Also Under Authority

The good leader has already proved that he too can be led with order, dignity and respect. In the story of the healing of the centurion's servant by Jesus (Luke 7 and Matthew 8) a very interesting principle is demonstrated.

The centurion, a Gentile, is greatly troubled by the serious illness of his servant, and he decides to petition the One in the area who has proved His authority over illness and other troubles of the human condition... Jesus.

Part way through the process the messengers of the Roman respectfully suggest that Jesus need not trouble Himself to attend personally. Rather that He simply speak the word of authority over powers of darkness and the man no doubt would be healed.

Jesus marvels at this kind of faith and gives exactly what is desired with a word. No visit. No laying on of hands. No application of herb, ointment or potion. No speaking within earshot of the infirm.

The centurion had said the following:

7Wherefore neither thought I myself worthy to come unto thee: but say in a word, and my servant shall be healed.

8For I also am a man set under authority, having under me soldiers, and I say unto one, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it.

With the use of that one word "also" the Roman was affirming that Jesus was qualified to take charge here because He had shown Himself dedicated and obedient to the One above Him; not a Caesar in this case but a higher heavenly Lord who masters the elements and eventualities of earth.

On this incident Charles Spurgeon has said:

"He (the centurion) would not put the Lord Jesus to such trouble as to come to his house. He felt unworthy to be served at such a cost by such a Lord. He argues that a word will do it all. He was under authority himself, and hence his power to exercise authority over others. He believed that the Lord Jesus had a commission also from the supreme power, and that this would gird him with command over all the minor forces of the universe, a command which he could exercise from a distance with a single word."

I am reminded of another piece of scripture along the same line in Hebrews 5:

8Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered;

9And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him;

It was Jesus' obedience and meek submission to the will of the Father that fitted Him to be the Captain of our salvation. In His earth walk He demonstrated that He too was obligated to submit to the holy observances of His community (baptism, temple worship, alms to the poor, the Jewish feasts). In His public ministry He repeatedly affirmed that He did and said only that which was instructed by the Father.

Such obedience was a sweet savour to God. It also assured the community (and ourselves) that He was and is a worthy priest and representative, identifying totally with our given lot in this world, persevering through it all, staying clear of sin and offering sympathetic petitions to God on our behalf.

This was the "truly man" part of His commission. The "truly God" part was veiled for a time and would have to await the resurrection.


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