The focus for Day 3 will be “command.”
One of my favorite moments that took place in Jesus’s ministry was when he encountered the Centurion (Matthew 8:5-12). The man comes to Jesus and asks him to heal his servant. And as Jesus says that he will, he says that he will go with the centurion to his house, but the centurion stops him and says to Jesus, “Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed.”
What makes this story so impactful to me and the reason that I love it so much is because, in it, Jesus makes an amazing and bold statement about the faith of this centurion. He looks at the centurion’s faith. And Jesus says that there is no greater demonstration faith in all of Israel except the faith that is seen in this Gentile soldier. In this simple action, faith is both demonstrated and defined.
Why does Jesus say this about the Centurion’s faith? Because of the way the Centurion defined what it means to believe. The Centurion said to Jesus, if you would just say the word, it will happen. The Centurion was a man under authority. And the example that he gave was that if he commanded one of his servants to go, he would go, and if he commanded him to come, he would come.
It is amazing to me, that in this simple exchange, we see one of the most important aspects of faith. Faith is grounded in our obedience. It is grounded in our willingness to accept that which we have been commanded to do. When we surrender our will to the will of God; when we surrender our desires to the desires of God; when we surrender all that we are to become more and more like Christ; we accept in faith, by faith, through faith, that who we are is who God has designed us to be from the very beginning.
The issue of command can sometimes be a burden because we do not want to submit to the one who has given it. But that is the heart of the problem. We have to recognize that in order for us to receive all that we desire from God, we must first surrender all that we desire in ourselves. This is the challenge of being a disciple of Christ. This is the challenge that we are being asked to confront in this season of Lent.
As we move forward, preparing ourselves to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus, we must remember that we also like the centurion are those who ought to be under authority. We must submit ourselves to the commands of God, as John tells us in 1 John, that the “commandments [of God] are not burdensome” (1 John 5:3). So if they are a burden to us, we should ask ourselves a simple question. Why? what must I do to relieve myself of this burden? The reality is the answer is quite simple. We must obey. And in our obedience, we will see the faithfulness of God manifested as he speaks the word like he did over the servant, he can do that for us even today.