Summary: Most Christians truly want to live the kind of life that Jesus requires but often find it difficult to do so. Why? They don't understand what it means to be in submission? This is something Jesus understood and we need to also.
Are You “Set Under Authority”?
We know that Jesus operated in faith. He had complete trust in who he was as God’s Son and he knew that all of the resources of Heaven were available to him. If we have the same life in us that Jesus has in him, then why do we not have complete trust in who we are? Why don’t we believe that we have the resources of Heaven available to us? The answer to these questions requires an understanding of what it means to be obedient.
Let’s begin with three scriptures in John – John 4:34, 5:30 and 7:16-17.
What is the common theme in these verses? The theme is Jesus’s willingness to set aside his will – his desires, his wishes, and his decision-making authority – to do whatever the Father wants him to do. We know that when it came to living in and by faith, Jesus did that. And based on what we see in these verses, and this holds true for many other passages in the Gospels, Jesus’s first priority was doing what the Father wanted done. Everything else was secondary.
As I think about my own life, I can’t always say that God’s will has been a priority in my life. I know I have made some decisions that did not please God. I have asked Him for forgiveness and I know that I have been forgiven. Jesus never made a decision that was not in complete agreement with His Father. Imagine that. We have the capability of always making decisions that our Heavenly Father would make if He were here on earth. When that happens, we will see our faith in action. We will give sight to the blind. We will heal lame legs. We will rebuke devils and they will flee. Church, I’m personally looking forward to that day. Amen? Amen!
Why was Jesus always obedient to the Father? Was he born that way? If he wasn’t, then what do we see in his life that can help us become obedient like him?
The word “increased” in this verse means “to drive forward (as if by beating).” What does this tell us? Jesus was not born with full wisdom and full stature or the full favor of God. I know that’s hard for some of you to believe but what does this verse say?
Notice also the definition includes “as if by beating”. It means Jesus didn’t always do what he wanted to do. He did what the Father wanted him to do and to do that meant he had to, listen to me, beat back his own desires and his own thoughts. If we’re going to “drive our faith forward” we’re going to have to make some decisions about how we’re living.
So, how did the obedience come? A key is found in Luke 7. Israel, at this time, had been conquered by the Roman Empire. The guy we’re about to read about is one of those responsible for enforcing Roman law over Israel. Yet, this Roman, this Gentile, comes to Jesus because he has a need. Now with this background, let’s pick it up in verse 1.
• Notice here in verse 2 that the person was a centurion, a Roman soldier. He was responsible for 100 men.
• In verse 3 the centurion asked the local Jewish leaders to approach Jesus on his behalf for his servant. This servant was a doulos. I want you to note what the centurion was willing to do for the slave he loved. (Now think about what Jesus was willing to do for those of us who were slaves to the sin nature.)
• After reading verses 4-7. Just before Jesus arrived at the centurion’s home, he sends friends to tell Jesus that he is not worthy of his presence in his home. It sounds like the man is being humble doesn’t it? But I want you to consider something. We know from this passage that the man loved the Jewish nation. That would mean that he would know a little something about how the Jews interacted with the Gentles, right? He would have known that a Rabbi was not supposed to enter the home of a Gentile. Could it be that what the centurion is really doing here is showing Jesus respect because he’s a Jew?
• After reading verses 8-10. How did the centurion come to the place of having “great faith”? The answer is found in verse 8. “For I also am a man SET UNDER AUTHORITY…”
• The word “set” means “arranged, drawn up in order.” It describes someone who follows instructions, directives every day.
• “I am a man whose daily course of life and duty is appointed and arranged by a superior authority.”