Jesus’ Authority and a Centurion’s Faith
“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.”
Dear Family & Friends,
You, like me, have probably noticed that you have different levels of authority based on the situation. When I was a young mother I had the power to make decisions for my children because they were minors. As an employee I have control over certain things that are under my administration. But there are other times, when I am in someone else’s jurisdiction, that I have no authority and must obey that person’s rules. The writer of the gospel of Matthew has set out to prove that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and as such He has complete authority over all things in heaven and on earth.
Jesus’ Authority Shown Through Healings
Matthew’s first example of Jesus’ authority involved a man suffering with the incurable disease of leprosy. The afflicted man came to Jesus pleading for healing. Jesus responded to the man’s faith with a healing touch. Normally a person touching the diseased skin of a leper would be at risk of contracting the disease himself, but from Jesus’s touch flowed health and restoration, proving He had power over disease.
Next, Matthew shows that Jesus’ authority over disease is not hindered by distance. One day a Roman military officer approached Jesus with a desperate problem. His servant had contracted a debilitating illness that left him paralyzed and suffering. “Please help him!” the centurion pleaded.
The Centurion’s Great Faith
Although this man was a Roman and hated by the Jews Jesus asked if He could come to his house to heal the servant. The Roman officer, recognizing the offensive relationship between his people and the Jews, declined the offer suggesting that he was not worthy for Jesus to enter his home. “Just say the word,” the man proposed, “and my servant will be healed.”
He went on to explain, “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.”
Jesus, amazed by the man’s incredible faith, applauded him and told those listening that He had never seen this kind of faith in all of Israel. Jesus then informed His followers that many nations outside the borders of Israel would be part of His kingdom while many of the chosen race would be cast out. The deciding factor was not genealogy, position, or power, but faith!
Jesus Validates His Authority Over Distance
Turning back to the waiting centurion, Jesus validated His authority over distance with the words, “Go; it shall be done for you as you have believed.” That very moment the servant was healed.
Jesus did many more miracles and Matthew will give more examples in the following chapters, each one pointing to and strengthening the truth of Jesus’s claims. He was Who He said He was: the Son of God, a King with all authority in heaven and on earth.
Faith Needed to Enter God’s Kingdom
Today faith in Jesus is still the only way to enter God’s Kingdom, and those of us who are already citizens must live each day by faith. Difficulties will come, but there is no need to fear. Jesus does not have a limited jurisdiction. Today, as always, the King has complete authority over everything in heaven and earth.