The Church needs to rediscover the authority of this centurion.
It is not an authority that builds a culture of fear and intimidation. It is not an authority which is afraid of losing any argument and coming second and so losing it’s important power and position. It does not use loyalty and commitment as the drivers to keep being the authoritative voice. It is not an authority without accountability. It will not quote, ‘Thou Jezebel’ or ‘touch not the anointed one’.
But nevertheless it is authoritative over the schemes of the evil one and the brokenness of our world.
The centurion knew the power of the spoken word when it comes from the place of authority.
With authority you don’t need to touch, manoeuvre or place into position. With authority you just need to command.
The centurion experienced this every day of his life. Authority was normal for him. He didn’t need to manhandle his soldiers, he just spoke over their lives, they heard and it was done.
“Jesus said to him, ‘Shall I come and heal him?’ The centurion replied, ‘Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. 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.’ When Jesus heard this, he was amazed and said to those following him, ‘Truly I tell you, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith.” (Matthew 8 v 7-10)
We see in these verses the centurion said there was a lot of going and coming. But when it came to his servant he had said, ‘Do this’ but this time there was no doing.
There are times when what we thought should happen didn’t and there is no sign that it will again.
What do we do when we can’t get things to move? When there is no breakthrough?
His authority was powerless because his servant was powerless.
Perhaps this is your situation today?
Here is how we begin to rediscover authority over what is broken.
Faith in the authority of Jesus to heal the servant was greater than his authority.
This year more than at any other time in our generation we need to rediscover authority and it is found in Jesus. Our faith in Jesus is not some mystical higher thought. But it is to discover the Word of God, Jesus and it is to find our voice in speaking that Word into our everyday life. Our authority needs to be less than our faith in His authority. He can do it. “Then the Lord reached out his hand and touched my mouth and said to me, ‘I have put my words in your mouth” Jeremiah 1:9
The Bible is our answer. Tomorrow I will write more on this.
(Note: Matthew’s version of the story is shorter than Luke and is told differently. Luke who is writing to Gentiles emphasises the Jewish friends and messengers of the centurion whereas Matthew writing to mainly Jews emphasises the Gentile centurion at the feet of Jesus. It is not contradictory, but put together you have a fuller story, there are a number of people involved.)