I think it is amazing that anyone could amaze Jesus! Who was this incredible person? What qualified him of such status?
We read about him in the gospels. He is a captain in the Roman army, an unnamed centurion, overseeing about one hundred men. His solid reputation among the Jews, sincere concern of his slave and love for the nation qualifies him a notch above the norm. He also helped build the synagogue.
These attributes make it clear he was not the typical army commander of that day. Packing these characteristics into one human is enough to amaze me!
Though the word “love” only appears once, it permeates all he does. Whether behind closed doors where only servants witness or in the public square, a love that went above and beyond marked his life.
The word “amazing” is perhaps overused today:
My grandchildren are amazing.
(I challenge anyone to disagree!)
The meal was amazing,
amazing hospitality, sunset, feats of strength…
To amaze means to fill with astonishment, to take someone’s breath away, to stun or leave someone open-mouthed. Somehow, I have a hard time visualizing Jesus in this way. Yet it is true!
“When Jesus heard this, he was amazed at him,
and turning to the crowd following him, he said,
‘I tell you, I have not found such great faith even in Israel.’ ”
Why was his faith amazing? The recorded interaction shows he had a firm understanding of authority.
“… say the word, and my servant will be healed.
For 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.”
Authority combines both legal ability and authorization to exercise power. It also carries the strength for enforcement. Power is the actual exercise and use of the power and influence of authority.
Authority is the permission granted to actually carry out a task. Power is the force exerted to complete it.
Matthew said that Jesus
“… taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law.”
Everything Jesus did (His power) flowed from this place of authority. In Christ, authority and power presented an unbeatable combination.
“Say the word,” the centurion said, “and my servant will be healed.” His confession to Jesus was, “Speak and it will be!”
Whether it was words of healing, calming a storm or blessing a meal, Jesus moved in both power and authority.
“Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of the boy,
and he was healed at that moment.”
Jesus gave authority to the twelve disciples:
“Jesus called his twelve disciples to him
and gave them authority to drive out impure spirits and
to heal every disease and sickness.”
And then to seventy-two others:
“I have given you authority to trample on
snakes and scorpions and
to overcome all the power of the enemy;
nothing will harm you.”
Snakes and scorpions were the cause of excruciating pain and even death. Walking in the authority of Christ produces the ability to overcome. That is good news!
But it didn’t stop there! One of the most profound statements in the Bible is
“Just as you sent me into the world,
I am sending them into the world.”
Jesus came with power and authority, teaching and doing all the Father instructed. Just as the Father sent Jesus into the world with power and authority, so Jesus is sending each of us. I honestly haven’t grasped the measure of this truth, but I’m working on it.
I once read: “Power is the ability to do something. Authority is the right to do it. Power without authority is abuse. Authority without power is pointless.”
Do you believe Jesus would send us out on mission ill-equipped or unprepared? Absolutely not! Everything we need to do even greater things is at our disposal.
“Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me
will do the works I have been doing, and
they will do even greater things than these,
because I am going to the Father.”
Through Jesus Christ and the presence of the Holy Spirit, we have the capacity to walk in both power and authority. It truly is an unbeatable team!
“We must have the devotion and the confidence
to believe that He will not fail and cannot fail.”
The centurion, the twelve disciples, Smith Wigglesworth and countless others took hold of the winning combination of authority and power.
For you or I to rank in the mix, we must grasp not only the concept of authority but take the nature of a servant, like the centurion did. I action flowing from a heart of love impact our generation.
Do you believe it is still possible to amaze Jesus? Jaw-dropping astonishment might occur more often as faith is put into action. Yes! That is our hope!
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