Growing up, when those who were my senior, or my parents, or a person I worked for said, “Do this” – I did it. No questions asked, I just did it. Now days that is not usually the case, either for me, or for others, even kids. Everybody what’s to know “why,” or what’s in it for me if I do that thing. Or, they simply say, “no.” I expect the only place that is different is in the military. From what I understand, you question an order in the field and it could cost you or someone else their life.
In Matthew 8 and Luke 7, there are stories of a centurion and his slave. Each gospel writer has varying details to the story, but for the most part the stories seem to reflect the same incident.
Each story stresses the centurion’s words that he is “not worthy” for Jesus to come to his house for the healing. Just like any good military man, if he said to his troops “Go,” they went. Consequently he felt it was sufficient that if Jesus simply said the word, his servant would be healed.
In Luke’s account, the writer goes to some length to justify the worthiness of the centurion by having the elders of the Jews say, “He is worthy to have you do this for him, for he loves our nation, and he is the one who built us our synagogue (v. 4-5).” Jesus does not even give this justification credence by responding to it. What he responds to is the centurions expression of faith – “say the word” and it will be so.
Jesus “marveled at him” not because the centurion’s servant “was highly valued,” not because the elders of the Jews said the centurion was worthy, not because he helped build a synagogue, Jesus marveled at him because of his expression of faith – say the word and I believe it will be done.
I don’t know about you, but I’m a justifier. Somehow it seems I must justify to God why He might want to do something for me or someone else. And often I have a long list of justifiers. The reality of it is, those justifiers simply expose my pitiful faith. There are times when the simplest and best thing to do is come before God and ask that He just “say the word” believing that what we ask will be done.