jesus'] disciples, "Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?"      Matthew 9:11

In school there was always the “cool kids’ table.” Maybe you sat at it, maybe you didn’t, but you remember the table. In fact, there were likely a few “cool” tables, each varying by degrees of popularity. The cool table. The really cool table. The super cool table. The rest of the tables, at which the vast majority of kids sat, were entirely forgettable. Every kid’s dream was to move up to a better table, but that rarely happened. You sat where you sat. Your friends were your friends. And either you were either cool or you were not. There was little comingling between cliques.

That was the remarkable thing about Jesus. Jesus broke down barriers. He sat with people he shouldn’t have. He took interest in people others had forgotten about. And he took flack for it. Jesus was the guy who was more than willing to move from the cool table to a less desirable table, and most people couldn’t understand why. Jesus had a soft spot in his heart for those who found themselves on the outside of the in-group . . . and so does God.

Who do you need to spend some time with this week? 

Lord, there are people I avoid. There are people I make fun of. There are people I can’t stand to be around. In truth, I am fairly certain there are people who feel the same way about me. Give me the strength, courage, and resolve to sit with people who the world would like to forget about. Help me to care about people, like you do. In your name, I pray. AMEN.