“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.” 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.” Then the men who had been sent returned to the house and found the servant well.” Luke 7:8-10 NIV
“You can’t tell me what to do!” Have you ever heard anybody say that? It’s usually from someone who feels like the person they are speaking to has no authority to give them orders. Can you imagine someone in the army telling their sergeant, “You can’t tell me what to do!”? Yet people in the army of the Lord say it every day.
In our human nature we don’t like to be told what to do. Like John Snow in “Game of Thrones,” we refuse to “bow the knee” to any other ruler because that denies our sovereignty over our personal kingdom. But even John Snow bows the knee when he meets a queen whose cause is righteous and whose heart is right.
Do we have a king that we can “bow the knee” to? Can anybody tell us what to do?
Jesus was asked by some religious leaders to go to a Roman centurion’s house to heal a servant. A couple of things you should notice. Jesus is the Son of God. He doesn’t have to take orders from anybody. The religious leaders don’t really like him and the Romans are oppressing his people. They ask Jesus to go because the centurion has given money to the synagogue. It is a political request. Jesus moves out of a cultural obligation, but more so a spiritual pull towards the faith of one not even present.
When Jesus gets close to the house the centurion comes out to meet him and tells Jesus that he’s not worthy for Jesus to come in his house. But he says, “I’m a man under authority and I have people under me. When I tell them to do something they do it. If you just speak a word I believe that your word spoken in authority will be enough to heal my servant.” Jesus was blown away by his faith! At that moment the man’s servant was healed.
The key to the healing was this: “I am a man under authority.” Our focus is on having authority over others when it should be placing ourselves under authority.
- When we revel against God’s set authority we are participating in witchcraft. You cannot be in authority and rebel against authority.
- Being under authority doesn’t make you weak. It gives you room to speak. Your word never gets heard if you break the chain of command. The centurion said, “I am a man under authority and I have people under me…” can you imagine this centurion trying to tell people under him what to do if he was rebellious to Ceasar? You can’t be rebellious to your boss and expect your subordinates to listen to you.
- Miracles get blocked in the kingdom because there are too many Christians who refuse to submit to authority. We are too busy fighting over who’s going to be in charge. “Because she asked me to do it, I’m not going to obey, even though my boss gave her the orders!”
God wanted to heal the centurion’s servant but he sent religious people to ask Jesus for a political favor. Because of who asked Jesus to come he could’ve recused himself and said, “You can’t tell me what to do!” Instead he humbled himself and followed God’s orders from people he was more anointed than but had authority over him.
The religious leaders had authority over Jesus which he chose to recognize by going to the centurion’s house. The centurion by faith acknowledged the authority in Jesus although Jesus had no official title. Many of us would’ve missed the miracle because we only obey credentialed people!
Many religious people hated Jesus because he didn’t come through the established ranks of religious hierarchy. We need to be careful when we snub our noses at people who are anointed but didn’t get endorsed by the religious elite. The centurion had enough spiritual insight to recognize Jesus’ authority without a title.
Can anybody tell you anything? I’ve seen a lot of anointed and talented people fail to get all they could get from God because they could not submit their gifts under the authority of someone else.
Being in proximity of your pastor is not the same as submission. You can be in the house, but not under the authority of your leader. When you choose to willfully disobey an order or request that originated from your pastor, you have chosen to remove yourself from their leadership. You are no longer “under authority.” So when it comes time for you to speak from your authority nothing manifests. People have a form of godliness, but no power to go with it because their submission is just an act. They are sitting down on the outside but in their hearts they are standing up screaming on the inside, ”You can’t tell me what to do!”
And as a result the servant dies.
Remind us again what it means to be a suffering servant and to submit to Godly authority. We cannot lead until we learn how to follow. Forgive us for being rebellious, passive aggressive, and divisive. Instead, renew the right spirit within us so that we can serve you the right way by serving one another. Thank you for sending Jesus to show us how to sit under authority so that we can speak with authority and see miracles occur.
In Jesus’ Name, I ask these things, the one under whose authority I sit-