First we find a Gentile desperate for His son’s healing, so he sends a Jewish delegation to Jesus to try to secure His help. The delegation is willing to go because the Roman soldier had helped to build the synagogue in Capernaum, but the centurion (leader of 100 soldiers) has an unusual request. He recognizes that Jesus has authority and can just command that that his son be healed without even being present! Jesus commends the centurion for his humble and insightful faith, and heals the man’s son.
Jesus takes it a step further in the next account, and shows us even greater compassion. He doesn’t respond to faith. He simply hurts for a widows loss, and raises her son from the dead. The people are amazed and in awe, as you can imagine. They are struck by the miracle, but we may find ourselves struck by the compassion. Here Jesus models what we read in Hebrews, and it reassures us that He understands what we go through and can always turn to Him in prayer.
Hebrews 4:15-16 “For we do not have a high priest incapable of sympathizing with our weaknesses, but one who has been tempted in every way just as we are, yet without sin. Therefore let us confidently approach the throne of grace to receive mercy and find grace whenever we need help.”
Now we see Jesus show us where we should turn when we are confused! John the Baptist is concerned because Jesus is not acting like a political or military Messiah, so he sends a delegation to Jesus to ask if He really is the one that they were all looking for. Jesus points John back to the Bible as his answer: Jesus is doing exactly what was foretold regarding the coming Messiah! We should see this as a reminder. Whenever we are confronted by things we don’t understand we should look to the Bible. Even if we don’t find the exact answer we’re looking for, the Bible shows us how God has worked in the past so that we realize we can trust Him in the present!
Jesus goes on to point out that John was the greatest prophet of all (because he was the forerunner of the Messiah), and yet he was least in the kingdom of heaven. That’s because he could only look forward to the Messiah, but couldn’t fully comprehend who He was or what He was coming to do. We who are on the other side can fully understand and comprehend!
Unfortunately we still have people today who are like the people Jesus is talking about in verses 31-35. They claim to be open minded and religious, but use every reason they can to reject true Christianity. They point to some who are joyful and say, “The world is horrible! You need to be more serious!” Then they point to others who are somber and say, “What sad sacks! Who would want to be like you!” But, in reality, you only have to look at the lives of those with faith to see who is really wise!