But say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I also am a man placed under authority, having soldiers under me. And I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes; and to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” When Jesus heard these things, He marveled at him, and turned around and said to the crowd that followed Him, “I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel!” (Luke 7:7-9 NKJV)
The man in this passage of scripture had such great faith that it caused Jesus to “marvel.”
The word ‘marvel’ means to be in amazement at something or someone. The same word is used when the disciples of Jesus ‘marveled’ at how Jesus was able to calm the wind and the waves, and also in the instance when the disciples caught a huge catch of fish at the word of Jesus. But in this case it wasn’t the disciples marveling, it was Jesus! And the reason Jesus marveled was because this centurion demonstrated a faith that was not typical of what Jesus would see.
The story goes how this centurion (that is, a commander of 100 Roman soldiers) sent men to Jesus to beseech Him for his dying servant. As Jesus went with them this centurion again sent some of his friends to speak with Jesus. They delivered the message that the centurion did not feel worthy that Jesus should enter his house, but that He would only speak the word and his servant would be made well. This he understood since he was a man under authority and in authority. If Jesus would just give the command, that was all he needed.
The hidden message in all of this is what the centurion implied by the words that he said. His implication was that Jesus had such authority on earth that he could simply speak a word and all the powers of heaven and earth would move. Just as the centurion would speak to his servants knowing they would act, Jesus could speak to the elements of this world and they would obey. He spoke to the fig tree. He spoke to the winds and the waves. They obeyed. Certainly the sickness that plagued this man’s servant would also bow to the authority of Jesus. This centurion understood and believed the Man he sent to was in authority over all. No sickness could rebel against His word. The world was spoken into existence by His word and so it could also be altered when needed.
Jesus made it quite a practice to speak to ‘things,’ and order them around: He spoke to the fig tree and it withered. He spoke to dead bodies and they came to life. He spoke to demons and they fled. He spoke to the wind and to the waves and they obeyed. He spoke to eyes and ears and they would open. Amazing!
But Jesus doesn’t reserve this practice for himself. In Mark 11 he tells us to do the same thing. “Whoever says to this mountain, ‘be removed, and be cast in the sea’ and shall not doubt in his heart, but believes that whatever he says will come to pass, he shall have whatever he says.” We, too, can exercise the type of authority that Jesus did. The disciples did. They acted just like Jesus. They spoke to devils and commanded them to go. They spoke to the lame and told them to walk. They spoke to the dead, and commanded them to live. And in every instance they did something very important; they used the name of Jesus.
Remember that when Jesus was departing from this earth that He said, “All authority in heaven and in earth has been given unto me. Go therefore, and teach all nations…” (Matt 28:18-19). Another way you could say this is: “Because all authority has been given to Me in heaven and in earth, Go, and teach all nations.” Jesus is showing us that His name carries authority in all the world. And with that is the implication that we are authorized to use His name. It’s His authority, but any believer can exercise it as long as they do it in His name. Jesus further explains it in Mark’s version of this account:
These signs shall follow those that believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; they shall take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it shall by no means hurt them; they will lay hands of the sick and they will recover. Mark 16:16-17
The cool thing about this is that Jesus doesn’t say, “These signs shall follow you (the disciples).” He says, “These signs shall follow them that believe.” Sometimes we are tempted to think that these things are for Jesus’ disciples only, but the scripture doesn’t say that. It’s for all believers. If you can believe, you can have these things. Anyone can use His name to exercise authority in the earth. Notice this passage:
Now John answered and said, “Master, we saw someone casting out demons in Your name, and we forbade him because he does not follow with us.” But Jesus said to him, “Do not forbid him…” (Luke 9:49-50)
Here was a man who was not one of Jesus’ disciples. This man was ahead of the game, because Jesus hadn’t even let everyone know that they could do this. Nevertheless, this man understood authority in Jesus’ name and he used that name to cast out devils. If this man, who wasn’t among the 12 could use Jesus’ authority, then we can, too.
The name of Jesus is the key. It is His authority. We can use it.
The Word of God even takes it so far to say that we are seated with Him in the place of authority. At the end of the first chapter of Ephesians you will see that Christ has been risen to heaven and was seated at the right hand of God (Eph 1:20). But then you see in the very next chapter, that we are raised up, too! We, also, are seated in with Him:
[He} raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus… Eph 2:6
See! We are right up there with Him. This is figurative language, of course. It simply means that we are in authority with Him, through Him.
There are few Christians who understand this authority and walk in it. I’ve experienced it to a limited degree in my life, but I need to exercise it much more. Fear often hinders us from launching out into the deep things that God has for us to walk in. Let’s learn to overcome that fear. Let’s learn to exercise the authority God has given us. If we do, we will set many people free and bring much glory to God!