Tony Evans - Piggybacking On Jesus' Authority
Jesus Christ today would like to offer you a piggyback ride. He wants to offer you the opportunity to piggyback on his authority. Everything about Jesus's life and ministry is special, but Luke chapter 7:1-10 is unique. Why do I say that? Because according to verse 9, after he has the conversation with the centurion, it says, "When Jesus heard this, he marveled at him".
There are only two times that I recall in Scripture Jesus marveling. One is Mark chapter 6, verse 6, where it says, "And he marveled at their unbelief". He was shocked. "You see me doing all this, you see me achieving all this, and you still don't believe? I'm shocked". But here he marvels at his belief, what he calls his great faith. So Jesus wants to give you and me the opportunity to shock him, to blow his mind, from this story, but what you may think blew his mind may surprise you.
Let's set the scene: There is a centurion. A centurion was a mid-level officer in the Roman army who oversaw 100 soldiers, the centurion, century, 100. He oversaw 100 soldiers in a legion of 6.000 soldiers, so the legion, the Roman legion had 6.000, and he was responsible for 100 of those 6.000, much like a captain, or maybe a major in our army. He had a servant who got ill. He got sick and was about to die. It says that the centurion heard about Jesus. Word had gotten out that this Jesus is something else. The blind see, the lame walk, the dumb talk, I mean, it's just this Jesus is blowing folks' mind with what he's doing.
So he sends a couple of Jewish leaders to ask Jesus to come and save his servant, who's about to die. Now, that's unusual within itself, because the Jews hated the Romans, but this Roman was cut in different cloth because the Jewish leaders said, "He loves our nation, and he even went into his pocket to build our synagogue". He says, "This guy has loved our nation, and you ought to help him. You ought to save his servant". So Jesus is now on his way to the centurion's house, who has made a prayer request: "Save my servant's life".
So far, so good. Jesus is on his way. He's gotten the prayer request. Looks like the answer is on the way; however, before Jesus gets to the house, the centurion sends a message. He says, at the end of verse 6, "I am not worthy for you to come under my roof. Don't come any further". He sends some of his friends and says, "Tell Jesus don't come any closer. I'm not worthy".
So one of the things we need to note as we get into this is, this centurion, he may have had a lot of money, may have had a lot of clout, but in the presence of Jesus, he was a nobody. So I don't care how high you get, how much money you have, how much clout you accumulate, in the presence of Jesus, you're not worthy. So this highfalutin centurion understood. He knew his place in the presence of Jesus. He says, "Don't come to my house. I'm not worthy for you to come". "But wait a minute, you just asked him to come. You just asked him to come save your servant, but now you're telling him not to come. Well, what do you want him to do"? The centurion says, he says, "I'm not worthy," verse 7, "but just say the word, and my servant will be healed".
The key to this whole story is verse 8. I need to read it again: "'For I also am a man placed under authority, with soldiers under me, and I say to this one, "Go," and he goes, and to another, "Come," and he comes, and to my slave, "Do this," and he does it.' Now when Jesus heard this, he marveled". Let's parse this. "I am also a man under authority". Let's back up to one word: also. "I am also a man under authority". When you use the word also, you mean like something else. "I am like something else," or in this case, "I am like someone else". "I am also a man under authority".
Well, who is he talking to, and who is he talking about? He's talking about Jesus. He says, "Jesus, I'm like you. I am just like you. I am a man under authority". Why does he say that? Word has gotten out about Jesus doing all these miracles. Again, the blind see, the lame walk, folk can now talk, even folk can be raised from the dead, and Jesus is doing some big-time stuff on earth, but the centurion says, "Jesus, I know how you're doing that. You're doing all that stuff you're doing 'cause you're under authority, 'cause I am also. You are also. You're pulling all this off 'cause there's somebody over you allowing you to do it. You are under authority. I also".
Jesus Christ in his humanity operated not by virtue of his deity but by virtue of his submission. Jesus says in chapter 5 of John verse 19 these words: "Therefore, Jesus answered and said unto them, 'Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of himself, unless it is something he sees the Father doing, for whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner. For the Father loves the Son, and shows him all things that he himself is doing, and the Father will show him greater works than these, so that you may'", catch this word, marvel.
So let me give you the principle and then break it down further, because this is a principle that will give you access to the miraculous. You cannot exercise legitimate authority over what you're supposed to be over unless you learn to be under what God has put over you. If you're not under what God has put under you, you can't ask God to help you to deal with stuff that's underneath you.
If you are out of alignment with that which is legitimately supposed to be over you, you lose heaven's authority to be able to boss situations that's supposed to be under you. If you rebel against the authority up here, up here is not gon' help you with your situation down there. "I am a man under authority, but I'm over stuff 'cause I tell stuff what to do. I tell 'em, 'Go,' they go, 'Stay,' they stay. I tell stuff what to do, and the reason I can tell stuff what to do is 'cause I tell 'em what to do 'cause something's over me, telling me what to do".
Let me say that again: You cannot have authority over until and unless you are submitted under, and because most people do not understand this theological principle of authority, prayers don't get answered, victory doesn't get achieved, power doesn't get recognized, changes are not made in spite of prayers being prayed, because the prayers are being prayed out of alignment, that we're not properly under what we should be under, or we're not properly over what we ought to be over, or both. And once you are misaligned in God's kingdom program, what you have done is cut the cord of the transfer of authority.
The centurion says, "Because I know how this thing works, you don't even have to come here. Just talk, 'cause I know you're operating under", in Jesus's case perfect authority. In Luke chapter 9, verse 1, we read this verse: "And he called the 12 together and gave them power and authority over all the demons and to heal diseases". Guess how they got authority? He gave it. He gave it, so they had it. They had it over the very things that was trying to have them.
Many of us have things that are trying to have us, trying to own us, control us, dictate to us, but because Jesus gave it, they had it, and because they had it, they could use it. Alignment is the key to not only answered prayer, but spiritual authority, seeing heaven come down into history, seeing heaven transform history, and putting the devil under your feet instead of him boxing your head. He knew Jesus's access to God. Jesus said, "All authority is given to me in heaven and on earth," Matthew 28:18. All authority. "I'm in charge now". So the alignment to Jesus Christ is critical if you want heaven to join you in history. Kind of breaks it down into some categories.
Let me review some of these categories real quick with you. Beginning with verse 17, we read in Colossians 3: "Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father," so do it unto Jesus's authority. Then he starts breaking it down: "Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as is fitting to the Lord". Yeah, I knew it'd get quiet. 1 Corinthians 11, around verse 10, he says that the woman is to be covered because of the angels," that is, the angels bring answers. They're God's service of delivery. They bring angels. He said, "because of the angels".
If you want your angel, every believer is assigned an angel, then you must come under the legitimate headship of your husband if you are married. And he says, "And you do it as unto the Lord". This is not just a man. This is the Lord. He goes on. He says, "Husbands, love your wives. Do not be embittered against them". 1 Peter 3, verse 7, says, "Husbands, treat your wives with equal honor so your prayers are not hindered". So many a men who get on their knees is wasting his time because he wants to be over without willing to be under: "Woman, you submit to me while I submit to nobody. Nobody gon' tell me what to do, but I'mma tell you what to do".
The reason why she's a rebel The Bible says, in 1 Corinthians 11:3, "Every man is to be under Christ's authority". You do not get to be a totally independent male. You are underneath authority, the Bible said, and if Jesus, the man of all men, had to be under his Father's authority, what makes a man think that he can be independent of Jesus's authority? That makes you a male rebel. It said, "Let not that man think he will receive anything from the Lord". God's not gon' listen to your prayer, and no, he is not going to change your woman. Because you are in rebellion, I am in rebellion when we do not take this biblical posture. He goes on and says, "Children, be obedient to your parents in all things, for this is well-pleasing to the Lord".
The reason why you should teach your children to obey is not just because you're their parents. Of course, they should because you're their parent, but because they want to make God happy. "I want you to obey me because I'm your father, but I also want to obey you so the Lord can give you all your days, and you don't die ahead of time". So obedience is tied to a child's alignment. Then he comes to parent. He says in verse 21, "Fathers, do not exacerbate your children so that they will lose heart". You are responsible for the spiritual imprint of your children. You are responsible for the discipline of your children. You are responsible.
Yes, she fills in the gap when you can't, when you provide and you can't be there. She fills in the gap, but she does not replace. But we have a generation today where Daddy is not home, or he might as well not be home because he doesn't own his responsibility. "Slaves, in all things," verse 22 says, "obey those who are your masters on earth", we would say today, employees obey your employers, "not with external service or as those who merely please men, but with sincerity of heart fearing of the Lord".
When you go to work, verse 23, "Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ who you serve". He goes and he talks about employers, chapter 4, verse 1, "Masters", these are the ones over the servants, "grant to your slaves justice and fairness, knowing that you too have a Master in heaven". You see the authority? "Masters, do you really wanna see heaven do stuff that will blow your mind 'cause you done shocked Jesus"? Whoa. 'Cause I've come under, and now I have authority legitimately over, to see God invade things that look like they're dying. The servant was dying.
Anybody got any dying situations? Is it dying? Well, you need to make sure your alignment is straight so you can shock Jesus. In Philippians 2:5 through 11, it talks about Jesus. He says, "Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God, but made himself of no reputation, and he became a servant". So he was equal to God, but he came underneath the Father. Equal to God, but he came underneath the Father. Well, what did the Father do?
Well, it goes on to say, "For God now has highly exalted him, so that at the name Jesus, every knee will bow, and every tongue will confess that Jesus is Lord, to the glory of the Father". Because he came under, God exalted what was under him, and now he's over everything. If you are unwilling to come under the legitimate authority God places over you, then you do not get God's help in what is underneath you. "When Jesus heard this, he marveled at him, and he turned and said to the crowd who was following", so now he talking to everybody who's there, so it's like me talking to you.
He turns to the crowd. He says, "Did you see that? I say to you, not even in Israel have I found such great faith. I got an uncircumcised Gentile who's got more faith than my church folk in Israel. I've got somebody who doesn't even understand theology on a broad scope, who's got more faith," so the question is who you're identifying with. You better identify with somebody who's in alignment because they're the one who have access to authority in prayer 'cause it was a prayer. He said, "Come heal my servant". That's a prayer request. It says in verse 10, "When those who had been sent returned to the house, they found the slave in good health". And now, Jesus didn't go to the crib. Jesus didn't go to the house. When the ones he sent came back to the house, the servant is healed, okay?
Now, I don't want you to miss this: Jesus is on his way. The centurion sends some guy to tell him, "Don't come here. I'm not worthy, but if you'll just talk, speak the word, that'd be good enough 'cause I know how this authority thing works". Jesus is shocked, and he says, "Wow, what kind of faith is this? This is some kind of faith. I'm just stupefied". They go back, and the man is healed. The servant is healed. So what's my point? Jesus believes in long-distance prayer answers, 'cause he not physically there. He didn't physically go to the house. He just sent the word to the house even though he was absent from the location.
Now, you have to understand, all the other miracles Jesus did, he was there. Now, why do you need to know that now? 'Cause he not here. Jesus is not here. He's seated on the right-hand side of the Father, but the good news is he does long-distance prayer answers. He doesn't have to be here to get stuff done. That's why I love Hebrews chapter 7, verse 25, which says, "Jesus, our great high priest, ever lives as an intercessor for believers". He ever lives to invade our circumstance, and he doesn't have to be here to get it done, because if you are in alignment, you have access to authority even with the absence of Jesus Christ because he's not here but his Word is, and his Word is powerful, and that's all you need if you have alignment treat.
So I'm gon' challenge you to go for a piggyback ride, 'cause Jesus want you to ride on this authority principle. I wanna challenge you to get in alignment. Galatians 2:20 says, "I'm crucified with Christ". My total identity is with him. "Nevertheless, I live", I'm dead, but I'm alive, "I'm crucified with Christ, but nevertheless, I live". He says, "But not I. It's Christ who lives in me". And then he comes with a zinger that's misquoted. He says, "The life which I now live, I live by faith", now, most people say, "in the Son of God," but the text says, "I live by faith of the Son of God".
Oh, that's different. I not only have faith in him, I have the faith of him. In other words, I'm going for a piggyback ride. I am going to believe that if I get on Jesus's back and ride this horse, because I'm underneath his authority, that his faith will cover my faith, giving me great faith in the situations I've got to deal with in my life. So I know you're gon' leave here, and you're gon' face some situations, but here's what you ought to say: "Ride on, King Jesus". You ought to say, "Ride on, King Jesus". You ought to call him and be aligned under him so you have the authority of him over the things that he has placed you over so that now you walk with your head up high because you walk as a victor and no longer as a victim, cause you're in alignment.
God will only let us exercise over what we have been placed to be responsible for when we are properly exercising ourselves under his supreme authority. Far too many of us want to have authority over things when we are not willing to submit to the spiritual authority over us. That means we're out of alignment, and when you're out of alignment like your car, things get shaky, right? The wheels wear unevenly because the alignment is not straight. Make sure you are aligned under the authority of Christ, in pursuit of an intimate relationship with him. Then he will be able to trust you and me to exercise authority because we know what it means to be under authority.