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Dear Partner,

As the apostle Paul concludes his letter to the Ephesians he uses the imagery of people "going to war" in order to be victorious over the enemy.

Eph 6:10-11   Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.

As I was meditating on this passage it dawned on me that the man Jesus said demonstrated the most faith of any person He ever met on earth was a military man the Roman Centurion.

Mat 8:5-10   And when Jesus was entered into Capernaum, there came unto him a centurion, beseeching him, and saying, Lord, my servant lieth at home sick of the palsy, grievously tormented. And Jesus saith unto him, I will come and heal him. The centurion answered and said, Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof: but speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed. For I am a man under authority, having soldiers under me: and I say to this man, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it. When Jesus heard it, he marvelled, and said to them that followed, Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel.

What was it about this Roman military officer that caused him to demonstrate the highest level of faith Jesus ever saw? He understood authority. He was a man under authority. He had long ago submitted his will to the will of Caesar. He had undergone training and testing by the Roman military and had demonstrated that his will was completely in the service of Rome. Rome could trust him with authority. Therefore, when the Roman centurion spoke a command, the soldiers under him had no choice. If they tried to disobey they would soon learn that all the power of Rome was available to enforce whatever he said.

He perceived that in the same way he was yielded to Rome, Jesus was yielded to God. He understood God had given authority to Jesus in the same way that Rome had given authority to the centurion. He knew that Jesus had authority over sickness and disease and that when Jesus spoke sickness had no choice. All the power of God was available to enforce the words of Jesus. That's why the centurion said, "Speak the word only and my servant shall be healed." Jesus marveled at this man's faith. He did what the centurion requested and sure enough the servant was healed.

Mat 8:13   And Jesus said unto the centurion, Go thy way; and as thou hast believed, so be it done unto thee. And his servant was healed in the selfsame hour.

Most Christians have a very similar kind of faith as the centurion. They know that Jesus has authority over sickness. They wish that they could somehow get Him to "speak the word" only in order for them (or their loved ones) to be healed. But we are actually called to a higher level of faith than the centurion. Jesus Himself commissioned us to do the same works that He did during His lifetime on earth.

John 14:12   Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.

Our natural minds read those words and our faith immediately falters. "What? Jesus expects me to do the same works that He did? Doesn't He know how flawed I am? He was perfect. I can understand how God would trust Him with authority. But I am a mess. How can this be?"

The centurion demonstrated great faith because he believed sickness would obey whenever Jesus spoke. But we are called to believe that sickness will obey whenever WE speak IN HIS NAME! The key is do we believe that the name of Jesus carries the same level of authority as when Jesus was physically on the earth? Peter did. He spoke in the name of Jesus and the man who was born lame was instantly healed. When questioned about how the miracle was accomplished, Peter was very clear about his understanding of authority:

Acts 3:12-16   And when Peter saw it, he answered unto the people, Ye men of Israel, why marvel ye at this? or why look ye so earnestly on us, as though by our own power or holiness we had made this man to walk? The God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob, the God of our fathers, hath glorified his Son Jesus; whom ye delivered up, and denied him in the presence of Pilate, when he was determined to let him go. But ye denied the Holy One and the Just, and desired a murderer to be granted unto you; And killed the Prince of life, whom God hath raised from the dead; whereof we are witnesses. And his name through faith in his name hath made this man strong, whom ye see and know: yea, the faith which is by him hath given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all.

Let us have great faith today. Let us be bold to speak "in the Name of Jesus." His Name, spoken with faith in His Name, still carries all the authority of God!

Sue and I love you and appreciate you.   We thank God for your generous and giving heart.   God bless you!

Your friend and co-laborer,

Gary Carpenter


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