Grace Empowers Great Faith

Matthew 8:4

And Jesus said to him, “See that you say nothing to anyone, but go, show yourself to the priest and offer the gift that Moses commanded, for a proof to them.”

This scripture is interesting because I’ve been saying previously that while Matthew starts in the New Testament, it really takes place under the Old Covenant. The New Covenant goes into effect once Jesus dies and comes back to life. Then, everything changes. Grace is in effect. But, until then, Jesus had to command those around him to continue living in the Law until the “better covenant” was made active.

This example of the leper who is healed is great example of how Jesus told others to keep doing what they are supposed to be doing as required by the Law. Once this leper was healed, Jesus commanded him to “go, show yourself to the priest and offer the gift Moses commanded, for a proof to them.” Essentially, he was saying, prove to them that you were healed by properly presenting the gift that the Law required of you.

Matthew 8:10-12

When Jesus heard this, he marveled and said to those who followed him, “Truly, I tell you, with no one in Israel have I found such faith. I tell you, many will come from east and west and recline at table with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven, while the sons of the kingdom will be thrown into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

This story of the centurion is really incredible because Jesus marvels at his response. What amazes God? This centurion’s faith amazed God. Why is that?

Immediately after marveling at this centurion’s faith, he makes a comment about those who will be reclining at the table in the kingdom of heaven. It’ll be people coming from the east and the west. It’ll be people from all around the world, like this centurion. And, those who think they are automatically accepted into heaven, the “sons of the kingdom” will be cast into outer darkness, where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth. The “sons of the kingdom” are those religious people who think they are automatically received into heaven because they follow all the rules, but their hearts don’t believe.

The centurion was a Gentile, a man who was not under the Law nor bound by any requirements of the Law. He did not follow Jewish custom or abide by their rules. He simple came to Jesus, asked him for help and then believed it would be done. “Just say the word…” I think that is why Jesus was amazed at this man’s faith. This Roman Centurion was under grace and simply believed not based on any of his own ability, or his keeping of the Law.

It takes great faith to believe in Christ and not put your trust in your ability to follow rules and “do good”. The people who will be reclining at the table of God in heaven will be those who believed, not those who obeyed.

Matthew 8:28-29

And when he came to the other side, to the country of the Gadarenes, two demon-possessed men met him, coming out of the tombs, so fierce that no one could pass that way. And behold, they cried out, “What have you to do with us, O Son of God? Have you come here to torment us before the time?”

This peak into the spiritual world is quite interesting. These demonized men saw something in Jesus that the others around him could not see. He was the son of God and had incredible authority, so much so, that the demons cried out, “Have you come here to torment us before the time?” What authority did Jesus carry that they would cry out in fear? What torment does Jesus bring to them?

How does this apply to grace? I’m not sure, but I thought it was interesting.

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