Chain of Command

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 servant who was sick and at the point of death, who was highly valued by him. When the centurion heard 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.”  And when those who had been sent returned to the house, they found the servant well.

There isn’t a lot of in depth insight that I have to write about these verses taken from the New Testament.  I just know when I read it, I liked it.

Here was a centurion, so I assume he was a citizen of the Roman Empire, not an Israelite.  Being a Roman citizen he should have little care and or concern about the Jews or Jesus as long as his area of responsibilities was under control.

He was most likely brought up with all the Roman gods and mythology and yet he understood the power and authority God gave to Christ.

Christ understood and “marveled” at the faith possessed by this outsider, this Gentile who really shouldn’t have given any of the Jews a second thought.  Why should he? He’s a Roman authority figure.

Christ was saying to his fellow Jews, you should be getting this. You have all the ground work laid at your feet and yet this outsider understands how simple it is.

As an authoritarian figure the centurion understood the chain of command.  He understood the power and respect that this chain commands.

From a secular (I hate the word secular ) point of view I like this story.

It speaks of the authority that we all have over others at some point in our lives. It speaks of the importance of how we handle that authority because it’s so powerful.

The authority we are granted may not be deserved but how we handle it will ultimately determine whether or not it was deserved.

The centurion understood that.  Instead of tormenting and abusing those who were subject to his authority, he helped them.  He understood his gift of authority that was granted to him and then worked to keep it.

He helped the Jews to build their synagogue.  He highly valued his servants.  Some might say the value was based on financial gains but I don’t believe that.

If it was all about money I don’t see him helping the Jews and truly caring about the welfare of his servants.  I think that he highly valued this servant who had fallen ill as a person, perhaps as a friend.

The centurion understood the responsibilities that come with authority.  He used his authority for the growth and well being of those under his authority.

It’s the kind of boss we’d all like to have.

© Otis P Smith and About the Groove, 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Otis P Smith and About the Groove with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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