Unexpected Authority

I remember this one time when my friends and I foolishly decided to go for a walk. When I had invited them for a walk, the sky was a nice light gray. I assumed it would possibly rain on us and what's a little rain? I got ready to leave my house to meet them (they lived between 3 and 6 blocks away) and as soon as I stepped outside, I noticed that the clouds were no longer a nice light gray, but in fact, a very angry and very dark looking sky greeted me. A storm was rolling in and it was rolling in FAST! 

Taking my parent's permission, I ran out into the weather to meet my friends. I felt a bit daring, even like I was risking getting in trouble. I knew that if my mom got one look at that sky, my plans would have been squashed immediately. I made it two blocks before I noticed that the wind had picked up quite a bit. The wind had become so intimidating, yet I pressed on. Saw my friends waiting for me on the next corner and thought we'd just make plans to get under cover rather than go for our intended walk. I made it two and a half blocks before the sound of the tornado sirens went off. My friends calling to me, I ran in the opposite direction. I ran home.

When I came home, I found both of my parents watching for me with very worried expressions. I noticed they had both been pacing. To this day, that knowledge lives with me. To this day, I'll never forget the dark clouds or the violent winds. If you're wondering, a waterspout (tornado on water) had been the cause of the tornado sirens. The waterspout was maybe ten miles away. Far enough to be safe, close enough to be a bit on edge.

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I think about all these stories that display God's mighty power. I think about the fact that He spoke the earth into existence. I think about every part of creation: the sun, the universe, blue whales, hippos, redwood trees, etc., all became SOMETHING out of NOTHING with a simple "Let it be" command. I think about how Jesus raises a hand and the storm ceases. I think about how a simple touch and a simple command could free victims from demons, heal all diseases, and bring strength where there was only weakness.

As intimidating and scary as my own storm was, God is even more powerful! Yet, I have to wonder, do I trust in His authority? Maybe it's just me, but when I go to Him with my needs, I kind of expect it to be accomplished in a certain way. Maybe I ask Him to provide cold, hard, cash so that my family could buy groceries, but instead, He provides through other means. Maybe I ask Him to heal my precious boy instantly, but maybe He works through another person to create a cure a few years from now. I don't know what God plans always are, but I do know that they don't always line up with what I expect. In those moments, do I trust His authority? Do I trust that in the grand scheme of things that He is in control?

Read Matthew 8:5-13.

But the centurion replied, ‘Lord, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof, but only say the word, and my servant will be healed...’
— Matthew 8:8 ESV

We like to think in formulas, don't we? Bring sick person to Jesus + Believe that Jesus can heal said sick person = Jesus healing the sick person. OR. Approach Jesus and ask Him to sick person's house + Believe Jesus can heal = Jesus goes and heals the sick person at sick person's house. These seemed to be the formulas that so many stories in the Gospel seem to follow. It seemed to be a commonly held belief that if you (or someone else) wanted healing , that you'd make the trip (with the sick person) to Jesus. Yet how many actually believed that Jesus had the authority and ability to heal, without being in the same physical location as the sick?

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If this was the formula, why would the centurion give up the 100% success rate? It seems easy enough to follow, doesn't it? This man so surprises me with his faith in Jesus' authority. The centurion does neither of these known formulas. Instead, he takes his own understanding of authority and applies it to Jesus.

Jesus had already demonstrated authority in being able to heal the sick, give sight to the blind, make the lame walk, and the mute speak. This centurion knew that. He stepped outside of the known formula and got to the root and the source of the healing. He boiled the formula down to the TRUTH that Jesus has the authority to heal.

Here's the thing: Jesus healing the sick, raising the dead to life, bringing sight to the blind, calming raging wind and waves, providing for our needs, none of it was/is about following a formula. It's more than the formula! It's understanding that Jesus has authority over all sickness, death, blindness, wind, waves, and our needs. He's bigger than our ailments, He's bigger than our needs, He's bigger than our storms. He's the source of healing, wholeness, provision, and peace! 

The second surprising part of this whole story is Jesus' response:

And to the centurion Jesus said, ‘Go, let it be done for you as you have believed.’ And the servant was healed at that very moment.
— Matthew 8:13 ESV

"Let it be done according to what you have believed." How much did that servant's healing depend on the centurion's faith? The centurion could have believed that maybe things get slightly better. He could have believed that Jesus could heal the servant to a somewhat better condition. But no, the centurion actually believed that Jesus would heal his servant completely. How do we know this? Because the servant was restored to complete and total health INSTANTLY. 

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How often do we only ask for Jesus to make our situations slightly better rather than completely transformed according to HIS power and authority? How often do we ask for a passable result rather than a total transformation? Do we believe that He is able and willing to make the difference we truly desire?

Unexpected Authority: What We Learn

We learn "Who’s the boss?" Thanks to my kids, writing that down makes me think of the Ghostbuster's theme song, "Who you gonna call?... Ghostbusters!" But seriously, who has the authority to handle any situation thrown at us (big or small)? Calling on Jesus to intervene in a situation, we have to first acknowledge that He can do something about it. When we acknowledge that He can do something about (has the authority over) our situation, then we begin to understand that He is in charge. He's the boss. He can calm any storm with a simple command. He can bring peace with the simplest command or the smallest touch. 

We learn to relinquish control. He's the boss, right? He can take care of my problem, right? Then why would I go around trying to fix everything, when the Ultimate Fixer is on scene? And you know what? He's always on scene. I'm going to be honest, I don't want to be the boss. I don't want to have to be in control all the time. It's exhausting. It's discouraging (to say the least) when I feel helpless in a situation and nothing I do even helps the situation even a little bit. He's in control. He is able. I need to back off and submit to the real authority. 

We learn that Jesus is able. If Jesus is able to calm the storm, heal with words and touch, then what’s stopping Him from handling my situation? We can get so wrapped up in how powerful He is (and He is), but have you also noticed how gentle He is? The wild storm is no match for His soft command. The wild storm in my heart is no match for His still, small voice. He is able. When my mind is overwhelmed with my own helplessness, He is able. 

Do you believe He is able?

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What surprises you about His authority?