Authority: Reflecting on Scripture

» Posted by on Feb 27, 2014 in reflecting on scripture | 0 comments

Authority: Reflecting on Scripture

What is authority?
Why is it important?
How does it work?
What is its benefit in our lives?

Many years ago I came to understand what authority means, became comfortable with it, and came to enjoy its benefits in my life. Reflecting on scripture in relationship to this topic, the best story for understanding authority is the centurion who came to Yeshua (Jesus) asking Him to heal his servant:

Synagogue at Caperneum , which I visited in March 2012.

Synagogue at Caperneum , which I visited in March 2012.

When he had entered Capernaum, a centurion came forward to him, appealing to him, “Lord, my servant is lying paralyzed at home, suffering terribly.” And he said to him, “I will come and heal him.” 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. For I too am a man 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 Yeshua (Jesus) heard this, he marveled and said to those who followed him, “Truly, I tell you, with no one in Israel have I found such faith.” And to the centurion Yeshua (Jesus) said, “Go; let it be done for you as you have believed.” And the servant was healed at that very moment. –Matthew 8:5-10, 13

Soldiers were a common site in Israel, March 2012.

Soldiers were a common site in Israel, March 2012.

The centurion describes authority like a chain of command, each person responsible for the individuals in their command, and equally responsible to the one in authority over them. Putting yourself in an attitude of submitting to authority provides security for you and gives you a position of comfort in the scheme of life. Giving respect to the one in authority over you allows that person to protect you and safeguard you in the work you are doing.

Understandably, there are times when the person in authority does not have your best interest or your same moral values. Nevertheless, you can exist to some degree in safety within the context of the organization because of the way authority works. What I find is that the more you submit and respect an individual, the more respect and authority you are given for your place in the structure.

The centurion knew this very well, and so deferred to Yeshua (Jesus) in regards to the healing of his servant. He believed that Yeshua had the authority to heal his servant, and recognized that He was under the authority of His Father. Yeshua Himself said,

“I can do nothing on my own. As I hear, I judge, and my judgment is just, because I seek not my own will but the will of him who sent me.” –John 5:30

Sitting with my parents at the restaurant after the ceremony; my mom, Joan Rasmussen, and my dad, Melvin O. Rasmussen, March 2013.

Sitting with my parents at a restaurant in Pasco, Washington; my mom, Joan Rasmussen, and my dad, Melvin O. Rasmussen, March 2013.

Yeshua (Jesus) gave us the example of being under the authority of the Father. The centurion recognized this authority and intrinsically understood the nature of that power; just as he was backed up by those above him in the chain of command, so he knew that the Father would back up whatever Yeshua claimed to be or do.

Yeshua’s comment about the centurion was that He had not seen faith like this in all of Israel.

What did He mean by that statement?

If an individual operates outside of a chain of command, there is no one to back him up; hence, he is on his own and cannot implement changes. Submitting to authority provides the framework for implementation. In this case, it was a simple recognition of sovereignty.

Men of American Legion Post 34 in Pasco, Washington congratulating my dad for receiving the Bronze Star Medal, March 2013.

Men of American Legion Post 34 in Pasco, Washington congratulating my dad for receiving the Bronze Star Medal for his service in WWII, March 2013.

One in authority under authority can see the authenticity from which Yeshua made His claim, believed what He said, and by submitting to His supremacy, received healing for his servant.

Reflecting on scripture can show us how authority works in our lives, why it is important and how it benefits us. Submitting ourselves to God’s authority by working within the earthly jurisdictions put in place by God gives us protection and safety. Yielding ourselves in submission to God and the authority of man gives us context for our lives and provides a mechanism whereby God can intervene with His authority when necessary.

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