“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.””
No matter how liberal and accepting we perceive ourselves to be, we have a tendency to divide the world by race, by beliefs, by gender, ethnicity, political party, etc.
Sometimes as Christians, we are tempted to divide people by who they think is “in” the kingdom of heaven and who is “out.” But this story of the Centurion shows that God’s ideas about who is included may be quite different from our ideas.
It’s rather disappointing that despite all the miracles He had performed, the level of faith of His own people was so low that it took a Roman soldier’s faith for Jesus to say, “I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith…”
The frightening thing is that not much has changed.
Today, Jesus still encounters Christians who are self-righteous like the Pharisees, who tried to test Him. He still has to contend with the many in the world who claim He is only a prophet.
Even within His church, some demand miracles to prove His presence. And then there is the rest of us who still flounder in our faith during storms or other difficult circumstances.
This Advent, as we await His coming, Jesus encourages us to have faith in Him regardless of the circumstances we are in. He also reminds us that anyone who has faith in Him even, those we might not expect, belongs to his kingdom.
Dear God, give me faith like the centurion, who saw that You have great authority. Help me to stop worrying about what I cannot control, and to trust that by Your Word, they are done! In Your name, I pray…Amen