Jesus was nothing short of amazing. The way he taught. The things he did. The life he lived. The fact that he came back to life after being put to death. Amazing.
Thousands of people came from far and wide to see him. Sometimes he sent them away disappointed (Jesus does not take requests very often), but mostly they were amazed at some story he told or some way in which he confounded the religious and/or political leaders of his time.
There is amazing grace, but it's important to remember that this amazing grace came from amazing Jesus.
The Bible tells us a story about a man who amazed Jesus once. Just once. Well...actually twice Jesus was amazed, but we'll get talk about that next time. This guy -- a Roman soldier -- actually amazed Jesus. He came to see Jesus because he had a servant who was suffering, and he knew that Jesus could heal him. In fact, this guy knew that Jesus could heal the servant without even seeing him. This servant whom Jesus had never met, laid up in a house Jesus had never visited, suffering from some disorder Jesus did not know about could be healed if Jesus just gave the word.
Hearing the guy explain his confidence in Jesus' ability and authority amazed Jesus. The idea that a Roman soldier could have figured out enough to know that Jesus really was who he said he was and could really do what he said he could do -- Jesus found that amazing.
Imagine being the guy walking around heaven who actually amazed Jesus! That's a pretty exclusive club!
Before we move on to the one other time Jesus was amazed (look for that on Monday), I want you to notice again what it was that amazed Jesus. It wasn't the guy's knowledge. It wasn't even the guy's obedience. It was just his level of confidence in Jesus' ability to do what he said he could do. This guy did not know anything about a virgin birth. He did not believe in the inerrancy of Scripture. He did not know a thing about the gifts of the Spirit or the role of women. He probably didn't attend church -- certainly not in the way we think about attending church. As far as we know he'd never been baptized or prayed any kind of sinner's prayer.
He just believed that Jesus could do what he said he could do because Jesus had some kind of authority that came from some higher power. He had complete confidence in Jesus, and -- according to Jesus -- that was enough.
Maybe that's what faith really is. Maybe faith has less to do with all the finer points of doctrine (though God himself knows how much I love to study and teach good, sound doctrine). Maybe faith is simply being confident that Jesus is who he says he is and can do what he says he can do.
That's the kind of faith I want.