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.
as N. T. Wright points out in his Luke for Everyone, it is difficult to find authority structures in civilian life which resemble the authority structures in the ancient world. The army still has such a chain of command, although Jesus doesn’t really resemble a military officer on campaign. He does speak and have authority because of his relationship with the Father. In the same way that a Roman centurion would execute an order with all the authority of Rome, so Jesus executes an order with all the authority of Heaven.
This kind of authority results in our unquestioning obedience. For most Christians doubt and questioning has become an art form. We even see in literature that Trial of God and he is found to be non-existent because he does not play by man’s rules. However, God plays the game by his own rules and in his own way. An obedient servant might have questions, but they resemble the person of Abraham who trudged up Mount Moriah with some questions, I am sure, about why God would want to have him sacrifice his son. However, he knew the authority that compelled him and so he obeyed.
We know the good that we should do but sometimes we are distracted or think we know better. Let it not be so.
- Who has a request of Jesus?
- Why do the local Jews think it should be answered?
- How does Jesus respond?
- What is Jesus’ authority to you?
- How is it shown?