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Daily Worship


February 13 | Matthew 8:1-13





Under Authority

by Pastor Dave Mann

As of yesterday, our Daily Worship Bible readings concluded Jesus’ ethical teachings, commonly known as the Sermon on the Mount. Today, we launch into the narrative of Jesus’ life and work, leading to his death, resurrection, and ascension. In this text, we have two brief stories of people who are socially outside of the religious community, a leper and a centurion. Nevertheless, they display remarkable faith.

vv. 1-4 – Jesus’ first work in this portion of Matthew’s gospel is the encounter with and healing of a leper. The man, who had been strictly marginalized from society, displays an amazing faith. “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.” He does not doubt Jesus’ power, but he does pose the question of Jesus’ willingness to use his power. Jesus is indeed willing and performs the healing. He subsequently commands the healed man to show himself to the priests at the temple and to bring the customary offering as a testimony to them. (See Leviticus 14:1ff.)

vv. 5-13 – A Roman centurion, a Gentile and a commander of 100 soldiers, certainly was considered unclean and was banned from entering the homes and synagogues of respectable Jewish believers. Nonetheless, he dares to approach Jesus to request the healing of his paralyzed servant. His courage to break through the social boundaries is remarkable by itself, but he continues, stating that Jesus need not bother to physically travel to his home – "Just say the word, and it shall be done.” The military officer understands the power of subordinate authority. A lower-ranking officer in relation to his superior bears not only his own authority but also that of his commanding officer. We are not told the full extent of how much of Jesus’ relation to the Father the centurion understood – the human nature of the incarnate Son of God in a subordinate relationship to God the Father. However, it is clear that the officer recognized that Jesus commanded an authority that surpassed that of a typical Jewish rabbi. I can imagine the centurion’s personal experience was well grounded in the military chain of command leading all the way up to the Roman emperor. He clearly recognized that Jesus had a spiritual authority that did not require a physical presence.

Jesus’ ministry is off and running with these two marginalized people acting on their faith in Jesus’ authority to heal and to bless. May our faith in his authority be as solid as that of the leper and the centurion.


Lord Jesus, when you walked this earth in your human nature, you were in close relationship with God the Father. Thank you for using your authority to heal, to bless, and to announce the kingdom of God. May your authority hold sway in my life as well. Amen

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