Reflections from the Pulpit: A Man under Authority

Posted 11/13/23

Veterans, just because you may be retired from active duty, the purpose of your calling continues.

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Reflections from the Pulpit: A Man under Authority


On Veterans Day, we say “Thank you!” to all who have served our nation in the U.S. Armed Forces -- faithful men and women who dedicate themselves in protection of others. In purest form, this life is exemplary. The Bible uses faithful warriors as an illustration our high calling in Christ. 2 Tim. 2:3 tells us, “Endure hardness, endure suffering, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.”

In Eph. 6:11 the Bible tells us to put on the whole armor of God that we may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. In every age, it is the faithful men and women who have actively fought against dark forces that made the real difference. Our age is no exception. On Veteran’s Day, the call is always for faithful warriors. We look back in gratitude for those who have served well, but we also realize that we are looking forward, because the journey is not yet fully run. We need good warriors – Spirit warriors – now more than ever.

Veterans, just because you may be retired from active duty, the purpose of your calling continues. When you enlisted in the Armed Forces of the United States of America, you took a vow to “Defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.” You may be retired, or physically limited now, but that does not mean that vow ends. And in terms of service to God, our vow extends even further, into realms of Spirit, light vs. darkness – the full armor of God.

In Luke 7, a Roman Centurion’s loved servant falls ill – deathly sick. Death is imminent. In desperation, the Centurion sends for Jesus: “Sir, my servant is near death!” “Help me!” Jesus’ answer is action. He starts for the house: Verse 6: “Jesus went with them.” But then the Centurion says something very interesting: “There is no need for you to come to my house – after all, I am not worthy for you to come under my roof.” In other words, “I am not your equal – you are far, far above me.”

The Centurion completely humbles himself before Christ, and asks Jesus to say the word where he stood, and the servant would be healed at a distance. “Lord, don’t trouble yourself, for I do not deserve to have you come under my roof... But say the word and my servant will be healed. For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and that one, ‘Come’ and he comes” (vv. 6-8). Jesus is amazed: “I tell you, I have not found such great faith, even in Israel!”

This man, this Roman warrior, grasped two things that many never do: 1.) Jesus has complete authority over space and time: Jesus is the Commander-in-Chief of the Cosmos; and 2.) Jesus’ physical presence is not needed for healing, just His word of command.

Today, same truths apply – to all who will recognize the Lord Jesus Christ as ruler and commander.
As a military man or woman, recognize His authority. Accept His authority, Lord of space and time. Act on it. Your calling is not done. Your race is still to be run, until you draw your final breath.

Pray. Read His military orders: His Word. Humble yourself as a good Soldier – Sailor – Airman – Marine – or Coast Guard. Live out His orders. As Calvin says, “This holy warfare does not end during this earthly run.” We resist darkness in all forms – spiritual and physical – beginning with our own selves, our own homes.

The work is not done until our earthly race is run. Yes, the forms may change. It may be a battle fought from great limitation. But we can pray for those we love – daily. We can show love in action. We can refuse to be self-centered. We can focus on Commander Christ Jesus and His word, His will. We can find ways to touch people with hope and joy and divine promise.

My father was seriously disabled. In the last years, he used a motorized wheelchair to get around. His condition eventually caused him to go on full oxygen. At times, his blood oxygen level would drop so low that doctors wondered how he was alive. But he still kept going, running that wheelchair around to the neighbors, sharing the light and love of Christ. The day he died – so weak, so sick – he still spent time on the phone, encouraging others!

Heed the calling, veteran! You are a child of God, with real purpose. The vows of service are on you. You are men and women under authority – God’s Word is the order list, and God’s kingdom the goal. Come to Christ. Fight the good fight of faith and receive an eternal reward. Amen.