Understanding Authority

Eyewitness: p. 74
In Your Bible: Matthew 8:10; Luke 7:1-10

Authority speaks without words — a police uniform, a stop sign, a “Do Not Enter” sign, and the Presidential Seal. Likewise, military men and women know their position in authority, whether of high rank or low – they wear it on their uniforms. They even call it the “chain of command.”

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The Bible shows a Centurion in Capernaum, understood Jesus’ authority. This Roman military officer’s servant was seriously ill and about to die. The Centurion pleaded with the Jewish leaders for Jesus to come help his servant.

This military man loved Israel, built their local synagogue, and was well known for his benevolence. The Jewish leaders said to Jesus, “This man is worthy of your help.” They appealed to Jesus to go heal the servant. Jesus said, “I will go and heal the servant,” and started out.

Jesus was not far from the house, when the Centurion reconsidered his appeal. He hurriedly sent messengers to say, “He wasn’t worthy for Jesus to even come inside his house. So just have Jesus give the order and the servant will be healed.” The messengers explained the Centurion knew authority and was himself a man under authority.

At his command under Caesar, he gave orders to his soldiers to come, go, and do what he said. When Jesus heard this statement about the Centurion, he marveled. Then Jesus said, “In all of Israel, I have never seen such faith”

Jesus told the messengers, “You can go home now, it will be done as you have believed.” When the messengers arrived at the officer’s home, they found the servant healed — at the very moment Jesus spoke the healing words.

The Centurion and the messengers were witnesses to Jesus authority to heal the servant. This account was written to reveal a portion of the magnitude of authority God gave Jesus.

Application: What a simple, practical understanding of authority. The Centurion believed Jesus was from God and could do miraculous things. He (and the messengers) believed Jesus could say the words (give the order) and heal his servant. He believed and they believed. We must believe in Jesus’ authority too.

Prayer: Father, help me understand Your Word is literally a command — loving and life giving. Yes, help me build my faith.

Image of Centurion courtesy of Simon Howden at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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