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A Man under Authority

Read: Matthew 8:5-13

I too am a man under authority. (v. 9)

It wasn’t easy to surprise Jesus. Only twice are we told in the Gospels that something astonished him. One was the lack of faith among his hometown friends and neighbors—”he marveled because of their unbelief” (Mark 6:6). The other was the faith of this Roman centurion. When Jesus heard what the man said, “he marveled,” exclaiming, “with no one in Israel have I found such faith” (Matt. 8:10). This is the first time the word “faith” appears in the New Testament. Isn’t it interesting that it’s used not of a disciple but of this foreigner?

What was so amazing about the centurion’s faith was its combination of self-effacing humility and boundless confidence in Jesus’ power. Just as he was willing to touch a leper, so Jesus also offered to go to this gentile’s house to heal his servant. “Lord,” he objected, “I am not worthy to have you come under my roof, but only say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I too am a man under authority” (vv. 8-9). A lifetime in the army had taught him all there was to know about both taking orders and giving them. He knew authority when he saw it. “So just give the order, Lord, and sickness and suffering and even death itself will have to obey you.”

I identify with this guy. As a Christian, I too am a man under authority. A key question is whether we acknowledge the authority of God’s Word or choose to define for ourselves what’s true or false and right or wrong. —David Bast

As you pray, consider how you are under authority.

About the Author

Rev. Dave Bast retired as the President and Broadcast Minister of Words of Hope in January 2017, after 23 years with the ministry. Prior to his ministry and work at Words of Hope, Dave served as a pastor for 18 years in congregations in the Reformed Church in America. He is the author of several devotional books. A graduate of Hope College and Western Theological Seminary, he has also studied at both the Fuller and Calvin seminaries. Dave and his wife, Betty Jo, have four children and four grandchildren. Dave enjoys reading, growing tomatoes, and avidly follows the Detroit Tigers.