Matthew 8:5-13 shares the story of a Roman centurion, a Gentile whom law–abiding Jews would have viewed as an enemy and unclean, and his interaction with Jesus. The Centurion, an outsider, understood Jesus’ authority better than the people who should have recognized Jesus for who He was. Jesus saw his faith and healed his servant.
In Luke 23:43, Jesus told the thief hanging by His side that he would be with him in paradise. It was not because of any good the thief did during the last moments of his life, but because Jesus saw his faith.
Jesus said in John 10:27-28 that His sheep listen to His voice and follow Him. And He gives them eternal life and no one will snatch them out of His hand. In John 17:1-3, Jesus prayed to His Father, declaring that the Father has given Him authority over all flesh to give eternal life.
These passages exemplify that it is, not by works but by faith in Jesus, the One who has power and authority to grant life, that we are saved. His voice speaks His heart and His words have power. He overcame death; death has no hold on him. As the centurion understood, Jesus has full authority and power. His words alone can speak forth healing and life. He has eternity in his mind and heart, and if we take the time to truly listen to His Word, we can see what He always intended for those He loves: to have life abundantly, knowing that this world is not our home.
Eternal life reminds us that there will be a day where “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away” (Revelation 21:4). Eternal life stems from faith that Jesus knows our pain, our tears, and our fundamental longing and need to connect with Him. Eternal life gives an outpouring of peace alongside all the other emotions that come along with the hardships of this world. Eternal life reminds us to rejoice in all circumstances because God is good.
May we take time this Advent season to hear His voice, and understand the power and authority Jesus has over life and death. Jesus came to His created earth as a baby out of His deep love for us. His authority was there from the very beginning, but he choose to humble Himself in order to intimately understand our humanity. In turn, contemplate what God wants us to deeply understand about the life He has given us. Think beyond this temporary life and into His eternal life. As we hear His voice, may increasing joy at being His hands and feet in this world grow in us, knowing that His power can change hearts.