Kingdom Living #9
And when Jesus entered Capernaum, a centurion came to Him, imploring Him, and saying, “Lord, my servant is lying paralyzed at home, fearfully tormented.” Jesus said to him, “I will come and heal him.” But the centurion said, “Lord, I am not worthy for You to come under my roof, but just say the word, and my servant will be healed. “For I also am a man 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.” Now when Jesus heard this, He marveled and said to those who were following, “Truly I say to you, I have not found such great faith with anyone in Israel. “I say to 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 cast out into the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” And Jesus said to the centurion, “Go; it shall be done for you as you have believed.” And the servant was healed that very moment. (Matthew 8:5-13)
This snap shot within the life of Christ shows us servant leadership in action. This military leader understood the ‘over/under’ model of leadership. He understood that his military mission limited the exercise of authority toward those under his command. But he also recognized something different with Jesus.
Jesus had unlimited authority. He had command over disease and death. He had command over the elements of nature – wind and rain. He had the power to control man and creature.
It would nothing for Jesus to command an invincible army and rise to reign over the entire inhabited earth. His enemies fighting soldiers who could not be killed. His enemies fighting against the elements, floods, winds, etc. all at His beckoning call. And all Jesus had to do was ‘say the word’ and it was done.
This centerion recognized what no one in Israel saw. Jesus uses His resources to serve. He used His resources to help the weak. He used His resources to manifest His character and heart.
In contrast to Jesus the centerion felt unworthy for Jesus to enter his home. But Jesus could simply speak and his servant would be healed. What faith the centerion possessed.
Jesus modeled the exercise of both leadership and authority. He did so not just to be admired but to be imiatated. Imagine His community controlling their resources to benefit others leading them to righteousness. Imagine His community using their resources to manifest His character and heart within them. Imagine His reign within His community at work to restore justice, righteousness and peace in His Father’s creation.
Imagine you and I dead to self. Dead to serving self for our personal gain. Dead to the desires of the flesh - power, prestige, and worldly pleasure. Imagine you and I dead to sin. Dead to that which causes us to fall short of God glory. Imagine you and I dead to society. Bending twisting contorting to be conformed into its political correct forms.
Imagine all of this becoming reality because we imitate the model of Jesus in servant authority and servant leadership. More next time…