Making the Impossible a Reality
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.
On a few occasions, Jesus was astonished by someone’s faith in Him. In this case, a God-fearing Roman centurion asked Jesus to heal his sick servant. Jesus told the centurion that He’d go to his home and heal the man, but the soldier replied, “ Lord, I am not worthy that You should come under my roof. But only speak a word, and my servant will be healed.(Matthew 8:8)
Jesus had been among the Jewish people as he taught and healed. Some had believed, but many doubted. The leaders among His own race felt particularly threatened, and they later plotted to kill Him. But here was a Roman officer who believed that Jesus’ power was so immense that He didn’t even have to see or touch his servant to heal. His faith amazed Jesus.
What did the Roman see in Christ that others didn’t see? Why was his faith so strong? The centurion explained that he understood the nature of authority because he exercised it in the military world (Matthew 8:9). His experience gave him insight into God’s authority, so the centurion felt sure that Jesus had authority to heal his servant- or do anything else, for that matter- from a distance.
In each of our lives, God has given us experiences to help us to believe Him more fully. For some, it’s authority; for others, it’s mercy and kindness. All of us can look for patterns of past experience that strengthen present faith..
I used to ask God to help me. Then I asked if I might help Him. I ended up asking Him to do His work through me.
Christmas is about the impossible. It’s impossible for virgin to give birth to a child. It’s impossible for that child to be God clothed in the flesh. It’s impossible for a new star to appear in a far country to the scientists who would follow it to find a child who was a king. It didn’t lead them to a palace but to a carpenter’s home. It’s impossible in our thinking to have an angel appear to ordinary people like the shepherds. And it’s impossible to think that God Himself would appear to us as a tiny baby born in a stable and laid in a manger.
Long before this event, God spoke to a couple who were childless and promised them that they would be given a son. The question asked by Abraham is the same question that Mary asked and that we ask: How can this be so and how can it come to pass? The very same God who answered Abraham’s question and the same God who answered Mary’s question still speaks today.
“:Is anything too hard for the Lord? I will return to you at the appointed time next year, and Sarah will have a son.”
That the real question isn’t it? Is my situation or your situation impossible? Is it something too hard for even God to handle? I’m sure our immediate response would be that nothing is impossible for God to do but Jesus added a condition to seeing the impossible become possible.
“If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for one who believes.”
There it is. The impossible becoming possible hinges on us simply believing. That’s what Abraham and Mary and the centurion did that separated them from the crowd. They believed that God was, that God could, that God would and they saw that God did. Abraham received a son after he and Sarah were past child-bearing age. Mary became pregnant with a child-the Son of God- still a virgin. The centurion went home to a healed servant because Jesus spoke a word. All because they believed.
Many of us talk about faith as though it’s something that few people have. Yet Ephesians teaches us that the faith we need has been given by God to each of us without exception. We have the option of choosing to believe or to not believe. Sometimes to believe in the impossible is not whether we believe it can be done or will be done, but to believe in the God who can take the impossible and make it possible. Our faith isn’t in the miracle but in the God of miracle-working power. We don’t hang our relationship with God on whether He fixes our problem or makes bad things go away or blesses us with good things. Our relationship with God hangs solely on the belief that He is who He says He is. And when we hang our faith on that, believing in the impossible becomes possible.
So why not choose to believe in God, to believe that He is all He says He is, that He has all authority as the centurion believed, that He has the overriding creative power that Abraham and Mary did, and say as Mary said, “Be it unto me according to Your will.”
Dr. John Thompson