Day 9 – Word with Authority

Posted on Posted in Advent

After most sermons, I’m ready for a nap. Jesus ends His Sermon on the Mount to go to work on sickness, sin, storms, and demons at the bottom. In just one chapter, Matthew records Jesus healing a leper and a paralytic, rebuking a fever, a storm, and His disciples, and then casting out two demons from men into pigs. By his words on the mount Jesus spoke like the Messiah, and now at the foot of the mount, Jesus showed himself to be the Messiah by his mighty deeds.

In this chapter, Jesus meets another man who had authority; a centurion. This man had authority over 100 men in the Roman army. He was the guy with the whistle who spits when he yells at his platoon “Down… Up… Down…” as their bodies follow the commands of his cracking voice. This was a man who knew authority, and knew when he saw it.

And it was this man who came to Jesus asking for a miracle. He had a paralyzed servant at home and Jesus volunteered to come and heal him. But then the centurion protested the thought of Jesus coming to his house, because he was not worthy enough to have Jesus come under his roof. So he asks Jesus to merely speak a word, and his servant would be healed.

This man understood that just as he had command over his soldier’s arms and legs by words that passed through his lips, Jesus had command over all things by the words that passed through his. And Jesus marveled at this man’s faith. In fact, Jesus said this man had more faith than anyone he had encountered in all of Israel, and that the Kingdom was going to made up of people with such faith, while many Israelites would find themselves on the wrong side of the door.

Here we observe that when Jesus speaks, things happen. Spots disappear; stiff bones move, violent storms calm, and demons sink to the bottom of the sea wrapped in bacon. And yet when his voice comes reverberating towards us through his word, it is often met with resistance, or even flat out disobedience. For in this kingdom his voice can be ignored, laughed at, or even mocked. But this is not so in the Kingdom to come. In that Kingdom, all things will hear his voice and drop to one knee and bow before him as LORD. For in that Kingdom he will have all authority over all things, including you and me.