Authority Understood

Prayer: Dear Lord Jesus, You are my Master and my God. To You alone, I bow down in worship. You are to be recognized by all, angels and humans alike, as the Creator and Ruler all things. When You speak, worlds are built. When You speak, nations arise. When You speak, all people bow down. And when You speak, I know that I am loved. In Your name I pray. Amen.

Read: Matthew 8:5-13

Think about It: As we know, Jesus is soundly rejected by those inside of the established Jewish leadership during His three years of ministry; those members of the Sanhedrin who believed they were the authority in the lives of the people at the time. But who does Jesus use to teach His disciples (and us) what authority truly looks like? A Roman Centurion (commander of 100); a Gentile.

In our story for today, Jesus is approached by someone who normally wouldn’t give a Jewish rabbi the time of day. This Centurion knew what it meant to be a person with authority, just as he knew what it meant to be under the authority of another. He is answerable to the Emperor and his power flowed from the Emperor’s throne. He was used to obeying orders from above and having his own orders followed immediately and without conversation. The use of authority was a party of his everyday life. Instinctively, probably through observation, this centurion recognizes that Jesus is a man with authority. We are not told how he discerns that truth, but he is certain that Jesus has the   power to grant the healing of his servant. His request “reveals an astonishing faith that recognizes that Jesus needed neither ritual, magic, nor any other help; His authority was God’s authority, and His word was effective because it was God’s word.”1 From this interaction, we too can learn that God’s authority is absolute and has the ability to impact our lives.

Interestingly, while the Jewish hierarchy used Jesus authority against Him, this Centurion recognizes it and is blessed because he is willing to bow the knee. This man was willing to humble himself before someone he recognizes as greater than himself in order to press in upon Jesus to wield His power to heal a friend. What an incredible example of the proper use of authority. He knew when to issue orders and when to humbly seek the help of God. The man is commended for his faith and goes back home with the knowledge that his  servant is restored. He doesn’t even really ask Jesus to heal his servant. He merely tells Jesus of the problem. He then allows Jesus to do as He sees fit, again, bowing to an authority greater than his own.

Perhaps we would do well to recognize the authority of Christ in our own lives. We too can humbly come before Him with our needs, allowing Him to do as He sees fit, rather than telling Him what to do and how to do it. It might be a whole new approach to the God we love.
 ©1984 Carson, D. A. The Expositor's Bible Commentary, Volume 8: Matthew, Mark, Luke (F. E. Gaebelein, Ed.) (201–202). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

Prayer: Dear Lord, I know that You are the Prince of Peace and that You have absolute power over my life. Please help me to live with that reality and to humbly grant You full control over every moment of my day. When I want to rise up and be the one in control, please draw me back from that decision and realign my thinking with Your will. In the name of Jesus I pray. Amen.