Read: Luke 7:20-10
And a centurion’s slave…was sick and about to die. 3 When he heard about Jesus, he sent some Jewish elders asking Him to come and save the life of his slave. 4 When they came to Jesus, they earnestly implored Him, saying, “He is worthy for You to grant this to him… 6 Now Jesus started on His way with them; and when He was not far from the house, the centurion sent friends, saying to Him, “Lord, do not trouble Yourself further, for I am not worthy for You to come under my roof; 7 for this reason I did not even consider myself worthy to come to You, but just say the word, and my servant will be healed. 8 For I also am a man placed under authority, with soldiers under me; and I say to this one, ‘Go!’ and he goes, and to another, ‘Come!’ and he comes, and to my slave, ‘Do this!’ and he does it.” 9 Now when Jesus heard this, He marveled at him, and turned and said to the crowd that was following Him, “I say to you, not even in Israel have I found such great faith.” 10 When those who had been sent returned to the house, they found the slave in good health.
What a crazy and compelling picture of the power of spiritual authority and submission. A Roman centurion whose military background gave him the insight to see how vital submission and authority are, who then applied his knowledge to his spiritual situation and found Jesus declaring that his faith was greater than any He had seen in Israel. Hold it, who said anything about faith? This guy was talking about hupotasso, submission and order, not faith.
This soldier’s story makes it quite obvious that submission and authority are tied very closely to faith in the spiritual realm. You can’t have one without the other. Faith only grows in the ground fertilized with submission to God’s will and way. Spiritual authority is the byproduct, or fruit, of a submitted life that has blossomed into a life of faith. It takes a deep faith to stay put when you can’t understand what God is up to in your journey. It takes a keen understanding of God’s will and way to submit and be still when you are certain you can and should fix things yourself.
This soldier’s humility and understanding of his place in the order of life was incredible. Being on his number and staying in the proper place positioned him for a great miracle. He understood things in the spiritual realm far beyond his religious Jewish friends. He perceived what they missed, that spiritual authority is born out of a heart of submission and that Jesus alone had the power to declare things that are not as though they were.
For those of us who hunger to pray and intercede, to do battle for other’s lives, this lesson is invaluable. Our authority in prayer is born out of our willingness to submit and surrender to Jesus’ will and way. There is no other way; a willful heart is a weak heart in the spirit realm. We must resist making our own way and lean deeply into Him when we are not certain of what to do next. A willful life is a powerless life in the spiritual realm. It is the life that yields daily to His will and way that blossoms into a strong tower that can do battle against darkness.
Father, teach me the value of submission to your heart. Remind me daily that spiritual authority is born in a heart that is submitted to your will and way.