Matthew 8:9 “For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and that one, ‘Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” (NIV)
James 3:1 “Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.” (NIV)
Phillipians 1:6 “And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” (NIV)
1 Samuel 30:21-26 “21 Then David came to the two hundred men who had been too exhausted to follow David, and who had been left at the brook Besor. And they went out to meet David and to meet the people who were with him. And when David came near to the people he greeted them. 22 Then all the wicked and worthless fellows among the men who had gone with David said, “Because they did not go with us, we will not give them any of the spoil that we have recovered, except that each man may lead away his wife and children, and depart.” 23 But David said, “You shall not do so, my brothers, with what the Lord has given us. He has preserved us and given into our hand the band that came against us.24 Who would listen to you in this matter? For as his share is who goes down into the battle, so shall his share be who stays by the baggage. They shall share alike.” 25 And he made it a statute and a rule for Israel from that day forward to this day.”
What made the centurion’s petition in Matthew 8:9 so especially beloved by Christ that he commended the man for his faith? And for what reason should teachers be judged more harshly? Is God and God alone really competent to give us all we need, and work through others in such a way that we will be prepared for his Kingdom as it grows closer? Why do we pray for our enemies? And what good is it to love a God who feels close but seems to physically remain at a distance?
Faith. With the same steadfast heart of the centurion, with the same burden of bringing good teachings, with the same security of promise as Paul incites in Phillipians, and with the same impartial love as David used to determine provision for his troops, Christ Jesus has cared for us. As a man with an enormous burden of sealing the fate of all people and determining the success of God’s plans by his choices, Christ was determined to see his sacrifice through. Giving himself up for all people, we all became accomplices in a murder that saved us. The reason God blessed David’s impartiality and remembrance of the first unto the last of his men was because God is also that way. He loves all of us enormously the same, and is abiding with and in the weakest and the strongest member of the Kingdom. When God judges, he is a righteous judge. God knows that blessing the person who was ultimately most successful or most liked in this life is not always a measure of eternal success, but he sets up these scenarios of temptation and necessary free will in order for us to grow closer to him, even when that’s uncomfortable. Although we cannot guarantee that we will be perfectly happy in life, we can be sure that if we follow God, no part of a necessary and miserable trial will go wasted. Like using all the parts of a slaughtered animal, if you trust God, you will at least be able to make the most of whatever lottery assortment of events life gives you.