Jesus said: And spiritually prosperous is he whoever does not find in me that of which he disapproves and which hinders him from acknowledging my authority. Luke 7:23 WEGT
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 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 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 – 9, 13 ESV
The word ‘authority’ is mentioned 126 times in the New Testament alone. Authority is the power or right to give orders, make decisions and enforce obedience. Power is an ability to control or direct others, while authority is an influence that is predicated on perceived legitimacy. Consequently, power is necessary for authority, but one can have power without authority. This definition of authority is standard for both biblical and secular understandings. As the Creator of the universe, God Almighty is the source of all authority and has authority over all of His creation.
Jesus, after His 40 days of fasting and temptations by Satan, taught in a Capernaum synagogue. Here, His teaching amazed the crowds because He taught with authority, and not simply as a man learned in the sacred scriptures. The resident Capernaum centurion acknowledged both his earthly authority as a commander AND the superseding spiritual authority Jesus commanded. A Kingdom man, such as the centurion, is at home with such authority. The civilian is usually confounded when they encounter Kingdom authority. But their amazement was about to be upgraded.
In the same synagogue, there was a man with an unclean spirit. Upon hearing the authority within Jesus’ words, the unclean spirit cried out, “What business do we have with each other, Jesus of Nazareth? Have You come to destroy us? I know who You are—the Holy One of God!” Jesus plainly and simply rebuked the spirit. Just another day in the Kingdom. When this unclean spirit had torn the man with convulsions, he screeched with a loud voice and came out of the man. Notice that Jesus expelled the unclean spirit from the man, but not the man from the synagogue!
The crowd kept inquiring and demanding of one another, saying, “What is this? Fresh teaching backed by authority. And the unclean spirits He commands, and they obey Him!” Now, THIS is an authority the people had never heard of, let alone witnessed. The Bible illustrates many miracles and wonders; however, until Jesus appeared, no one had ever expelled a demonic personality. Jesus was the first person to have the authority over or the power to expel unclean spirits. And as if that were not bad enough for Satan and the ‘principalities and powers of the air’, He gave that same authority to His original disciples and to us. I wonder how many disciples looked at their hands and thought, “I didn’t even realize they were loaded!”
Jesus later solidified His standing, by saying, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.’ This is an exclusive statement, and He backed up His words with miraculous power.
Lord, may we, Your Kingdom men, not find anything within You which we would hinder us. May we instead be strengthened to receive Your call, to embrace Your authority and push back the powers of darkness. Let our words be as Your words. And when we encounter forces of darkness, let our ears be trained to hear Your voice and in your deep love, set the captives free. As a Kingdom man under authority, may you have your foot on the neck of your enemy today.