Luke – Doors Wide Open!
Jesus was sent from God to seek and to save the lost who do not know God or have turned away from God in their thinking and behaving. John tells us what God fully intended to solidify this mission, “For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16, NLT)
Did you get that? EVERYONE in the world that God created has the opportunity to come to Christ, be healed, be restored from being broken, and be found so they are no longer lost without Him.
Everyone who believes and follows is set free from the chains of the past, of sins and degradation thinking, of living life aimlessly, and of not knowing their purpose for life. Jesus has the power to heal and He does it well while on earth. He became so famous for His healing and compassion that a Roman officer has taken notice and believes, without even meeting him face to face! Yes, Jesus is amazing, wonderful, loves to the extreme, forgiving of all and has the power to heal and restore.
So what AMAZES Jesus? Listen to this!
Luke 7, New Living Translation
The Faith of a Roman Officer
7 When Jesus had finished saying all this to the people, he returned to Capernaum. 2 At that time the highly valued slave of a Roman officer was sick and near death. 3 When the officer heard about Jesus, he sent some respected Jewish elders to ask him to come and heal his slave. 4 So they earnestly begged Jesus to help the man. “If anyone deserves your help, he does,” they said, 5 “for he loves the Jewish people and even built a synagogue for us.”
6 So Jesus went with them. But just before they arrived at the house, the officer sent some friends to say, “Lord, don’t trouble yourself by coming to my home, for I am not worthy of such an honor. 7 I am not even worthy to come and meet you. Just say the word from where you are, and my servant will be healed. 8 I know this because I am under the authority of my superior officers, and I have authority over my soldiers. I only need to say, ‘Go,’ and they go, or ‘Come,’ and they come. And if I say to my slaves, ‘Do this,’ they do it.”
9 When Jesus heard this, he was amazed. Turning to the crowd that was following him, he said, “I tell you, I haven’t seen faith like this in all Israel!” 10 And when the officer’s friends returned to his house, they found the slave completely healed.
Again, we ask….What amazes Jesus?
Our faith amazes Jesus! Complete trust in Jesus and obedience to His Holy Spirit along with our faith in His power to heal, forgive, restore and love relentlessly is what amazes Jesus.
At that time, God’s people, “all of Israel” had lost their faith in God. Most people lived on their own without consulting the God of their ancestors. The religious elite had all but turned away from God and did only what pleased them and brought them power in position. Their position was more important than God’s purpose.
Because of their unbelief, Jesus literally wept over Jerusalem as scripture tells us, “But as he came closer to Jerusalem and saw the city ahead, he began to weep. “How I wish today that you of all people would understand the way to peace. But now it is too late, and peace is hidden from your eyes. Before long your enemies will build ramparts against your walls and encircle you and close in on you from every side. They will crush you into the ground, and your children with you. Your enemies will not leave a single stone in place, because you did not recognize it when God visited you.”
Does Jesus still weep over our lack of faith?
Does our lack of faith affect the faith of those around us?
Jesus tells the religious of his day, those without a relationship with God, “What sorrow awaits you experts in religious law! For you remove the key to knowledge from the people. You don’t enter the Kingdom yourselves, and you prevent others from entering.” (Luke 11:52, NLT)
What is “the key”? FAITH in God!
Jesus also wept from anger at the lack of faith of those weeping over the demise of Lazarus. Read this unbelievable story of faith carefully and prayerfully. (We will talk more about this story later in Luke, but zero in on the faith issue here, another reason Jesus wept.
We begin with Martha’s test of faith from Jesus words…
“Jesus told her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Anyone who believes in me will live, even after dying. 26 Everyone who lives in me and believes in me will never ever die. Do you believe this, Martha?”
27 “Yes, Lord,” she told him. “I have always believed you are the Messiah, the Son of God, the one who has come into the world from God.” 28 Then she returned to Mary. She called Mary aside from the mourners and told her, “The Teacher is here and wants to see you.” 29 So Mary immediately went to him.
30 Jesus had stayed outside the village, at the place where Martha met him. 31 When the people who were at the house consoling Mary saw her leave so hastily, they assumed she was going to Lazarus’s grave to weep. So they followed her there. 32 When Mary arrived and saw Jesus, she fell at his feet and said, “Lord, if only you had been here, my brother would not have died.”
33 When Jesus saw her weeping and saw the other people wailing with her, a deep anger welled up within him, and he was deeply troubled. 34 “Where have you put him?” he asked them.
They told him, “Lord, come and see.” 35 Then Jesus wept. 36 The people who were standing nearby said, “See how much he loved him!” 37 But some said, “This man healed a blind man. Couldn’t he have kept Lazarus from dying?”
38 Jesus was still angry as he arrived at the tomb, a cave with a stone rolled across its entrance. 39 “Roll the stone aside,” Jesus told them.
But Martha, the dead man’s sister, protested, “Lord, he has been dead for four days. The smell will be terrible.”
40 Jesus responded, “Didn’t I tell you that you would see God’s glory if you believe?” 41 So they rolled the stone aside. Then Jesus looked up to heaven and said, “Father, thank you for hearing me. 42 You always hear me, but I said it out loud for the sake of all these people standing here, so that they will believe you sent me.” 43 Then Jesus shouted, “Lazarus, come out!” 44 And the dead man came out, his hands and feet bound in grave clothes, his face wrapped in a headcloth. Jesus told them, “Unwrap him and let him go!” (Luke 11, nlt)
Do we believe?
How strong is our faith?
Can we unwrap our unbelief that binds us in a dead life and just let go with complete faith in the God of all and in His Son, Jesus, who died and rose again in power from God?
Can we trust the Holy Spirit to guide us into all Truth? Can we quickly obey because of our faith?
We sing joyfully at church, “How great is our God!”, But how great is our faith?
Sing with me, “How great is our faith?”
Let us consider the depth of our faith. Do we amaze Jesus with our faith or do we cause tears to come to His eyes because of our lack of faith shown through our worry and anxiety?
Dear Heavenly Father, Lord and Savior
I believe. I am letting go of all that is troubling me so that I can be filled with all of you. There is no room for worry in my heart, mind and soul when You take control. You are God and I am not. Lead me. I’m listening.
In Jesus Name, and by Your power, Amen. I believe.