This photo was taken by my husband for me at the Cincinnati Art Museum when a few soldiers from the terracotta army China toured at our museum. Dating from 210 BCE they were amazing. WHen I first saw this General I immediately thought of the Centurion from Capernaum. That man understood authority.
Matthew 8:5-13 (HCSB)
When He entered Capernaum, a centurion came to Him, pleading with Him,
“Lord, my servant is lying at home paralyzed, in terrible agony!” “I will come and heal him,” Jesus told him.
“Lord,” the centurion replied, “I am not worthy to have You come under my roof. But only say the word, and my servant will be cured. For I too am a man under authority, having soldiers under my command. 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.”
Hearing this, Jesus was amazed and said to those following Him, “I assure you: I have not found anyone in Israel with so great a faith! I tell you that many will come from east and west, and recline at the table with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. But the sons of the kingdom will be thrown into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
Then Jesus told the centurion, “Go. As you have believed, let it be done for you.” And his servant was cured that very moment.
With just the signal of a finger this general told his army what to do. The Centurion understood that Jesus did not need to travel to his home. With only a word our Savior healed a paralyzed servant.
I used this photo and scripture recently for a meditation during church wide prayer night. We have a time of confession in that meeting and I wrote, “Lord we ask Your forgiveness when we have not understood Your authority in our lives and over the powers of darkness that torment us. Forgive us, too, for not using the authority You have given us to push back against the darkness. Increase our faith that we might serve You mightily in all things. Help us Lord, to go when You say, “Go,” to come when You call us to come and to do the things You show us to do.”
LK 18:6-8 (Parable of Unjust Judge) Then the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. Will not God grant justice to His elect who cry out to Him day and night? Will He delay to help them? I tell you that He will swiftly grant them justice. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He find that faith on earth?”
This question often rolls about in my mind, will Jesus find faith on the earth when He returns? The Centurion was not even a believer and he amazed Jesus with his faith and understanding of authority. Do we have faith like the persistant widow in the parable about the unjust judge? Faith like the Centruion? Do we have faith that pleases God, for Hebrews 11:6 says “Without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who come to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.”
That sort of faith.