Simple faith. Isn't that something we all want? I think we as a culture naturally complicate faith in Jesus. But truly, it's very simple. It's not easy, but its simple.
Let's focus on the story of the faith of the centurion in Matthew 8: 5-13.
When Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to him, asking for help. “Lord,” he said, “my servant lies at home paralyzed, suffering terribly.”Jesus said to him, “Shall I come and heal him?” The centurion replied, “Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and that one, ‘Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it." When Jesus heard this, he was amazed and said to those following him, “Truly I tell you, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith. I say to you that many will come from the east and the west, and will take their places at the feast with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. But the subjects of the kingdom will be thrown outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” Then Jesus said to the centurion, “Go! Let it be done just as you believed it would.” And his servant was healed at that moment.
What do you notice? The centurion encounters Jesus and has a simple request to heal his servant.
Jesus asks, "Why should I heal this guy?"
The people respond, "He is wealthy and powerful and has done great things for the nation."
Jesus responds, "Okay, let's do this."
Notice what Jesus doesn't say. He doesn't say "okay, because he's a good guy I will do it." He doesn't say, "Why'd you wait so long to ask? Now he's dying for goodness sake!" He doesn't say, "You serve the Roman empire and by that you vicariously oppress my people. Why should I help you?"
The Centurion understands authority - he has authority - and by his faith he knows Jesus has that kind of holy authority and that all he has to do is say the word. THIS is simple faith.
There are four key elements to notice that we can learn from the centurion's faith:
1. Acknowledge Jesus' Authority
We must remember that Jesus is the authority of our pain, suffering, and death. The centurion says in essence, "Yes, I acknowledge that, Jesus. There is no need to come to my house."
2. Recognize Unworthiness
The centurion's humility in saying, "don't come to my house because I'm not worthy of that," shows that there is no statement of entitlement here. We are reminded of the importance of humility when approaching the feet of Jesus.
3. Complete Confidence in Jesus
The centurion shows us that we must remember this truth: If Jesus simply says it, it will happen.
4. Willingness to take the next steps
The centurion's decision to go see Jesus and enter into His presence serves as a great reminder to us. He had the nerve to ask because he KNEW that Jesus alone could do what He needed.
Faith is not a static reality, done once and then we can move on. It is needed time and time and time again - like exercising a muscle.
You see, this kind of faith is not easy but truly very simple. At first this may sound contradictory, but it's not. It's a nuance. It's not easy because it takes courage but its simple because really, it just requires stepping -- and stepping is actually a very simple thing.
What kind of next step is Jesus calling you to?
Maybe it's accepting Jesus.
You may be following Him, learning about Him, think He's amazing, and know a lot about HIm, but you may be called to that that next step and say, "You are my Lord." This isn't easy. Life pushes against that, family can push against that, stress can push against that, etc. But the step itself is actually very simple.
Or maybe you've said yes
Maybe He's calling you to take the next step to publicly declare your faith in baptism.
Or maybe you've been doing this thing called Christian faith for 40+ years
Perhaps in this case, God is calling you to take another step of faith in a certain area of your life.
There's a song about Peter that really illustrates this simple faith.
It goes like this:
You call me out upon the waters
The great unknown where feet may fail
And there I find You in the mystery
In oceans deep
My faith will stand
I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise my soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine
Your grace abounds in deepest waters
Your sovereign hand
Will be my guide
Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me
You've never failed and You won't start now
That's simple faith. It's not easy. It sounds crazy. But it's truly very simple. Just step out.
Have you claimed Christ as yours yet?
If you haven't, take that step. If you have, take the next step he's calling you to say yes to.
In oceans deep, your faith will stand.
Photos by Kelly Halsch