October 01, 2012
The Appreciative Christ
I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel.
Luke is the Gospel which portrays the true manhood and moral excellence of the Lord Jesus Christ. Each Gospel displays the perfections of His person, but Luke seems to dwell on them and showcase them against different backgrounds. He was writing, of course, to a Greek world which placed great value on moral graces. The One in Whom men found no beauty is really the summation of all that is lovely (S of S 5:16), and Luke set out to display that beauty.
Luke 7 is a chapter which reveals many moral excellencies of the Lord Jesus Christ. Perhaps, however, His appreciation is what is most remarkable as we look at the chapter. It begins with the Centurion and his appeal through the Jewish elders for his servant. As the Lord Jesus moved amongst the nation of Israel, He looked for, and rarely found, faith. The nation was marked by darkness and unbelief. Here in Capernaum, a Gentile centurion expressed faith in His ability to heal his servant, even at a distance. Christ appreciated his faith.
Moving down the chapter, the Lord Jesus encountered the widow of Nain as she was taking her only son out to be buried. The cortege of death met the Prince of Life and the young man was brought to life. His power over death and defilement are seen. But what stands out in a special way is His deep compassion for the woman. He was able to appreciate the feelings of a poor widow and moved in mercy toward her.
On the heels of this, came the arrival of the disciples of John. Imprisoned, seemingly forgotten, John sent his disciples to inquire concerning Christ. Some may fault John and question his faith. Some may do so, but not the Lord Jesus. In the valley of John’s doubts, the Lord Jesus appreciated John’s fidelity, and rings out praise for all to hear. What a tender heart He displayed. What gentleness and kindness!
The chapter closes with the Lord Jesus in the house of Simon the Pharisee and expressing His appreciation for the forgiven woman and her worship.
Great men “take things for granted,” assuming that they deserve whatever honor they receive. They tend to disdain the average person and curry the favor of the social elite. How different this Man. How unique even in His appreciation for others and what they were and did.
1. Look at other chapters in Luke and notice how each chapter highlights a virtue or beauty. For example, some of the more obvious would be Luke 2, 14, 15, and 19. But trace out others for yourself.
2. Why do you think the Lord Jesus find such delight in expressions of faith?
3. What was the Centurion actually saying when he said, “I also am a man set under authority?” All the power and authority of Rome backed up his commands. What was he implying about the words of the Lord Jesus Christ?