Do you ever wonder why people do what they do? Sometimes I want to help people out by screaming, “Don’t do it!” But. People are people. Regardless of warnings, they just do it! Between my days as a nurse and now as a pastor, I can’t tell you how many people do things they are told not to do and are surprised when they’re harmed.
There’s a belief that they have authority and power over rules, law, and plain old common sense.
Then, again, it was just a few years ago when my parents found out I had led Bible studies on top of the water tower in our neighborhood. I was signing some papers with them at the bank when one of my friends from my teenage years said hello. Turns out, my friend had become responsible and respected as the Vice President of the bank. Who knew? The thing is . . . we began reminiscing about our past . . . and he brought up how much fun we had on top of the water tower.
Seriously. They could not believe I had done something so stupid (a word we were not supposed to use, by the way).
I was in trouble, despite the fact that nothing had happened and ummm . . . my children were adults. I told my friend I was going to call his mom and tell on him.
Apparently, we thought we had power and authority over the signs clearly delineating, “do not trespass” as well as the law of gravity. In our Western world of freedom, we tend to not fully understand the concept of authority and power.
There was one man who understood. An unlikely man. Matthew described him after he came to Jesus in Capernaum, a city on the western side of the Sea of Galilee.
When Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to him, asking for help (Matthew 8:5 NIV).
So. It’s important to understand the context of this part of scripture to understand the key point of the text. A centurion, a high ranking Roman official, had power and authority over one hundred soldiers, representing the power and authority of the Emperor of Rome, harming and killing anyone in their way, forcefully taking up money for taxes. The Romans had been a non-stop-powerful-force, invading the land, intent on building their pagan Empire, regardless of the loss and suffering of humanity. They were the enemy. So. When this guy approached Jesus and the disciples, they had to be thinking: “Now what? We can’t do anything without one of these guys showing up. Who’s in trouble now? Someone is going down.”
“Lord,” he said, “my servant lies at home paralyzed and in terrible suffering” (Matthew 8:6 NIV).
It was an unexpected request. The Romans had no regard for God and, yet, the Centurion approached Jesus as Lord. The disciples had to have been confused, but also glad one of the Romans was suffering, thinking there’s no way we will help you murderers.
Jesus said to him, “I will go and heal him” (Matthew 8:7 NIV).
I’m sure the disciples were not happy with Jesus. Really? Are you kidding? But. Jesus did not look at the centurion as a hated Roman but through grace, mercy, and love.
The centurion replied, “Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof” (Matthew 8:8 NIV).
So. This man, who came in the authority of the name of the Roman Emperor did not see himself worthy to have Jesus, who was part of the Jewish people the Romans had oppressed. I’m sure the disciples agreed with the centurion: “You do not deserve a moment of Jesus’ attention, he belongs to our people.”
The centurion continued:
“But just say the word, and my servant will be healed. “For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and that one, ‘Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” (Matthew 8:9, NIV).
No one must have breathed. It was a standstill moment. The man who had received authority and power from the Emperor of Rome, the conqueror of the people, understood the authority and power of Jesus.
When Jesus heard this, he was astonished and said to those following him, “I tell you the truth, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith. I say to you that many will come from the east and the west, and will take their places at the feast with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. But the subjects of the kingdom will be thrown outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” Then Jesus said to the centurion, “Go! It will be done just as you believed it would.” And his servant was healed at that very hour. (Matthew 8: 10-13, NIV).
Jesus was astonished. It’s the only time the scriptures describe Jesus as being astonished. The man who had authority and power , who served under the authority and power of the Roman Emperor, understood, like no one else in Israel, that Jesus had complete authority and power over all. And. The servant was healed that hour.
Look at what you are facing today and submit it all to Christ. Trust in His ultimate authority and power in heaven and on earth. Celebrate what more you will experience through the authority and power of Christ.
So. Put it on the life list:
Intentionally walk in the authority and power of Christ.
Learning to Kickstart the day walking in the authority and power of Christ,
(Written by Kerrie Carlisle Palmer © 2012 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED)