I was listening to the program “Sunday Morning” on CBS earlier today, and Jane Pauley was interviewing Hillary Clinton in advance of Clinton’s new book, “What Happened.” The book chronicles the campaign as well as what she believes are the reasons that she failed to become the first woman in US history to occupy the White House as President.
What struck me as interesting about the interview was Clinton’s assertion that it didn’t really occur to her that she could lose the election. In fact, she didn’t write a concession speech – only an acceptance speech. Even as the election results came in, she was confident that she would win and create history as the first woman in the Oval Office. One must be supremely confident to not even consider defeat as an option.
Now mind you, I don’t care whether you are a Democrat or a Republican – it doesn’t matter when we are discussing matters of faith. But I was surprised at some of the terms that Clinton used during her interview. In fact, one of them was quite memorable – it really stood out from the rest – Hillary said that she was “gobsmacked” by the result of the election. That’s a word I haven’t heard in a while and I was surprised that it would be used in such an important interview – not being a very common word with the community at large. And in case you don’t know the definition, it means “to be utterly astonished – astounded.”
The NIV version of the Bible records 23 times when people were astonished by events that occurred. In the Old Testament, Job was astonished and most of the other occurrences have to do with miracles or things that defied logic. Earlier today, I was thinking that people were undoubtedly astonished when they saw Jesus perform miracles. I know that I would have been absolutely astounded if I had been there to witness some of the things that He did – calming the waves, raising Lazarus from the dead, healing the sick and feeding the multitudes.
But there is one passage that really struck me as incredible. You know why? Because even though I expected people to be astonished by Jesus, there is one passage that tells us that Jesus was astonished by the faith of a person. Yep – even Jesus was gobsmacked!
The story revolves around a centurion who approached Jesus about healing an ill servant. Jesus was ready to come to the home of the centurion and heal the servant but the centurion did not believe that his home was worthy of having Jesus visit. So, he implored Jesus to just speak the words from where he was and the servant would be healed. This is quite a remarkable story – someone believing in the healing power of Jesus across time and space. And in what is one of the few recorded instances of Jesus being surprised, we have have our verse for the evening.
Matthew, in his Gospel, tells us the response of Jesus and in Matthew 8:10, we read, “When Jesus heard this, he was astonished and said to those following him, “I tell you the truth, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith.” What faith this centurion had – this was highly unusual, especially for someone who was in a position of authority and commanded others.
My encouragement tonight is that Jesus wants us to be astonished by Him and he wants to be astonished by our faith. My prayer is that you will be gobsmacked by the love of Jesus and that maybe once or twice, we may all do things that astonish Jesus with our faith in Him. Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…