February 27, 2016: A Believing Roman
Not even in Israel have I found such faith (v. 9).
“When strangers discover that I’m a pastor,” observed a friend of mine, “they regularly set about telling me how good they are!”
In Luke 7 we are told how good this Roman army officer is. But the circumstances are rather different. First, this golden opinion of him is not his own, but that of others, and therefore much more trustworthy. Also, amazingly, it is the opinion of the citizens of an occupied country where he is a member of the occupying forces.
Then again, it is not merely about his virtues, the kind of “moral excellences” that can be seen in many an unbeliever and do not necessarily say anything about their spiritual state. No, in this case the leaders of the local Jewish community are speaking quite specifically of the Roman soldier’s practical friendship with them, God’s ancient people, and of his deep and generous interest in their life and religion. These things are much more significant, because they point to his own relationship with God. He turns out to have a grasp of spiritual principles that Jesus himself calls “faith”—indeed, faith such as is rare “even in Israel.”
It is commitment to this God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, that brings an outsider into the kingdom.
Prayer: Lord, give us the faith that grasps spiritual truth and acts accordingly.
Today’s devotional was written by Michael Wilcock, a retired pastor in the Church of England. This Lenten series comes from Words of Hope, whose mission is to build the church in the hard places through media. To learn more about the organization or subscribe to Words of Hope’s daily devotions, visit www.woh.org.