After he had finished all his sayings in the hearing of the people, he entered Capernaum. Now a centurion had a servant who was sick and at the point of death, who was highly valued by him. When the centurion heard about Jesus, he sent to him elders of the Jews, asking him to come and heal his servant. And when they came to Jesus, they pleaded with him earnestly, saying, “He is worthy to have you do this for him, for he loves our nation, and he is the one who built us our synagogue.” And Jesus went with them. When he was not far from the house, the centurion sent friends, saying to him, “Lord, do not trouble yourself, for I am not worthy to have you come under my roof. Therefore I did not presume to come to you. But say the word, and let my servant be healed. For I too am a man set under authority, with 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.” When Jesus heard these things, he marveled at him, and turning to the crowd that followed him, said, “I tell you, not even in Israel have I found such faith.” And when those who had been sent returned to the house, they found the servant well. Luke 7:1-10
I have decided to start a new religion. One must first become a centurion before they can be saved. I think I have ample evidence from today’s verses. After all does Jesus not say that “I tell you, not even in Israel have I found such faith.” So from that it seems reasonable to think first we become a Roman centurion and then we can be saved. Ok, by now some of you may be wondering if I have received a blow to the head recently. Rest assured I have no intention of setting up a centurion based religion. What I hoped to point out once again is the danger of taking the words in the Bible out of context.
Over the last three weeks I have been dealing with a commentator on my blog who is convinced that Judas not Jesus is the way to salvation and ultimately God. What is his evidence for this belief? He takes verses out of the Bible away from their context and then weaves them into his infatuation with Judas. I feel deep down he has had some unfortunate experience with Christians and wants more than anything to undercut the Christian faith. Christians do the same thing. We have a pet theory or belief we want supported by the Bible so we search until we find a verse that seems to support us and then pull it out of God’s Word for all to see.
God’s Word is not meant to parcel out in bits and drabs in order to support what we believe. It is meant to be taken whole so that we can learn what God is trying to teach us. There are no hidden meanings that only a select few are privileged or smart enough to understand, that is Gnosticism. There are no secret coded that need modern computers to understand. God’s Word is accessible to all if we read it with a mind open to His Word.
Today Jesus is not teaching us that we need to be a Roman centurion in order to receive salvation. No, Jesus is teaching the people at the time who have been clamoring for miracle in order to believe that here is a man who takes Jesus at His word. This man see no reason for Jesus to come to his home to heal the servant in fact the Roman centurion feel unworthy to have Jesus in his home. The Roman centurion is willing to have Jesus speak the words and he knows that then the servant will be healed. The Roman centurion shows true faith. He has witnessed or heard about the miracles Jesus has performed so he has faith that Jesus can do what He claims to be able to do. The Roman centurion needs no further evidence.
I have been reading the book True Reason: Confronting the Irrationality of the New Atheism edited by edited by Tom Gilson and Carson Weitnauer. The short essays I am currently reading concern faith specifically Christian faith. What the writers want to get across is that Christian faith is not a belief in spite of the evidence but a faith that the evidence we have been given is enough to believe in God and Jesus and what the Bible teaches us. I do not have to accept that Christianity is true because my pastor, friends, family or others tell me so. I can accept that Christianity is true because we have the eyewitness accounts of people who lived when Jesus lived. We have the scientific proof that the universe was created. We can see God’s handiwork all around us as the universe shouts out that a creator exists. Do we have all the proof that there ever could be, no we do not. But we do have enough that when Jesus tell us to love God with all our heart, soul and mind we need not check our brains at the church door. Blind Faith is a good name for a 60”s English rock band but it should not describe a Christian.
Have a blessed day,
Once I finish True Reason I will post a review on my blog. So far I have found it worth my time.