Matthew 8:1-13 Authority Explained

When Jesus came down from the mountainside, large crowds followed him. A man with leprosy[a] came and knelt before him and said, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.”

Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” Immediately he was cleansed of his leprosy. Then Jesus said to him, “See that you don’t tell anyone. But go, show yourself to the priest and offer the gift Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.”

When Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to him, asking for help. “Lord,” he said, “my servant lies at home paralyzed, suffering terribly.”

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.”

10 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. 11 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. 12 But the subjects of the kingdom will be thrown outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

13 Then Jesus said to the centurion, “Go! Let it be done just as you believed it would.” And his servant was healed at that moment.

Authority Explained

Jesus, it is your right to run my life.  Quite frankly, I think that I would prefer that option but you want me to choose to surrender daily.  I get distracted.  I get lost down side alleys and miss where the path is meant to lead.  I am often not conscious of the Father and all that he is doing.  I go along as if the most important thing in the world is to determine what is for lunch.  I know that your priorities are the true priorities but I don’t always pay attention.  You, Jesus, were sent into the world to redeem it.  There is much to be done.  The planet is struggling and its inhabitants are sick.  Their way to heal their sickness is to pretend that they don’t have anything wrong with themselves.  How can a doctor heal those who do not see that they are sick.  I feel stressed under your authority.  I have to talk about you and the freedom that you bring, but people want systems and rules to hide behind.  People want formulae and quick fixes.  They don’t want true heart transformation because it hurts.  Then when they reject your message, I wonder if I misread the Bible.  I wonder if I got the relationship with you wrong.  However, you really didn’t have much to show for your three years of ministry, did you?  You were dead and your followers scattered.  I should remember that I am under the authority of one who saw his followers disperse under duress.

It is helpful to picture reporting to you as a soldier reports in for duty.  Give me your mission.  Help me to follow today’s orders and do so with the confidence that I am not relying on my own power and authority.


  1. How does Jesus demonstrate authority over Israel and the world?
  2. What is the correct response to Jesus’ authority?
  3. Why wasn’t Israel able to exhibit the same faith as the centurion?
  4. Are you submitted to the person of Jesus?
  5. How does Jesus’ authority give you orders for each day?


About Plymothian

I teach at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. My interests include education, biblical studies, and spiritual formation. I have been married to Kelli since 1998 and we have two children, Daryl and Amelia. For recreation I like to run, play soccer, play board games, read and travel.
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