"Why do you call me 'Lord, Lord,' and don't do what I say?" Luke 6:46 This statement is part of the background behind the next story Luke wants to tell about a Roman Centurion's faith in Luke 7. Jesus had already warned the leaders of His hometown synagogue that they were endanger of missing the benefits of the Word of God because of their unbelief in His authority and anointing (Luke 4:25-27). The result would be that the blessing of God's Kingdom might just fall to others as it did in the days of Elijah and Elisha. Now comes a case and point when a Roman Centurion sends two delegations to Jesus to request healing for one of his servants. "But it isn't necessary for you (Jesus) to come to my house. I am not worthy of your Presence. Just say the word and I know that my servant will be healed.", says the Centurion. Jesus is astonished at the faith of this Gentile. Jesus might have reminded his hometown of his words in the synagogue at this point saying, "there are many sick servants in Israel right now, but the one who is being healed is this Gentile's servant. " We should also remember John the Baptist's solemn warning that no one could claim the status of "child of Abraham" simply in the basis of their bloodline (Luke 3:8). Do the deeds of Abraham and then you can properly be called his son. And what were the deeds of Abraham? Abraham believed God and it was credited to him as being in right standing in the covenant. As Jesus says in John's gospel, "this is the work of God, that you should believe in the one He sent." John 6:29.
Believing in Jesus doesn't seem complicated. It doesn't seem like a hard or outlandish demand. Why is there so much resistance to Jesus? It has been said by many would-be evangelists in our day and culture that "Jesus offers a free gift of eternal life and there is nothing to lose. Jesus takes our punishment and we take Jesus' life. It's a win/win for us!" If that be the case, anyone's resistance, not just the Pharisees, seems unfathomable. If you were offered a free, winning, lottery ticket, who wouldn't take it? But obviously, many people did see problems and reasons not to embrace Jesus. This is because our understanding of what it means to "believe in Jesus" is much too simple and vague. Believing in Jesus means believing in, buying into, selling out to, dedicating yourself to, His Kingdom vision, which also means abandoning ones own kingdom vision. This has proved difficult then and it is still difficult now. But unbelief is also costly. The faith of this Centurion resulted in the life of his servant being saved. How many servants weren't saved because his or her master refused to go to Jesus? In a couple of chapters, we may just meet such a person who waited, it seems, until the eleventh hour to Jesus. This is the story of Jairus, the synagogue leader, whom we will meet when we get to Luke 8. You can go ahead and read that story ahead of time here. One of the great and astonishing things about Jesus is that He is not vindictive and whether you come early or late, He is glad to receive you just so long as you come. If you have any questions regarding the Gospel of Luke, please feel free to email me your questions. In the meantime, if you are just joining us, you can catch up on all the podcasts to date as we journey through the Gospel of Luke: Luke 1 Luke 2 Luke 3 Luke 4 Luke 5 Luke 6 Luke 7