The main characters in this chapter are two men and a woman. One man had great faith, while the other’s faltered.
Character one: He’s an officer with a servant who’s ill. He’s not even Jewish, but he knows Jesus is, so he sends some respected members of the Jewish community to ask Him for help. “If anyone deserves Your help, he does, … for he loves the Jewish people and even built a synagogue for us,” they say (Luke 7:4-5). I love how Jesus could have given them a lecture, but doesn’t. Jesus’ help is never tied to performance or how much we deserve. He goes with them to the man’s house, but before they arrive, the officer sends some friends out with a message: Jesus doesn’t need to come in; the officer feels unworthy of this. He can just say the word, and the servant will be well. Wow! Jesus has never seen this – someone acknowledging that even without Him being present, a miracle can occur, and it does. The servant is healed.
Character two: He’s someone we’ve met before – John the Baptist, but as we saw in chapter 3, he’s been put in prison. He sends two of his followers to ask Jesus: “Are You the One who is to come, or should we wait for someone else?” (Luke 7:18-19). John knew Jesus was the Messiah. God had given him a sign of that. He said so himself (John 1:32-33), and yet he doubted. Jesus let John’s followers witness the miracles that were taking place, and instructed them to report back to John with the message: “God blesses those who do not fall away because of Me” (Luke 7:23). John had all the evidence from reliable witnesses, which left him with a choice: Fall away from Jesus, or have faith and stay the course?
Character three: She’s gone to the home of a Pharisee, having heard that Jesus is eating there. She’s brought with her a beautiful jar of costly perfume. In Jesus is the tangible presence of God. I think the woman must have been overwhelmed as she knelt behind Him and started to weep. Her tears washed His feet and she dried them with her hair, kissing them to show her affection and pouring out the perfume. The Pharisee is only concerned with her immorality, whereas Jesus sees how she’s surpassed His host. “When I entered your home, you didn’t offer Me water to wash the dust from My feet, but she has washed them with her tears and wiped them with her hair” and so on. Perhaps the woman saw in Jesus the forgiveness she craved and that’s why she showed such love. He assures her of sins forgiven and then tells her: “Your faith has saved you; go in peace” (Luke 7:50).
When we place our faith in Jesus, He can bring healing, as He did for the officer’s servant. He can give us the strength to persevere, and ultimately He has salvation for us: Faith to heal, faith to stay, and faith to save. Do we have that kind of faith?