Best of Daily Reflections: A Jurassic Park Kind of Faith
When Jesus heard this he was amazed at him, and turning to the crowd that followed him, he said, ‘I tell you, not even in Israel have I found such faith.’
It may seem strange, but whenever I watch “Jurassic Park,” my eyes well up during one of the opening scenes. A couple of paleontologists find themselves transported to a remote tropical island, where they are told the creatures they’ve spent their whole lives studying can be found in the flesh. As their jeep eases out into a wide rolling meadow, a bellowing sound draws their attention to a stand of eucalyptus trees. Just then, the enormous form of a Brachiosaurus rises above them. You don’t have to be a paleontologist to understand the emotional impact — the inexpressible joy of seeing the living form of something you’ve only ever seen in a book on a shelf or as a skeleton in a museum.
There were several “Jurassic Park” moments in Jesus’ ministry. One time after Jesus had been teaching, he was approached by some local Jewish officials. They came urging Jesus to heal the servant of a centurion who was deathly ill. This centurion was a gentile who understood and respected the religious and social customs of the Jews. He knew that any direct contact with Jesus would compromise Jesus’ social and religious standing. So with great humility, the centurion sent these Jewish officials to make the request on his behalf. When Jesus offered to come personally, the centurion objected,
Lord, do not trouble yourself, for I am not worthy to have you come under my roof; therefore I did not presume to come to you. But only speak the word, and let my servant be healed. For I also am a man set under authority, with soldiers under me; and I say to one, “Go”, and he goes, and to another, “Come”, and he comes, and to my slave, “Do this”, and the slave does it.’
This centurion’s comment caused Jesus to offer one of the highest compliments in all of the gospels.
‘I tell you, not even in Israel have I found such faith.’
I sometimes feel like a paleontologist in “Jurassic Park,” scouring the pages of the Bible, digging amongst the dusty bones of the saints, searching for the life that really is life. And when I come across the centurion’s story, I am reminded that God wants us to have this kind of faith — the kind that trusts in Jesus without seeing him. But I also know God wants us to continue to look forward to our own coming “Jurassic Park” moment, the glorious day when we will finally catch sight of the one we have longed for our entire lives, the day the centurion’s kind of faith will be forever fulfilled.
Living God, bring me to greater fullness of life. Sharpen my awareness of gold that is only fool’s gold and hope that is only a mirage. Help me to deeply trust in Jesus as the way to true life. Amen.
Questions for Reflection:
When do you feel most alive? When does your faith seem most dry and lifeless? What does this encounter between Jesus and the centurion teach you about how to respond to the dry and lifeless times?
After Jesus had finished all his sayings in the hearing of the people, he entered Capernaum. A centurion there had a slave whom he valued highly, and who was ill and close to death. When he heard about Jesus, he sent some Jewish elders to him, asking him to come and heal his slave. When they came to Jesus, they appealed to him earnestly, saying, ‘He is worthy of having you do this for him, for he loves our people, and it is he who built our synagogue for us. And Jesus went with them, but when he was not far from the house, the centurion sent friends to say to him, ‘Lord, do not trouble yourself, for I am not worthy to have you come under my roof; therefore I did not presume to come to you. But only speak the word, and let my servant be healed. For I also am a man set under authority, with soldiers under me; and I say to one, “Go”, and he goes, and to another, “Come”, and he comes, and to my slave, “Do this”, and the slave does it.’ When Jesus heard this he was amazed at him, and turning to the crowd that followed him, he said, ‘I tell you, not even in Israel have I found such faith.’ When those who had been sent returned to the house, they found the slave in good health.