Matthew 8:10

“When Jesus heard it, He marveled, and said to those who followed, “Assuredly, I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel!” (Matthew 8:10, NKJV).

There are two occasions recorded in the gospels where Jesus is said to “marvel.” This word suggests “wonder” or “admiration.” The first occasion is an instance of positive admiration. The Roman centurion in Matthew 8 displays qualities which causes Jesus to exclaim, “Assuredly, I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel!” (also recorded in Luke 7:1-10). What impressed Jesus was the centurion’s complete trust in the power of the Lord to heal his paralyzed, home-bound servant. The centurion tells Jesus: “But only speak a word, and my servant will be healed” (Matthew 8:8). This centurion had total trust in the power of Jesus Christ!

Yet, on another occasion, the “wonder” of Jesus is more like the wonder we see as we pass by a violent accident or weather phenomenon. We “marvel” at the damage and carnage but there is a sadness to the scene. We “marvel” at the damage a tornado leaves behind or a hurricane leaves in its path or a race car causes as it hits a wall. Similarly, as Jesus came upon his hometown of Nazareth “He marveled because of their unbelief” (Mark 6:6). It was shocking to Jesus that, despite the miracles and “mighty works” these people were still skeptical and unbelieving (6:1-5). It was a spiritual tragedy.

This article is not just about how Jesus viewed others historically though. As the Lord views our lives, He may be filled with horrific “wonder” or beatific “admiration.” Our faith will determine His response. Some may live lives of such reckless faithlessness that the impenitent damage they leave in their sinful wake is appalling to view. Yet, others may live lives of such fervent and fruitful faithfulness that the grace they bestow upon the world around them is truly a beautiful thing to behold.

One day, each of us will stand before “the judgment seat of Christ” (Romans 14:10). When we stand before Jesus, will He reveal our “little faith” or applaud our “great faith?” In the midst of this broken world, may you turn to Jesus for the sure and true answers to life’s problems! This is the faith of the Roman centurion. This is the “great faith” which makes Jesus marvel!