In his presentation, Matthew alternates between narrative (story) and teaching. There are five teaching sections in his book and we’ve just completed the first one, the Sermon on the Mount. All of the teaching sections end with words like this: “When Jesus had finished saying these things.” Chapters 8-9 are the second story section.
Early in chapter eight is the story of a centurion (he’s a gentile – there were no Jewish centurions) who asks Jesus to heal his servant. But interestingly, the centurion tells Jesus he doesn’t have to come to his servant to do the healing. The centurion says: “I know how power works, for I too am a man of power. When I issue an order, it gets done.”
The centurion wasn’t claiming the same power of Jesus – for then he wouldn’t need Jesus. He’s simply confessing he believes Jesus is a man of immense power.
What follows are stories of people who likewise believe in Jesus’ power.
I wonder if we are among them. I often find myself shamefully outside their company.
All of these people come to Jesus in faith. It is because they have faith that they come to Jesus. They do not come with hope but with faith. They do not need hope. Because they have faith, hope is already theirs.
Prayer must be a way of life for us. It is our action of coming to Jesus like they did. The less we do it, the less faith it shows. The fewer burdens we bring him, the less confidence we exhibit. Why not bring everything to Jesus. If the winds and the waves obey him, what of ours can possibly be beyond his ability?