“Therefore, I did not even think myself worthy to come to You. But say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I also am a man placed under authority, having 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 turned around and said to the crowd that followed Him, “I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel!” And those who were sent, returning to the house, found the servant well who had been sick.
The Roman centurion was not the kind of person the people of that day would have expected to have faith in the power of Messiah. Yet, he had heard enough to know that this man was indeed different than others. He first sent Jewish elders to vouch for his own character in making the request to heal the sick servant. He then sent his friends to stop Jesus from coming to his home but instead professed through them that he believed Jesus could heal the servant right where He was. All of this, and the centurion never had encountered Christ himself. This was all a result of his believing without seeing.
When we are challenged to exercise our faith, we never really know what the manifestation of faith’s fruit will be if we are faithful. For the centurion, his exercise of faith served to save the physical life of his servant. For not being a Jew and never knowing Jesus, his insight into the power of Christ over the spiritual realm was unexpected and accurate. He understood that Jesus had the authority to make that illness flee. He did not guess, but he knew. His hope was not hung on the wind, but he knew that for which he hoped was real and secure. What he knew to be true drove his words and actions, and for that he was blessed with hope becoming a reality.
On one side of faith, we have a picture of what could be. On the other side of faith, we have what has become true. In the centurion’s case, he was able to see that truth manifest. He prayed for healing, and he witnessed that healing occur. He believed before it happened, but his trust in that belief must have at least deepened as a result of this miracle. However, we do not always get to see what becomes real on the other side of faith. That can be the greater challenge, to have faith that a prayer has been answered when that answer will not be known. Father, thank You for rewarding faith with fruit and for allowing us to see that fruit and help continue to build our faith.