Just Say the Word…the Proper Course of Power

“He sends His orders to the world—how swiftly His word flies!”  Psalm 147:15

The power of His word created the world.  The officer in Matthew understood this power instinctively:

When Jesus returned to Capernaum, a Roman officer came and pleaded with Him, “Lord, my young servant lies in bed, paralyzed and in terrible pain.”  Jesus said, “I will come and heal him.” But the officer said, “Lord, I am not worthy to have You come into my home. Just say the word from where You are, and my servant will be healed.  I know this because I am under the authority of my superior officers, and I have authority over my soldiers. I only need to say, ‘Go,’ and they go, or ‘Come,’ and they come. And if I say to my slaves, ‘Do this,’ they do it.”  When Jesus heard this, He was amazed. Turning to those who were following Him, He said, “I tell you the truth, I haven’t seen faith like this in all Israel!  And I tell you this, that many Gentiles will come from all over the world—from east and west—and sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob at the feast in the Kingdom of Heaven.  But many Israelites—those for whom the Kingdom was prepared—will be thrown into outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”   Then Jesus said to the Roman officer, “Go back home. Because you believed, it has happened.” And the young servant was healed that same hour. ”  Matthew 8: 5-13

It’s an easy faith to admire from afar, isn’t it?  Looking back from the distance of 2,000 years, it’s easy to forget the context surrounding this scene–that Christ had not yet died, risen and his power over sickness, death, creation was not fully evident at this point.  But the officer readily transferred his understanding of how authority works in his world to how power works in the spiritual world.

Some people seem to be given a greater measure of this kind of faith than others.   Me?  It’s definitely not an area of strength for me–I could learn a lot by meditating upon this officer’s response.  I should be quicker to recognize His hand over the weather, animals, plants, and humans of this world.   It all comes from Him and it is ALL under His ultimate authority.  The Lord reminded Job of this when Job became too stuck in his own pity party.   It should be at the forefront of our minds, so that we are also quick to say “Lord, I am not worthy” and “Just say the word from where you are.”

The Coming of Snow and the Coming of the Word

I love this extended analogy–although it’s almost eastern in its “coming into one,” it deftly expresses the connection between natural and human expressions of praise and how they are all useful in His eyes:

Snow.” As sure as every falling flake of winter’s snow has a part in the great economy of nature, so surely has every Word of God which falls within the sanctuary its end to accomplish in the moral sphere. I have stood on a winter’s day, and seen the tiny flakes in little clouds lose themselves one by one in the rushing river. They seemed to die to no purpose – to be swallowed up by an enemy which ignored both their power and their existence. And so have I seen the Word of God fall upon human hearts. Sent of God, from day to day and from year to year, I have seen it dropping apparently all resultless into the fierce current of unbelief – into the fiercer gulf-stream of worldliness which was sweeping through the minds and the lives of the hearers. But as I stood upon the river’s bank and looked upon what seemed to be the death of the little fluttering crystal, a second thought assured me that it was but death into life, and that every tiny flake which wept its life away in the rushing waters, became incorporate with the river’s being. So when I have seen the Word of God fall apparently fruitless upon the restless, seething, rushing current of human life, a recovered faith in the immutable declaration of God has assured me that what I looked upon was not a chance or idle death, but rather the falling of the soldier, after that he had wrought his life-force into the destiny of a nation and into the history of a world. And so it must ever be. The Word of God ever reaches unto its end. – S. S. Mitchell, in a Sermon entitled “The Coming of the Snow and the Coming of the Word,” 1884.