The centurion knew what kind of a man He was. They were similar. When the centurion told the
men at his command to go, they went. When he told them to come, they came. When he told
them to do something, they did it. He must have heard that when this Man told the diseases to go, they went. When He told the demons to come out, they came out, just as his men obeyed him. So, the Roman commander stepped out in faith and asked Jesus to heal his servant. The Lord did it with just a word.
The Lord Jesus can do all things. He cleansed a man of leprosy. He healed a centurion’s servant.
He healed his disciple’s mother-in-law. He cast out demons. He calmed the winds and the sea.
He cast out more demons. He forgave the sins of a paralytic and then made him walk—seven
episodes in Matthew 8:1-9:8 written to show the Jews that Jesus is the Messiah. “He Himself,”
reminds Matthew by quoting Isaiah 53:4, “took our infirmities and carried away our diseases.
(8:17)” The centurion understood these things. But what about us? Do we know what kind of a
man Jesus is?
At the time, the disciples didn’t. Unlike the diseases, demons, and storms that obey as soon as a
word leaves the Lord’s lips, it takes time for people to come around. In Matthew 8:19, Jesus
gives orders to set sail. What is the first thing that his followers do? They start a conversation
with Him. One promises to follow Jesus wherever He goes. Another asks for time off to go and
bury his father. The Lord answers them with grace and truth—He doesn’t ignore them or bark
his command to set sail again. As powerful as Jesus is to heal diseases and cast out demons,
He is gentle and patient in dealing with us. He does not impose Himself on us.
So, when the Lord and His disciples get in the boat, Jesus lets His disciples be. He does not
prevent them from the trials that are about to assail the boat. He lets the trial come, and gives the disciples the chance to come to Him willingly. There is no hint as to the efforts that the disciples made to brave the storm themselves. Since some were fishers by trade, surely such thoughts crossed their minds: “Pull up the sails!”, “All hands on deck!”, “Do all we can to stay afloat!” Whatever they did try and do, it failed. In desperation, they wake the sleeping Lord and beg him to save them. After gently pointing out that they have little faith in Him, He calms the storm with a word.
Isn’t it the same with us? The Lord lets us be. A trial comes, and we try to solve the problem by
ourselves. Our efforts fail, and in desperation, we turn to the Lord as if He’s the one who fell
asleep at the wheel and got us into this mess in the first place. The Lord powerfully delivers us
from the trial in a way that shows us He was with us all along, waiting for us to recognize our
impotence and the strength of His might. And sometimes we are left thinking, what kind of a
man is Jesus that He is that powerful?
Much later in the Lord’s ministry to Israel, He hears that His friend Lazarus is sick. He waits a
few days and then heads to Bethany where Lazarus is buried. Approaching the house, Lazarus’
sister Mary goes out to meet Him. She says, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not
have died.” In the days between Jesus’ knowing that Lazarus was sick and His coming, who
knows what Mary and Martha did to keep Lazarus alive? Prayers, medicines, sleepless nights at
his bedside, desperate messages to the Lord. When Jesus finally does arrive, their efforts have
failed, and their brother is dead.
Mary’s words to Jesus imply that Jesus could have only helped out while Lazarus was alive.
Mary in her pain and grief mistakenly puts limits on the strength of Jesus’ might. Just like the
disciples on the boat, just like us when we are in the midst of a trial and see no way out, she’s
forgotten the kind of man that Jesus is. A couple of minutes later, Jesus resurrects Lazarus with a
single word. With their brother back alive, they must have been wondering, “What kind of a man
So, what kind of a man is He? Jesus is God the Savior. He bought us with His own blood. In His
resurrection, He has included us in the love that the Father shows Him in eternity. There is
nothing He can’t do. Let’s not forget this as the storms of life assail us. He will be with us all
throughout the age, waiting for us to recognize our impotence and the strength of His might,
waiting to deliver us and glorify His name.
Matthew and his wife Marina live in Northern Virginia, where they serve the Lord at Cherrydale Bible Chapel. Matthew is a school teacher by trade.