After he had finished all his sayings in the hearing of the people, he entered Capernaum. 2 Now a centurion had a servant[a] who was sick and at the point of death, who was highly valued by him. 3 When the centurion[b] heard about Jesus, he sent to him elders of the Jews, asking him to come and heal his servant. 4 And when they came to Jesus, they pleaded with him earnestly, saying, “He is worthy to have you do this for him, 5 for he loves our nation, and he is the one who built us our synagogue.” 6 And Jesus went with them. When he was not far from the house, the centurion sent friends, saying to him, “Lord, do not trouble yourself, for I am not worthy to have you come under my roof. 7 Therefore I did not presume to come to you. But say the word, and let my servant be healed. 8 For I too am a man set under authority, with soldiers under me: and I say to one, ‘Go’, and he goes; and to another, ‘Come’, and he comes; and to my servant, ‘Do this’, and he does it.” 9 When Jesus heard these things, he marvelled at him, and turning to the crowd that followed him, said, “I tell you, not even in Israel have I found such faith.” 10 And when those who had been sent returned to the house, they found the servant well.
11 Soon afterwards[c] he went to a town called Nain, and his disciples and a great crowd went with him. 12 As he drew near to the gate of the town, behold, a man who had died was being carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow, and a considerable crowd from the town was with her. 13 And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her and said to her, “Do not weep.” 14 Then he came up and touched the bier, and the bearers stood still. And he said, “Young man, I say to you, arise.” 15 And the dead man sat up and began to speak, and Jesus[d] gave him to his mother. 16 Fear seized them all, and they glorified God, saying, “A great prophet has arisen among us!” and “God has visited his people!” 17 And this report about him spread through the whole of Judea and all the surrounding country.
Jesus and the Centurion are both under authority. Jesus is under the authority of the Father and the Centurion is under the authority of Caesar. Jesus is equal to the Father, but he proceeds from the Father as His Son. The Centurion would be equal as a human being to Caesar, but his role is to execute Caesar’s commands. Jesus was amazed that the centurion understood that Jesus’ power came from an hierarchy where Jesus was himself executing His Father’s orders. The power came from above and many in Israel were unable to clearly discern how Jesus did his miracles. The relationship with authority is important. Jesus’ authority was bestowed by the Father and Jesus bestowed this same authority on his disciples. We are under authority which through a chain of command goes all the way to the top. However, many of us do not act with authority because our society disrespects authority and dismisses attempts to speak truth.
We must develop some backbone. We must realise that not all truth claims are equally valid. Our mandate comes from the throne of God and so we have authority to speak the truth and to stand on its validity. If we do not, we will continue to be marginalized and ignored. Jesus was ridiculed, criticized and crucified, but he was not ignored.
Jesus, you modeled for us how to live under authority. Help us to live in such a way that it makes a difference in the world.
- How do the Jews appeal to Jesus on the Centurion’s behalf?
- What does the Centurion’s response reveal about his perception?
- Why is Jesus amazed?
- Do you accept Jesus’ authority as the Son of God?
- How does that transform your walk with God?