It is hard for me to imagine Jesus being surprised at anything. After all, Jesus knows the thoughts and intents of the heart, doesn’t he? Isn’t he able to know what we would think before we think it; to know what we are going to say before we say it? Well, on one occasion a Roman centurion came to Jesus and requested healing for his servant. This is surprising enough all by itself. But when Jesus says to him,
I will come and heal him:
The centurion answered and said, Lord, I am not worthy that you should come under my roof: but speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed. For I am a man under authority, having soldiers under me: and I say to this man, Go, and he goes; and to another, Come, and he comes; and to my servant, Do this, and he does it. When Jesus heard it, he marveled, and said to them that followed, Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel.
Matthew tells us that Jesus
marveled at the man’s faith. He seems to have been genuinely impressed. Jesus seems to have been surprised more than once about this question of faith. For example, he seems surprised at the fact that he does not find in Israel the kind of faith that he often finds among Gentiles. Also, when it comes right down to it, he doesn’t find an awful lot of faith in his own disciples. He seems disappointed in them; he seems distressed in them; he rebukes them for their lack of faith. He expected more of them than he got. Now, why do you think that would be? Why do you think that greater faith would come from someone further away from the center of things than from someone right next door to what you could call the source of faith—Jesus himself?