I’ve read in the bible that Jesus was astonished by the people’s lack of faith. This doesn’t surprise me. He had fulfilled all the prophecies about his birth, life and was even doing miracles as foretold. Yet, they still wouldn’t believe. What more did they need?
The good side is that Jesus was also amazed by the amount of faith others possessed and exhibited. Wouldn’t that be awesome if you were one of the people that amazed Jesus by your faith?
Let me share some examples with you of faith that amazed. The first one is the Centurion. He sent some elders to Jesus because his servant was sick and dying. This is what the bible says happened.
Luke 7: 6-10 So Jesus went with them. He was not far from the house when the centurion sent friends to say to him: “Lord, don’t trouble yourself, for I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. That is why I did not even consider myself worthy to come to you. But say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and that one, ‘Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” When Jesus heard this, he was amazed at him, and turning to the crowd following him, he said, ‘I tell you, I have not found such great faith even in Israel.” Then the men who had been sent returned to the house and found the servant well.
The centurion felt unworthy to bother Jesus with the task of helping make his servant well; but he cared about his servant so he made this request anyways. Jesus often healed people remotely, but he decided to go to the centurion’s home. The centurion was an important man with great authority, yet he didn’t want Jesus to have to come to his home. He didn’t feel worthy enough to take up the time of someone as important as Jesus.
Jesus said he hadn’t found such faith in all of Israel. Even all the disciples, who had seen his miracles up close many times, sometimes doubted. This centurion had no doubt at all. Yes, his faith was amazing.
The next one I want to mention is the Canaanite Woman.
Matthew 15: 22-28 A Canaanite woman from that vicinity came to him, crying out, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is suffering terribly from demon-possession.” Jesus did not answer a word. So his disciples came to him and urged him, “Send her away, for she keeps crying out after us.” He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.” The woman came and knelt before him. “Lord, help me!” she said. He replied, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to their dogs.” “Yes, Lord,” she said, “but even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.” Then Jesus answered, “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.” And her daughter was healed from that very hour.
What an amazing story! This woman, in front of everyone, was crying out to Jesus. It had to be humiliating to admit her daughter was demon-possessed in front of all the disciples and who ever else was there. She didn’t care. Even when Jesus ignored her, she kept crying out after the disciples, wanting to speak to Jesus.
Even after Jesus says he was only sent to the lost sheep of Israel, she was not deterred. She knew Jesus could help her and she wasn’t going to stop. He basically was saying he wouldn’t help her, but she gets down on her knees and cries out “Lord, help me!”
Again, she gets turned down. He basically is comparing helping her to helping the dogs. Wow! What an insult! She doesn’t quit. “Yes, Lord.” (She even calls him Lord and Master after he insults her) “but even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.”
Jesus was right when he exclaimed. “Woman, you have great faith!”
To be honest with you, I used to think Jesus was being kind of harsh with this woman. He ignored her. He said he didn’t come to help her people. He compared her to the dogs. His treatment of her shocked me. I didn’t get it until I heard a minister speak about this story in the bible.
He said the Jewish people sometimes had an attitude towards the Canaanites and other nations. They were kind of proud of being the chosen people and thought they were above others. The minister felt that Jesus did this on purpose to show the disciples and others what their snobbery looked like. He also was trying to get through to them that he was the Savior of all people. Even those that they looked down on were precious in his sight. He came for the Jews and the Gentiles – all people.
The third example I want to give is the woman with an issue of blood.
Luke 8: 42-48 As Jesus was on his way, the crowds almost crushed him. And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years, but no one could heal her. She came up behind him and touched the edge of his cloak, and immediately her bleeding stopped. “Who touched me?” Jesus asked. When they all denied it, Peter said, “Master, the people are crowding and pressing against you.” But Jesus said, “Someone touched me. I know that power has gone out from me.” Then the woman, seeing that she could not go unnoticed, came trembling and fell at his feet. In the presence of all the people, she told why she had touched him and how she had been instantly healed. Then he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace.”
This story starts out with Jesus being followed by a crowd, which was usual. However, it says the crowds almost crushed him. Now, that’s a crowd!
There was a woman who had been bleeding for twelve years. I’m not a doctor, but I can imagine losing that much blood non-stop would drain your energy and take a toll on you. Yet, she was so desperate to get to him that she finds the strength to press through this crushing crowd just to touch the hem of his garment. She knows she won’t be able to get to talk to him, but only… only if she could just touch the hem of his garment!
(I want to give you a couple verses you can look up if you want to learn more about the tassels on a priests garment, because we don’t know if she went for the tassels because that’s all she could reach or if she specifically went for the tassels because of what she had heard about them. Numbers 15: 38-41 and Mark 6:56.)
Getting back to the story….
Jesus whirls around (I imagine) to see who touched him. “Who touched me?” he asks. They all denied it and you can almost hear the sarcasm and unbelief in Peter’s voice when he says, “Master, the people are crowding and pressing against you.” Peter is confused why Jesus would ask such a thing, considering the crowd and everyone pressing against them.
Jesus ignores Peter. He’s on a mission now. He has to find the person that he just healed. He wants to know who had such strong faith that power would go out from him without them even asking him.
The woman sees that he is looking for her and she came trembling and fell at his feet. To know why she was so terrified, you have to understand her circumstances. A woman who was bleeding was considered ceremonially unclean. They couldn’t worship in the synagogue. They couldn’t touch anyone because they would become ceremonially unclean too. Yet, here she was, out in this crowd and she touched the hem of Jesus, the Messiah!
She confessed in front of everyone what she did. (Basically, admitting she broke a ceremonially law and she was ceremonially unclean). Lastly, she tells how she was instantly healed. She knew this immediately.
She doesn’t know how Jesus will respond.
“Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace,” he said to her.
I don’t know about you, but these stories inspired me. Do I have a faith as strong as these people? I sure hope so, but I honestly don’t know.
The more I learn about Jesus, the more I trust in him. So, maybe that’s the secret – getting to know him.