November 29, 2021 - The Power of Words - A Reflection on Matthew 8:5-11

When Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to him, asking for help. “Lord,” he said, “my servant lies at home paralyzed, suffering terribly.” Jesus said to him, “Shall I come and heal him?” The centurion replied, “Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just 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.” When Jesus heard this, he was amazed and said to those following him, “Truly I tell you, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith. I say to you that many will come from the east and the west, and will take their places at the feast with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven.

Today’s passage tells an amazing story about the power of the word spoken by one in authority and the faith of a man in this authority. A centurion with a servant who is sick says to Jesus, “Only speak the word, and my servant will be healed.” And after expressing his amazement at the faith of this man who was a foreigner, Jesus says the word and the servant is healed.

Now I want us to think about something. At the beginning of creation God didn’t think the world into existence, he spoke it into being. ‘And God said let there be light – and there was light’ and he saw that it was good. Nine times he said things and nine times things happened. As people created in his image and likeness, our words have power as well. Proverbs 18:21 says, “The tongue has the power of life and death”. Unfortunately, most of us abuse this power, by declaring things of death, not of life. 

Jesus said, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10). By his death and resurrection, Jesus has given us this abundant life, but most of us continue to be robbed by the enemy. Why? Because we are constantly declaring negative things. Think about it for just a moment. How often do we say: I am depressed. I am lonely. I am sick. I am unhappy. My husband is useless. My children are good for nothing. Am I right?

In declaring these things we might actually be prophesying them into being. During my retreats I teach people a litany of our faith—the things that Jesus has accomplished for us. They are five sets of truths. One: “I’m redeemed. I’m saved. I’m restored. I’m forgiven.” Two: “I am washed. I am cleansed. I am pure. I am holy.” Three: “I am blessed. I am healed—in spirit, heart, mind and body.” Four: “I am free. I am strong. I am totally victorious.”

Five: “I am a child of God. I am a friend of Jesus. I am a temple of the Holy Spirit.” When you wake up in the morning, spend a few minutes in prayer declaring these truths, asking God to give you the wisdom you need to understand each truth, then see how your life starts to change almost automatically. I wrote a song if it makes it easier for you to remember these declarations.

Here is a playlist with the song sung in various languages:  Declare the truth.