But Say the Word

We’ve been looking at the ministry of Jesus Christ in the Gospel of Luke. There we see Jesus seeking to restore hearts, spirit, bodies… Jesus is seeking to restore our dignity and humanity.

But can Jesus really bring restoration to our lives? Does he have the power? Does he have the will to keep chasing someone as wayward as me? Does he have the authority? These are the questions we have when encountering Jesus. In Luke 7 we meet someone with a remarkable faith in Jesus’ authority.

Luke 7:1-10

After he had finished all his sayings in the hearing of the people, he entered Capernaum. Now a centurion had a servantwho was sick and at the point of death, who was highly valued by him. When the centurionheard about Jesus, he sent to him elders of the Jews, asking him to come and heal his servant. And when they came to Jesus, they pleaded with him earnestly, saying, “He is worthy to have you do this for him, for he loves our nation, and he is the one who built us our synagogue.” And Jesus went with them. When he was not far from the house, the centurion sent friends, saying to him, “Lord, do not trouble yourself, for I am not worthy to have you come under my roof. Therefore I did not presume to come to you. But say the word, and let my servant be healed. For I too am a man set under authority, with 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 turning to the crowd that followed him, said, “I tell you, not even in Israel have I found such faith.” 10 And when those who had been sent returned to the house, they found the servant well.

On April 26, 2011, four days before the planned raid on Osama Bin Laden’s compound, Admiral Bill McRaven… architect of the raid… spoke to the President of the United States by phone.

“What do you think, Bill?”

Knowing the intelligence was 50/50, he replied:

“If he’s there, we’ll get him. If he’s not, we’ll come home.”

The President, who had the sole authority to green-light the mission, said “Go get him.” He just needed to give the word! This account makes me think of this Roman military man: “But say the word…” And with the word, things spring into action.

I love that phrase and one’s like it: “just give the word” .It implies that people are ready and willing to carry out directive… we just need the go-ahead from the person in-charge! But we often think we need a lot more. Certainly, McRaven did! He needed to have a good plan. He needed to secure special access. He needed the right connections. Sometimes we fell we need need that power encounter with someone we respect to build our confidence… get the pep talk.

When it comes to the most fundamental needs we have (our spiritual walk with God)… we don’t need those things… we just need for Jesus to give the word and believe that he will! Please, don’t hear me say we shouldn’t make plans. We should do our best to be prepared to meet our responsibilities. What I am saying is that with our walk with the Lord, its about his authority, not our readiness.

When it comes to our faith, it’s not about how strong it is. It’s not about how precise it is. It’s about the object of your faith and the centurion’s was clearly on Jesus authority. He didn’t need to be a Jew. He didn’t need to have inside connections. He didn’t even need to see Jesus. Jesus just needed to give the word!

I long for a faith that is as clear as that. I get distracted… I think that for Jesus to come through, we need the approvals… the funding… the right political connections. For my care and healing… Jesus just needs to give the word. ]For your care and healing… Jesus just needs to give the word. Will you trust it?

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