Are they the same? Are they different? Are they compatible? Do you respond in the same way? Do you know how to respond? How do you relate? How do you do with those in leadership? How do you do with those in authority? Are you in a position of leadership? How are you waving your authority? Are you living in a way that others will respond well to? Are you in a position of authority? Are you living in a way that others will respond well to? Are you using your authority and leadership for the good of others? What could you do today? Is there someone in need around you?
Today’s devotional (Character Of A Great Leader – Day 2) speaks into this subject through 2 chapters of the Bible. Let’s take a look into what they have to say!
Today’s reading begins with Matthew 8…
Jesus Cleanses a Leper1When he came down from the mountain, great crowds followed him. 2And behold, a leper came to him and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, if you will, you can make me clean.” 3And Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him, saying, “I will; be clean.” And immediately his leprosy was cleansed. 4And Jesus said to him, “See that you say nothing to anyone, but go, show yourself to the priest and offer the gift that Moses commanded, for a proof to them.”
The Faith of a Centurion5 When he had entered Capernaum, a centurion came forward to him, appealing to him, 6“Lord, my servant is lying paralyzed at home, suffering terribly.” 7And he said to him, “I will come and heal him.” 8But 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. 9For 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.” 10When 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. 11I tell you, many will come from east and west and recline at table with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven, 12while the sons of the kingdom will be thrown into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” 13And 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.
Jesus Heals Many14 And when Jesus entered Peter’s house, he saw his mother-in-law lying sick with a fever. 15He touched her hand, and the fever left her, and she rose and began to serve him. 16That evening they brought to him many who were oppressed by demons, and he cast out the spirits with a word and healed all who were sick. 17This was to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah: “He took our illnesses and bore our diseases.”
The Cost of Following Jesus18Now when Jesus saw a crowd around him, he gave orders to go over to the other side. 19And a scribe came up and said to him, “Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go.” 20And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” 21Another of the disciples said to him, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.” 22And Jesus said to him, “Follow me, and leave the dead to bury their own dead.”
Jesus Calms a Storm23 And when he got into the boat, his disciples followed him. 24And behold, there arose a great storm on the sea, so that the boat was being swamped by the waves; but he was asleep. 25And they went and woke him, saying, “Save us, Lord; we are perishing.” 26And he said to them, “Why are you afraid, O you of little faith?” Then he rose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm. 27And the men marveled, saying, “What sort of man is this, that even winds and sea obey him?”
Jesus Heals Two Men with Demons28 And when he came to the other side, to the country of the Gadarenes, two demon-possessed men met him, coming out of the tombs, so fierce that no one could pass that way. 29And behold, they cried out, “What have you to do with us, O Son of God? Have you come here to torment us before the time?” 30Now a herd of many pigs was feeding at some distance from them. 31And the demons begged him, saying, “If you cast us out, send us away into the herd of pigs.” 32And he said to them, “Go.” So they came out and went into the pigs, and behold, the whole herd rushed down the steep bank into the sea and drowned in the waters. 33The herdsmen fled, and going into the city they told everything, especially what had happened to the demon-possessed men. 34And behold, all the city came out to meet Jesus, and when they saw him, they begged him to leave their region.–from Matthew 8
In Matthew 8, we see many examples of how Jesus had authority. Authority to heal the sick. We see that Jesus had leadership skill by the followers He has. People came at their point of need and He wouldn’t shoo them away, but rather He would meet them at their point of need. He wasn’t too good to help, rather He reached out and touched the untouchables, He loved the unlovable, He helped the hopeless, He came to serve and save the lost!
We also see the response others have to authority. We see that those who really get it step up and step into a different level of faith! We see the centurion knowing all about authority from his own role and is able to trust that if Jesus says it, that is good enough as it means it is done, he trusts Jesus as His word, because the centurion knows how that works based on his experience as part of the military.
We see another example of authority when the storm hit while they were in the boat. Not everyone realize that His authority was over everything initially which meant fear could take hold. He was and is able to calm the raging storms in our lives. The meteorological ones as well as the internal ones. He shows this in today’s reading as well as He is awoken and then He speaks to the wind and the sea and the storm is gone. If you are living through a storm in your life, why not give it up and give it over to Jesus? Would you humble yourself and ask Him to help? Will you grab onto the authority Jesus has given you as a child of God when you accepted Him as your Lord and Savior and speak to the storm yourself? Either way, will you go to the one who has authority over all? Will you receive the authority He has given you? Will you be a humble servant and be able to make a difference that points more people to the one who is the King of kings and the Lord of lords? Will you humble yourself and lift Him up as the prince of peace? Will you live your life with God, Emmanuel — God with us –?
Even demons know of Jesus’ authority! They have no power over Him! They try to find an alternative option than to be thrown into the abyss.
To some power or those in authority cause them to be afraid. To some those in leadership are intimidating. To some the unknown frightens them and so they would rather send it away rather than try to grab a hold and understand the authority and the power and the responsibility that is required because of it.
So which side are you on? Are you in a position of leadership or authority? How are you living your life? Are you serving? Are you commanding? Are you helping? Are you hindering?
Are you someone who has problems dealing with leadership or authority? What is it that triggers this? Is it fear? Is it the past experiences? Is it the unknown? Are you willing to turn to God? Are you willing to allow Him to help you break free from the fear and anxiety? Are you willing to let Jesus be the answer and be the one who is able to lead you and have authority over your life?
Let’s pause here and think about our stance…
Today’s reading continues into Luke 7 …
Jesus Heals a Centurion’s Servant1After he had finished all his sayings in the hearing of the people, he entered Capernaum. 2Now a centurion had a servant who was sick and at the point of death, who was highly valued by him. 3When the centurion heard about Jesus, he sent to him elders of the Jews, asking him to come and heal his servant. 4And when they came to Jesus, they pleaded with him earnestly, saying, “He is worthy to have you do this for him, 5for he loves our nation, and he is the one who built us our synagogue.” 6And Jesus went with them. When he was not far from the house, the centurion sent friends, saying to him, “Lord, do not trouble yourself, for I am not worthy to have you come under my roof. 7Therefore I did not presume to come to you. But say the word, and let my servant be healed. 8For I too am a man set 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.” 9When Jesus heard these things, he marveled at him, and turning to the crowd that followed him, said, “I tell you, not even in Israel have I found such faith.” 10And when those who had been sent returned to the house, they found the servant well.
Jesus Raises a Widow’s Son11Soon afterward he went to a town called Nain, and his disciples and a great crowd went with him. 12As he drew near to the gate of the town, behold, a man who had died was being carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow, and a considerable crowd from the town was with her. 13And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her and said to her, “Do not weep.” 14Then he came up and touched the bier, and the bearers stood still. And he said, “Young man, I say to you, arise.” 15And the dead man sat up and began to speak, and Jesus gave him to his mother. 16Fear seized them all, and they glorified God, saying, “A great prophet has arisen among us!” and “God has visited his people!” 17And this report about him spread through the whole of Judea and all the surrounding country.
Messengers from John the Baptist18 The disciples of John reported all these things to him. And John, 19calling two of his disciples to him, sent them to the Lord, saying, “Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?” 20And when the men had come to him, they said, “John the Baptist has sent us to you, saying, ‘Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?’” 21In that hour he healed many people of diseases and plagues and evil spirits, and on many who were blind he bestowed sight. 22And he answered them, “Go and tell John what you have seen and heard: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, the poor have good news preached to them. 23And blessed is the one who is not offended by me.”24When John’s messengers had gone, Jesus began to speak to the crowds concerning John: “What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken by the wind? 25What then did you go out to see? A man dressed in soft clothing? Behold, those who are dressed in splendid clothing and live in luxury are in kings’ courts. 26What then did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. 27This is he of whom it is written,“‘Behold, I send my messenger before your face,who will prepare your way before you.’28 I tell you, among those born of women none is greater than John. Yet the one who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.” 29(When all the people heard this, and the tax collectors too, they declared God just, having been baptized with the baptism of John, 30but the Pharisees and the lawyers rejected the purpose of God for themselves, not having been baptized by him.)31 “To what then shall I compare the people of this generation, and what are they like? 32They are like children sitting in the marketplace and calling to one another,“‘We played the flute for you, and you did not dance;we sang a dirge, and you did not weep.’33 For John the Baptist has come eating no bread and drinking no wine, and you say, ‘He has a demon.’ 34The Son of Man has come eating and drinking, and you say, ‘Look at him! A glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ 35Yet wisdom is justified by all her children.”
A Sinful Woman Forgiven36 One of the Pharisees asked him to eat with him, and he went into the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table. 37And behold, a woman of the city, who was a sinner, when she learned that he was reclining at table in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster flask of ointment, 38and standing behind him at his feet, weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head and kissed his feet and anointed them with the ointment. 39Now when the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would have known who and what sort of woman this is who is touching him, for she is a sinner.” 40And Jesus answering said to him, “Simon, I have something to say to you.” And he answered, “Say it, Teacher.”41 “A certain moneylender had two debtors. One owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. 42When they could not pay, he cancelled the debt of both. Now which of them will love him more?” 43Simon answered, “The one, I suppose, for whom he cancelled the larger debt.” And he said to him, “You have judged rightly.” 44Then turning toward the woman he said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave me no water for my feet, but she has wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. 45You gave me no kiss, but from the time I came in she has not ceased to kiss my feet. 46You did not anoint my head with oil, but she has anointed my feet with ointment. 47Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven—for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little.” 48And he said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” 49Then those who were at table with him began to say among themselves, “Who is this, who even forgives sins?” 50And he said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”–from Luke 7
We are able to get a different perspective on the same subject: Jesus’ leadership and authority! The story of the centurion is so powerful because He not only understands the leadership part, but also the authority part. He believed in Jesus’ authority and just saying it would be enough to heal his servant. He didn’t need Jesus to come to the servant’s side! He didn’t need Jesus to even touch the servant’s body! He believed that if Jesus spoke it, that would be enough to make it so! He believed in Jesus’ character enough that His word would make it so! To have such faith! Where are you at in this day? Is God’s Word enough for you to realize the hope and the truth and the love? Is Jesus enough for you to help you right where you are at? Will you make time to speak with Him and allow Him to speak into your very situation? Will you allow yourself to be transformed through the power of forgiveness? Will you allow yourself to be transformed through the power of obedience to His authority and leadership? Nothing is impossible for God!
Today’s reading even speaks to Jesus’ authority over life and death! He raised the widows son back to life! Nothing surprises Him! Nothing is too big for Him! He has come to seek and save the lost! He has come as the ultimate sacrifice that we could be reconciled back to God! He not only has authority over stuff, but over eternal things. We see this in the last part of the chapter when confronted by the Pharisees about that women, but He stands with the leadership and authority that was given to Him and speaks into the truth of that moment! He not only receives the humbling of herself, He takes it to the next level and forgives her. Freeing her physically, emotionally, and spiritually to be able to go out and live life anew.
Where are you at today? Do you need Jesus to help you out? Do you need Him to perform a miracle? Do you need Him to take a burden off of your shoulders? Do you need Him to forgive you? Do you need Him to help you to forgive someone else? Ask Him! Ask and He will answer. Seek and You will find. Knock and it will be opened to you. Don’t allow fear to keep you from freedom! Fear Not, Just Believe!
Now after reviewing and reading through today’s reading, let’s go back and review the notes from the devotional (Character Of A Great Leader – Day 2)
“Great Leaders and Authority”
The appropriate and healthy use of authority by a leader is a beautiful thing. A wonderful example about the concept and use of authority by a leader is found in both Matthew 8 and Luke 7. In this story, a Centurion approaches Jesus and initiates a dialogue, included in the dialogue is the confirmation of the Centurion’s keen understanding about the use of authority. This Roman Centurion was likely very diligent with the military business of the Roman Army, since he was a key army leader at the “middle management level.” He commanded a “century”, which consisted of about 100 Roman soldiers. This was a really important leadership position.
This Centurion found in Matthew 8 and Luke 7 knew about legitimate authority: hear these words in Matthew 8:9 (ESV), “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.” Now, this story provides a picture of this Centurion who authentically cares about his dying servant. This Centurion was probably very different from his peers and superiors. He demonstrated a profound concern for his servant. He probably used all of his authority that he possessed to save his servant who served him and his interests.
Is one of your subordinates, peers, or superiors having a really tough time in the workplace or at home? Are you lifting that person up to God in prayer? Are you using your “position” to help in any way you can? The habitual, benevolent use of authority and position for the good of others is a beautiful thing. Let us encourage you, as you grow and develop in your leadership, to study lessons on submission to authority, on authority structures, on authority conflict, and on the exercise of authority. It is our hope that you will search for and understand legitimate authority, that you will desire to be a role model of legitimate authority, and that you will pursue the true spiritual authority that resides in Jesus Christ.