Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Holier than thou

Now when He had ended all His sayings in the audience of the people, He entered into Capernaum. And a certain centurion's servant, who was dear unto him, was sick and ready to die. And when he heard of Jesus, he sent unto Him the elders of the Jews, beseeching Him that He would come and heal his servant.

And when they came unto Jesus, they besought Him instantly, saying that he was worthy for whom He should do this: "For he loveth our nation, and he hath built us a synagogue."

Then Jesus went with them. And when He was now not far from the house, the centurion sent friends to Him, saying unto Him, "Lord, trouble not Thyself: for I am not worthy that Thou shouldest enter under my roof: wherefore neither thought I myself worthy to come unto Thee: but say in a word, and my servant shall be healed.

"For 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."

When Jesus heard these things, He marvelled at him, and turned Him about, and said unto the people that followed Him, "I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel."

And they that were sent, returning to the house, found the servant whole that had been sick.

Luke 7:1-10

I always wondered how a man set under authority could have so much authority over his servants--until this morning when I realized that the centurion had compared himself to Jesus.

The centurion's servants feared him because of the authority under which he made his commands. So the disease plaguing his servant should obey Jesus because of the Authority under which He gave His commands. This was the centurion's acknowledgement that Jesus was a faithful Servant of God, a belief that He was indeed God's beloved Son, in whom He was well-pleased. The centurion needed not to be told, as Peter needed later (Matthew 17:1-5) to hear and obey Him, not even having seen all the miracles to which Peter was an eyewitness. That is why Jesus commended his faith.

But herein is also an important lesson for us: As the servant is not greater than his Master (Matthew 10:24; Luke 6:40; John 13:16 and 15:20), so we are not above the commandments of our Lord and Savior, but under His Authority. If we follow His commandments in the administration of our duties, then we also have great authority.

But remember: our authority is limited to His will. If at anytime we give an order contrary to the Word--the Commandments--of God, we can surely expect to be swiftly corrected. A Roman centurion in rebellion against his authority would have been sentenced to death--unless he quickly repented when discovered. Thereafter he would have no real position of authority, but his lord would make an example of him that all others might fear. No command, therefore, would be given that flatly contradicted the authority of the Roman emperor.

So it must be with us. We should never contradict the Word of God in any of our dealings with our fellow man. We are set under authority--the Authority of Jesus Christ, Who is Lord of all. We must take care that all that we do under His Name, we also do in obedience to His Word. We cannot make up our own rules for anything, but, at any time, if we know not what to do, we should consult Him (James 1:5), that all might be done according to His will and under His authority. That is how we move mountains. (cf. Acts 19:13-17)