"The centurion answered and said, Lord, I am not worthy that you should come under my roof: but speak the word only, and my servant will be healed" (verse 8). There is a power in the Word of God that few believers have yet discovered or utilized. This Gentile soldier recognized that when Jesus spoke, things happened! We are even given an insight into his thinking, showing us how he knew this to be true.
"For I also am a man under authority, having soldiers under me" (verse 9a). (The Greek text has the word "also," unfortunately omitted in the King James Version.) This is a tremendous statement. The centurion is not only describing his own position, but is at the same time applying it to Jesus. He is telling the Lord that he knows the power of authority, and likewise that he knows the Lord has that authority. Jesus recognized this fact, for if it were not true He would have corrected the centurion's statement, in the same way He corrected many statements made to Him by the Pharisees and Sadducees. Jesus was a man under authority, as well as a man with authority.
In John 8:28 Jesus said, "I do nothing of myself." In John 8:26 He relates this to his speech: "I speak to the world those things which I have heard of him [God]." In John 5:19 He relates it to His works, "The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he sees the Father do."
In the miracle before us in Matthew 8 we see the authority of Christ in the Spoken Word. The centurion had asked Jesus to "speak the word only, and my servant will be healed." When he continued by giving his reasons how this could be, Jesus "marveled, and said to those that followed, Truly I say to you, I have not found such great faith, no, not in Israel" (verse 10). And turning to the centurion He said, "Go, and as you have believed, so let it be to you. And his servant was healed in the same hour" (verse 13).
You must recognize the authority of the Bible, the Written Word. The Word has the answer for every detail of your life. The Psalmist said, "I have hidden [stored up] your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you" (Psalm 119:11). In another place he said, "He sent his word and healed them, and delivered them from their destructions" (Psalm 107:20). It was only when men started questioning the Word that modernism and evolution and other faith-destroying theories spread throughout the Church. What is needed today is belief in the integrity of God's Word.
If you recognize the authority of the Living and Written Word, you will find it easy to recognize the authority of the Prevailing Word. This is the Written Word on the lips of the believing ones, and it prevails mightily over Satan, sin, sickness, and every need known to man. In Acts 19:20 the record states, "So the word of God grew [and kept on growing] mightily and prevailed." Recognize that the authority of the Prevailing Word is greater than the philosophy and "how to-do-it" books of this generation. "Speak the Word only" and many will be healed.
Adapted from chapter 3 of the new 3rd edition of "The Dynamics of Positive Living", to be published shortly.