Jesus Marvels at a Foreigner’s Faith
These are the readings for the Second Sunday after Pentecost.
God’s Word for This Week
In our first and third lessons, God shows joy in welcoming sinners of all nations to him. In the second lesson, we begin a series of readings from Paul’s letter to the saints in Galatia (an area today we would call central Turkey).
Traditional First Lesson – 1 Kings 8:22,23,41-43
When Solomon prayed at the temple’s dedication, with what two names did he address God? (See 8:22,23.)
Solomon called God “LORD” (his personal name) and “the God of Israel” (a name showing God’s faithfulness to his promises to his undeserving chosen people).
Could the God of Israel accept foreigners in those days? (See 8:41-43.)
Yes, the God of Israel accepted non-Jews, even under the old covenant, by grace alone through faith in the Messiah. Remember: the sacrifices in the temple, and the building itself, pictured the coming Savior.
What would God do for non-Jews? (See 8:43.)
Solomon asked God to hear the prayers of foreigners who came from distant lands to the temple. He asked him to do whatever those non-Jews asked, so that all peoples would know his name, fear him, and know that the temple truly bore his holy name.
Supplemental First Lesson – Joshua 5:13–6:5,20
Whom did Joshua meet before the massive walls of Jericho? (See 5:13-15 and 6:2.)
Joshua met the commander of the Lord’s army. He met God the Son, before whom Joshua fell down. (An angel would have forbidden Joshua to do this.)
The commander of the Lord’s army gave Joshua a plan that might have seemed silly. How did Joshua respond?
Joshua trusted what the Lord told him. He told all Israel to believe too: March around the walls of Jericho, men!
Did part of Jericho’s wall collapse from an earthquake?
No, no ordinary earthquake hit Jericho. It must have been a miracle. All the walls collapsed. The men all rushed straight in. (Upshot: Trust all God tells you.)
Traditional Second Lesson – Galatians 1:1-10
Why shouldn’t any reader of this letter doubt Paul’s credentials to speak for God? (See 1:1.)
No one should doubt that Paul is speaking directly for God in this letter because a) Jesus had personally appeared to Paul and commissioned him as his spokesman, his apostle, and b) no man had called Paul.
What should happen to anyone who preaches any other gospel? (See 1:8,9.)
Anyone preaching a gospel other than the true good news should be damned forever. Paul says so twice!
Supplemental Second Lesson – James 1:2-12
Often, we wonder why trials come to us. In short, what is God’s purpose for trials?
God tests our faith in him and his Word to develop perseverance in us. God wants us to become mature in our faith. He uses trials as one of his tools for this.
Whether we have lots of money or little, who is truly blessed, according to God? (See 1:12.)
The person is truly blessed who keeps persevering under trial. Once that person has passed God’s test, James says, he or she will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.
Gospel – Luke 7:1-10
For what reasons did the elders of the Jews in Capernaum figure that the centurion deserved to have Jesus come and heal his servant? (See 7:4,5.)
The elders of the Jews figured that the centurion deserved to have Jesus come and heal his servant because a) he loved the Jewish nation, and b) he had built the synagogue in their town. (Visitors to Capernaum today can still see the foundation of that synagogue.)
How did the centurion feel by contrast? (See 7:6,7.)
The centurion did not feel he deserved to have Jesus come under his roof or was worthy to approach Jesus. “But say the word,” he said, “and my servant will be healed.”
How could Jesus be amazed at faith that he himself had created? Even if the centurion’s faith was greater than other faith in Israel, can the One who knows all things really be amazed? (See 7:9.)
Jesus could be amazed at faith he himself had created because a) as true man, purposely limiting his divine knowledge of all things, he could feel true surprise, and b) as true God, he delights in what he creates. He loves to see us sinners come to him in humble faith.