Luke 7:9 Now when Jesus heard this, He marveled at him, and turned and said to the crowd that was following Him, “I say to you, not even in Israel have I found such great faith.”
Some versions read, “He was amazed” or “He was astonished” by the centurion’s faith. As much as we might like to think that Jesus was never surprised, it’s hard to interpret this any other way. To be astonished or amazed is certainly to be surprised.
And this wasn’t the only time. In Mark 6:6, “He marveled because of their unbelief.” Again, some versions read, “He was amazed…”
At times, our faith – or lack of it – is astonishing to Him.
I was in chemistry lab at Pittsburg State University one afternoon making banana oil. The miracle of this little experiment was that no bananas were anywhere around. As students, we were charged with creating it from (chemical) scratch. The entire room smelled like bananas! Strangely, though, my test tube was void of any smell and in fact wasn’t boiling like my lab partners’ though I had it centered right over a Bunsen burner. Then I remembered – the boiling chip! It’s a little pebble that provides a surface on which the chemical reaction occurs. It catalyzes the reaction and I had forgotten to put it in. Yes, I did what you would think right to do. I added it. What I failed to understand is that the heat build up in the fluid reactants was so great that as soon as the boiling chip hit the fluid, the entire reaction took place in a split second. Banana oil exploded all over the place including my clothes and my neighbor’s books. I smelled like bananas the rest of the day.
It didn’t look like it, but there was a tremendous amount of energy in that test tube waiting to explode. But it required a catalyst before anything would happen.
Catalyst: A substance that enables a reaction to proceed.
Your faith is a catalyst and Jesus is full of power. But that power walked into Nazareth and “was not able to do any miracles.” Why? The miraculous reaction had no catalyst. The people were without faith.
The woman with the issue of blood had the catalyst. The blind man had the catalyst. The men who lowered the paralytic had the catalyst. To all of them, Jesus said, “Your faith has healed you.”
In none of those situations would the reactions have occurred without the catalyst.
Here comes a tough question. How many of these miraculous reactions have we “missed” because we lacked the catalyst? How many times have we corked the power with faithlessness?
In Luke 7, the centurion catalyzed the healing of his servant by faith. It was a faith that amazed Jesus.
The next time you pray, be amazing and couple your faith with His power.