5 Now when Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to Him, pleading with Him,6 saying, “Lord, my servant is lying at home paralyzed, dreadfully tormented.”
7 And Jesus said to him, “I will come and heal him.”
8 The centurion answered and said, “Lord, I am not worthy that You should come under my roof. But only speak a word, and my servant will be healed. 9 For I also am a man under authority, having soldiers under me. And I say to this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes; and to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.”
10 When Jesus heard it, He marveled, and said to those who followed, “Assuredly, I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel! 11 And I say to you that many will come from east and west, and sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. 12 But the sons of the kingdom will be cast out into outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” 13 Then Jesus said to the centurion, “Go your way; and as you have believed, so let it be done for you.” And his servant was healed that same hour.
Commenting on these verse Wesley Olmstead keenly observes:
“And, if the centurion’s cry for Jesus’ help testifies to his faith, then the words he utters hear witness to its profundity. Since, like Jesus, he lives ‘under authority’, he understands that Jesus need not be present to heal his servant. When the centurion speaks, Rome speaks. When Jesus speaks, God speaks. The power of God does not depend upon Jesus’ location any more than the power of Rome depends upon the centurion’s.”
Indeed, what profundity from a Gentile; he grasped what the Jewish leaders refused to acknowledge.
Here is the takeaway point: When we speak the words of Christ, Christ yet speaks. Jesus does not have to be present with us today in order for his Word to have authority; neither are the apostles’ or prophets’ presence required. The Bible has authority because it is founded in God and His authority. May we as messengers never take lightly the message we carry forth, and may we ever hollow the one for whom we speak.
Olmstead, Wesley G., Matthew's Trilogy of Parables. Cambridge: University Press, 2003.