Understanding faith and authority are critical to Christians

There are only two times in the Scriptures that Jesus marveled.

G2296 — θαυμάζω — thaumazō — thou-mad’-zo

From G2295; to wonder; by implication to admire: – admire, have in admiration, marvel, wonder.

The more I understand Scripture, the more I understand that a relationship with God is about understanding it in the context of faith and that of authority.

Mark 6:Jesus went out from there and *came into [a]His hometown; and His disciples *followed Him. 2 When the Sabbath came, He began to teach in the synagogue; and the many listeners were astonished, saying, “Where did this man get these things, and what is this wisdom given to Him, and such [b]miracles as these performed by His hands? 3 Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, and brother of [c]James and Joses and Judas and Simon? Are not His sisters here with us?” And they took offense at Him. 4 Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in [d]his hometown and among his own relatives and in his own household.” 5 And He could do no [e]miracle there except that He laid His hands on a few sick people and healed them. 6 And He wondered at their unbelief.

Matthew 8:5 And when [e]Jesus entered Capernaum, a centurion came to Him, imploring Him, 6 and saying, “[f]Lord, my [g]servant is [h]lying paralyzed at home, fearfully tormented.” 7 Jesus *said to him, “I will come and heal him.” 8 But the centurion said, “[i]Lord, I am not worthy for You to come under my roof, but just [j]say the word, and my [k]servant will be healed. 9 For I also am a man under authority, with soldiers under me; and I say to this one, ‘Go!’ and he goes, and to another, ‘Come!’ and he comes, and to my slave, ‘Do this!’ and he does it.” 10 Now when Jesus heard this, He marveled and said to those who were following, “Truly I say to you, I have not found such great faith [l]with anyone in Israel. 11 I say to you that many will come from east and west, and [m]recline at the table with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven; 12 but the sons of the kingdom will be cast out into the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” 13 And Jesus said to the centurion, “Go; [n]it shall be done for you as you have believed.” And the [o]servant was healed that very [p]moment. (Also, Luke 7)

Faith, many would say, is an obvious one. That is at the core of Christianity itself. Wintery Knight has had some good posts on what “faith” is composed of namely: (1) notitia, (2) assensus, and (3) fiducia. In other words, (1) information such as Christ is risen, (2) confidence that the notitia is correct, and (3) conviction of its truthfulness or trust. This is why I specifically have a page dedicated to the veracity of the resurrection on this blog.

However, the other thing that Jesus marveled at is not so obvious at first glance. Jesus marvels again at faith, in particular the Centurion’s faith; however, the centurion’s faith is based on his understanding of the power of authority. I’ve alluded to this in the past few posts on Identity Part 6 Performance and desire and the 50 Shades of Grey analysis. It also builds off of the other posts that I would consider foundational concepts to understanding marriage such as structures of authority summarized, structures of authority before the fall, and authority is good.

The reason being that exousia is often referred to in the Scriptures as the “state of being” of authority whereas dunamis is the working out of authority in power. Dunamis is often translated as “power” or “miracles” or “mighty works” that were performed by Jesus and the disciples which obviously includes the one performed for the Centurion by Jesus. Here’s a little bit on the translations if you want to know more.

G1849 — ἐξουσία — exousia — ex-oo-see’-ah

From G1832 (in the sense of ability); privilege, that is, (subjectively) force, capacity, competency, freedom, or (objectively) mastery (concretely magistrate, superhuman, potentate, token of control), delegated influence: – authority, jurisdiction, liberty, power, right, strength.

G1411 — δύναμις — dunamis — doo’-nam-is

From G1410; force (literally or figuratively); specifically miraculous power (usually by implication a miracle itself): – ability, abundance, meaning, might (-ily, -y, -y deed), (worker of) miracle (-s), power, strength, violence, mighty (wonderful) work.

There are two concepts within authority that need to be understood.

  1. There are words and actions that are assumed with the roles and responsibilities of authority and submission.
  2. There are words and actions that transcend authority.

For example, I explored two of the main concepts in Fear, respect, honor, and truth (phobeo & timao).

Respect/reverence/phobeo is an example of an attitude that is supposed to be assumed when you both involuntarily and voluntarily are placed under authority. Respect or reverence for to the authority because you want to please God and not men. Hebrews 13 makes it particularly clear why we should, even if we don’t like it such as the way with which our current government is headed:

Hebrews 13:17 Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they keep watch over your souls as those who will give an account. [e]Let them do this with joy and not [f]with grief, for this would be unprofitable for you.

On the other hand, honor is something that transcends authority. It is given from those under authority to those in authority — from children to parents, to the king (Eph 6:2, 1 Peter 2:17). It is given to all men regardless of status (e.g. 1 Peter 2:17). It is given to those who are disadvantaged such as widows (1 Tim 5:3). Is is given to those under authority such as from husbands to wives (1 Peter 3:7).

The vast majority of concepts in terms of Christians transcend authority. Such examples would be the fruits of the Spirit — love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness/meekness, and self control. These are concepts that should be applied in all manner of life regardless of if those are under your authority, you are under authority, or if there is no authority.

This is why it is all the more important to understand authority. If you know the boundaries in which authorities in this world operate then you will not walk out of the bounds of the Scripture but rather in it. Our faith is intimately tied with understanding the power of authority and walking within its bounds.

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