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Briefing: Have you ever had an issue with someone in authority over you? Did you rebel against that authority? I’m pretty sure we all have had this experience.

Dispatch (Assignment): Who has authority over you? Read Matthew 8:1-4.

On the Street: As law enforcement officers, we are given a certain amount of authority. Our authority might come from our governing bodies but Romans 7 tells us that it ultimately comes from God.

Jesus is God. He did not have to submit to anyone. We see in Philippians 2:5-11 that Jesus humbled Himself and died on the cross in an act of obedience to the Father.

When Jesus was being tried by Pilate, He submitted to the authority but clarified for Pilate and us that it was God who put Pilate in power. Pilate had no power except that power that God had given him as the Roman Governor of Jerusalem.

In this passage we see another example of Jesus respecting the earthly authority that God had put in place. Even though Jesus was not under the authority of the priest, He did not want to be a stumbling block to others. Jesus goes out of His way to respect the priestly authority of the Jews. In order to lead by example, He tells the man with leprosy to go and show himself to the priest and offer the gift that Moses commanded. Jesus told him to do this as “testimony to them”. This was not a testimony to Himself or God but to the priest, the earthly authority that God had set up.

Highlights from this Read: Jesus often went to the mountains for quiet time with His Father as we see in Matthew 5:1, 14:23, 15:29 and 17:1. At the start of this passage, He was coming down from teaching the Sermon on the Mount. These crowds followed Him throughout His ministry but did they know He intended them to follow Him to the cross? In Matthew 10:38, Jesus said, “anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me.”

Jesus healed a man with leprosy. This was a man, that by Jewish law (Leviticus 13:45-46) was not to be touched and anyone who touched him would be considered unclean. Jesus could have healed this guy with His words alone but Jesus reached out His hand and touched him. This is a person who people have avoided touching ever since he got the disease. Jesus knew the power of the touch and had great compassion and love for this man.

Investigational Resources: Romans 13:1-7 on authority. In John 19:10-11, Jesus speaks of Pilate’s authority. Luke 5:24 is about Jesus’ authority. Leviticus 14:2-32 is the law concerning the gift to be given to the priest. For more reading on this passage, see Mark 1:40-44 and Luke 5:12-14.

Officer Safety Principle: Make sure you stay obedient to God and obey the authorities that are in your life; remember who placed them there.

from The Gospel of Matthew Through the Eyes of a Cop
©by Charles Gilliland. Used by permission.
Click here to check out the entire Through the Eyes of a Cop series!