Usually, when the word “marvel” is used in the New Testament, it describes a person’s reaction to seeing God’s supernatural activity. For example, in Luke 24, Peter marveled at the empty tomb. The word means to be astonished or amazed, to have a sense of wonder.
Twice, the word is used to describe Jesus’ reaction. In Mark 6:6, Jesus was amazed at the unbelief of the people. In Luke 7:9, Jesus was amazed at a Roman Centurion.
What was it about this man that made Jesus marvel? In Luke 7, Jesus had just finished teaching near the Sea of Galilee, and then went to nearby Capernaum, where he was met by a group of Jewish leaders bringing an urgent plea from a Roman centurion.
The centurion’s servant was near death, and he wanted Jesus to heal his servant. Word of previous healings had reached the army officer, and he cared enough about this servant that he wanted his health restored.
As the story unfolds, this man acknowledged Jesus’ authority, and said, “For I am a man placed under authority, having soldiers under me . . .” (Luke 7:8).
He understood how authority worked. If his authority produced the results it did, then how much more impact would Jesus’ authority have? How much more could Jesus accomplish?
Jesus marveled at the man’s response, turned to the crowd and said, “I have not found such a great faith, not even in Israel” (Luke 7:9). Not even among the Jews, who were supposed to be people of faith, had Jesus observed such amazing faith.
What does amazing faith look like? From this story, we see amazing faith recognizes the power of God, and that God can do anything.
What are some other qualities of amazing faith? Amazing faith believes God is in control. Do you believe God is in control? If so, then why do we worry so much? Do we worry because, even though we believe God is in control, we don’t believe God is in control of our situation? That God will not come through for us?
Worry undermines faith. Worry causes us to cross bridges that we haven’t even come to yet. Jesus said that worry is futile and adds no value to our lives. We cannot worry and trust God.
Also, amazing faith believes God guides. Psalms 32:8 reads, “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go. I will guide you with my eye.”
God promises to direct our paths, IF we will acknowledge Him (Proverbs 3:5, 6).
God doesn’t always use a neon light, does He? Often God’s guidance unfolds when we’re not even conscious of it. It’s when we look backwards that we connect the dots and realize that God was guiding us all along. God arranges circumstances. God places key people in our paths. God brings the right counsel at precisely the right time.
In addition, amazing faith believes God provides. Where God guides, He always provides. God works primarily through people to accomplish His purposes, advance His kingdom, and to provide for the needs of His people. He knows our needs before we ask, and He orchestrates circumstances to make provision arrive at just the right time.
When David Jeremiah and his wife left for Dallas Seminary as a young couple to prepare for the ministry, he went to close out his checking account and discovered he was overdrawn by $80. He was very careful with is money and couldn’t believe he was overdrawn, and had to come up with $80 just to close the account.
They had enough money for two weeks. In Dallas, they got jobs during the second week, but would have to wait two more weeks for their paychecks. So about three weeks into their seminary experience, they didn’t have a penny.
They lived on macaroni and cheese dinners until they couldn’t afford those. They were just beginning to stress when they received a letter:
“We just went through our monthly audit, and we have discovered that we deposited one of your deposits into your father’s account. Here is a check for $210. Please forgive the inconvenience.”
Jeremiah thought, “It’s not an inconvenience. God just sent it ahead and banked it for us until we needed it.” (Jeremiah, Investing for Eternity, p. 106).
Does your faith make Jesus marvel?
(Dr. David L. Chancey is pastor, McDonough Road Baptist Church, 352 McDonough Road, Fayetteville, Georgia. Join them this Sunday for Bible study at 9:45 a.m. and worship at 10:55 a.m. Visit them online at www.mcdonoughroad.org and like them on Facebook).