When Jesus heard this, he was amazed. Turning to the crowd that was following him, he said, “I tell you, I haven’t seen faith like this in all Israel!” And when the officer’s friends returned to his house, they found the slave completely healed. (Luke 7:9-10)
A centurion and a sinful woman.
A foreigner and someone typically regarded as a disreputable member of society.
“I tell you, her sins—and they are many—have been forgiven, so she has shown me much love. But a person who is forgiven little shows only little love.” Then Jesus said to the woman, “Your sins are forgiven.”
The men at the table said among themselves, “Who is this man, that he goes around forgiving sins?”
And Jesus said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”
They shouldn’t be able to get what it means to be a part of the heritage of Abraham. They shouldn’t really be the prime candidates for understanding the faith and expressing it.
Yet just as Jesus intimated when He spoke to His hometown synagogue, there is a precedent for God being a blessing from the most unlikely sources. What that should inform us is that however much we think we’re on the in-crowd because we have jumped through the religious hoops, there’s still room for God to show up through the most unlikely sources.
Those sources have been through things that shape their own understanding of what faith is. Their journey was definitely not the same as others. They were outsiders, but their faith pushed them inside.
The challenge is for us to consider if we have the grace and flexibility to consider that legitimate and powerful expressions of faith can come from the most unlikely sources.
For His Name’s Sake
C. L. J. Dryden