There’s a word in the New Testament: thau-mä’-zō (θαυμάζω) which means; to wonder, to be amazed or to be in awe. This word is used a number of times to describe the response of people who saw the impossible take place. Jesus calming the storm, exorcising demons, healing the sick and seeing we’re getting close to Christmas, it was also used around Jesus’ birth; when a host of angels told Shepherds that the Saviour (the Messiah) had been born; and when Simeon the priest blessed Jesus, saying He was the promised one, a light for the world. Mary and Joseph were just amazed (Luke 2:33)! They were thau-ma-zo! So what do you think it would it take for Jesus to be amazed?
In Matthew 8 Jesus returns to Capernaum and a centurion asks him if He could heal his servant who “lies at home paralysed, suffering terribly.” The centurion states that he is a man under authority and a man who has authority over others yet he recognises Jesus as Lord and is faithful that He will heal his servant who is in another town. Jesus was amazed by the centurion’s words and faith in His ability to heal at a distance… (v 10) this is the thau-ma-zo moment. The centurion knew Jesus’ healing was connected to his authority over life, not just over the immediate situation. Jesus states there will be many in Israel (who questioned Jesus’ authority) that will miss out on eternal life (be separated from God) because they lacked the centurion’s faith and understanding. We need reflection; how are we going with being under God’s authority? How do we handle being under the authorities that God has put us under? It’s one thing to have faith that God exists, that He is loving and kind, but it’s a different thing to put ourselves under His authority. We need to respect those in authority over us and if we don’t do that then we’re offending God! Would we amaze Jesus with the way we submit to those over us or by living out the authority of his word? Do we do our own things and expect God will bless us? We must prioritise being under His authority before we will ever be over the things He’s put in our lives.
God also puts other people in our lives we’re meant to honour, government, police force (the law), teachers, parents, bosses, elders, deacons and pastors at church. It’s in the way that we respect their authority and live under it, that will then determine how well we’ll deal with those under us. If we’re following His ways, then his blessing will follow, He will honour those who honour Him. Romans 13: 1-2 tells us if we rebel “…against what God has instituted… those who do so will bring judgment on themselves”, Paul states “there is no authority except that which God has established”. We might not like the person in charge, but we have to live with them with the understanding that God has bigger plans. Who would want to fight against God!? Consider this, every time you call a police officer a bad name, or your kids hear you putting down their teacher you’re teaching your kids to undermine and disrespect authority. They’ll understand what it is to question every decision that’s made it won’t just affect how they are with their teachers, but also their parents… because they copy us! Then they’ll disrespect and argue with Gods authority… because of the example we set.
To understand how authority works we can look at the first 6 letters of the word… author. The author is the one we should give greatest authority, when you’re the author you get naming rights. In the Christmas story (Matthew 1: 20-21) when Joseph finds out Mary’s pregnant he wants to separate with her as her child is not his but when the angel comes and speaks with him he is told Marys child is to be called Jesus and he is to marry her. Joseph didn’t have naming rights over Jesus, because he His author. The book of John states that in the beginning Jesus co-created with God the Father and the Holy Spirit. Jesus was the author of life – so He needs to have authority over us, He needs to be the one that we give our full trust and allegiance to He’s approved all those who are in authority over us. We can only agree with this truth, if we’re willing to submit to His authority be renamed as Christ-ones… Christians. One of the messages of Christmas is that Jesus grew into a man and grew in stature and favour of man and Father God. When we grow Him in our lives and submit to His authority and rule including how we treat figures of authority God will work in us to increase our authority and the ways in which he can use us for His glory and honour. This is how we can praise and worship the author of life… by the way we live out our lives.
Find the full sermon here: The Authority of Jesus