Jesus identified only two people in His earthly ministry who He said had great faith; a Roman centurion (Matthew 8:5–13) and a Canaanite woman (Matthew 15:21–28). Both of these people were outside of the covenant God had made with Israel and I believe it is safe to say, they did not keep the “law” as Israel was required to do. Their confidence in God had nothing at all to do with their own performance or lifestyle. They understood something that the Pharisees, Sadducees and Jewish nation could not see or comprehend, that God was a good God!
Both came asking Jesus to heal and set free people they deeply cared about. For the Canaanite woman, it was her daughter and for the Roman centurion it was his servant. There are only two times in scripture that Jesus ever “marveled,” once at the unbelief of people He came to heal (Mark 6:6) and once at the Roman centurion’s great faith (Matthew 8:10).
What amazed Jesus?
What caused Jesus to marvel or be amazed at their great faith? Could it be connected to the compassion they felt for those suffering and their belief that God could heal those that suffered? I believe it was. Their belief in a God, who not only would heal a non-Jew but one who desired to, was thinking outside of the box for that time and it was seeing a true view of God in a light that others didn’t see.
Connecting to God’s heart
Whenever we get a glimpse of how mighty, awesome and loving our God is and we connect to His heart and see people as He does, it will always dramatically impact our faith and how we relate to people. This is what Jesus saw in both of these people; they didn’t come to get something for themselves, they came to see others set free. They used their faith to help others know and experience God’s power and that is what real great faith is all about. When you start seeing God’s heart to bless, forgive, heal and set free those who are bound, struggling and defeated in life, you will also have the very same type of great faith that Jesus was amazed and marveled by.
Great faith isn’t about how much biblical knowledge you have or how much scripture you can memorize and recite. It is simply knowing how good God is.
“But the people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits.”