Luke 7:9 (NIV)
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.”
Jesus, You have seen it all. There are few things that truly amaze You. Yet, the thing that gets Your attention the most is a life of great faith – the stranger who has no reason to believe and yet does any way. From the most unexpected places comes a man who demonstrates faith beyond reason.
A solider who knows what it means to be in authority and under authority, he knows that You don’t have to be physically present for a miracle to occur. He knows that there is power in your mere words alone. For by Your words, You formed all of the things on the earth. While the religious leaders of Israel rejected Your power, this Roman centurion recognized Your authority and called on You to restore his greatest treasure – his only daughter.
Just like the Roman Centurion, may I live a life of great faith. While all others doubt, may I believe. May I speak words of faith in the face of death and great loss. No matter the circumstances, may I know that You have the power to redeem all things. Like the Centurion, I am a stranger in this world. This is not my homeland. And yet, my I have faith to believe in the impossible despite the wailing cries of others who see no hope. Amen!
Mark 1:40-41 (NIV)
A man with leprosy came to him and begged him on his knees, “If you are willing, you can make me clean.” Jesus was indignant.* He reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!”
Footnote: * Many manuscripts render “Jesus was filled with compassion.”
Jesus, You are so willing to do more than we can think or imagine. There is no limit to Your love for Your people. Though we doubt and frequently approach You only at our darkest hour, You are faithful. There is nothing beyond Your ability or grasp.
Like a sheep to the slaughter, we wrestle with things from which You desire to deliver us. You desire for Your people to approach Your throne boldly because You are the new and living way. But my sin and the pressure of peering eyes causes me to be distant. You offer a healing touch, but my doubts get in the way. May I believe for what You so desire to give to Your beloved.
You burn with such zeal for Your people that our distance leads You to anger. You become indignant at my request because it is mixed with doubt, fear and self loathing. I am unclean, unclean. Yet, You say, “I have made you clean, clean, clean!”
Lord, forgive me for my doubt. Free me to receive Your grace. And provoke me to ask for that which I know I do not deserve. May I realize that You are truly good. May I discover in my heart that Your generosity and compassion is beyond measure. Amen!