In his bestselling book, Love Does, Bob Goff tells the comical and profound story of how he got into law school. (All of his stories are comical and profound, actually.) Concluding an underwhelming undergraduate experience, Bob decided he wanted to become a lawyer. Naive to the rigor of the entrance exam, however, he underprepared in his studies and then underachieved on the test. He received no law school offers. Not one. And this is where his story gets amazing. Determined, Bob appealed to a law school dean, who refused him and kindly ushered him toward the door. There was a bench outside his office, however, so five days before classes were to start, Bob resolved to park himself there daily and petition the dean every time he walked by. “I knew he had the power to let me in,” writes Bob, “All he had to do was say the words, ‘Go get your books.’”1 So, there Bob sat, appealing to the dean until, five days after school began, the dean stopped, looked him in the eye and said, “Go get your books.”
We’ve seen this play before. His servant near death, a Roman centurion sent Jewish elders to ask Jesus to heal him. As Jesus neared his house, the commander sent friends to Him with this message: “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. I say to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.”2
Now, the gospels are full of miracles that left the crowds surprised, astonished, and amazed. But this encounter with the centurion is the only time we find Jesus, himself, impressed to the point of amazement. For here was one who saw Jesus as more than a last resort, more than a desperate hope, and even more than a miracle worker. Like the law school wannabe, the centurion understood and respected the power of authority, aligned himself with the truth of the matter, and then placed his confidence squarely and entirely in the One in whom exists authority over all things—“Say the word.”
Yes, Lord, say the word.
Father, forgive me for the times I approach you in doubt or disrespect. You are the God of the universe, and your authority is absolute. Grace me to see you for who you are, to humble myself before you, and to trust entirely in your wisdom, power, and love. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Christ in me is confidence.
1 Bob Goff, Love Does, (Nashville, Tennessee: Nelson Books), p 42.
2 Luke 7:6-8
[Click here to read today’s Scripture, Luke 7:1-10.]