In our reading today, we have two miracles that Jesus performed. The first 10 verses tell us about a Centurion’s servant, and the next 7 are about a widow’s son. In one sense these accounts of Jesus seem to be quite different, yet if we look at them a little closer we will see that they are both about Jesus’ authority.
The Centurion was of course Roman but was highly respected amongst the elders of the Jews of Capernaum; they say of him, “He loves our nation and has built our synagogue”. Now he had a servant who was very dear to him, who was sick. Jesus goes to the Roman, and what is interesting about this man is that he seems to know who Jesus really is. When Jesus was still approaching the Centurions’ house, the Centurion says to Jesus, “I do not deserve to have you come under my roof” (v.6); he recognises Jesus’ authority, and then talks to Jesus about his own authority and then says, “But say the word and my servant will be healed.”(v.7) The Centurion recognised that Jesus had authority over sickness, and He didn’t need to be in the room with the servant, He could just speak the words and the servant would be well. Of course, Jesus spoke the word and the servant was healed (v.10).
Soon after, we are told Jesus went to Nain, and as He entered the gate of the city, a dead man was being brought out, the only son of a widow. Jesus knew what this meant to the woman – she had no-one to provide for her now. Jesus was moved with compassion and brought her son back to life.
Jesus was filled with the power of the Holy Spirit when He lived on earth as a man. This power gave Him authority, authority over sickness and authority over death. We have that same Holy Spirit living within us if we belong to Jesus, the same Holy Spirit with the same authority, yet we do not always seem to be able to exercise that authority as Jesus did.
In John 14:12 Jesus says, “Whoever believes in Me will do the works I am doing, and they will do even greater things than these.”
Holy Spirit, fill me today so that I can do the works of the Lord Jesus. Amen.