I was the keynote speaker at the staff retreat for Christianity Today Institute, a media conglomerate that operates out of Chicago. The theme they gave me: Why CTI? (Christianity Today Institute) In other words, I was supposed to tell them why they existed, or at least why they should.
I chose to speak on Matthew 8, where a Roman Centurion comes to Jesus and asks him to heal his servant. Jesus offers to come to the man’s house right away. The Centurion tells Jesus he doesn’t deserve for Jesus to do that (interestingly, the Centurion was more sensitive than Jesus was to the cultural custom of Jews shunning the houses of gentiles). The Centurion doesn’t think it’s necessary anyway: “Just say the word”, he tells Jesus, “and my servant will be healed.”
Jesus is astonished. Such faith! He hasn’t seen faith like this anywhere in Israel. He hasn’t found it in the Temple, the synagogues, the churches. Everywhere he’s gone among the faithful he’s found hesitancy, wariness, a demand to prove himself first, to establish his credentials.
And then this pagan, this man of the world, comes to him and simply says, “Just say the word”. That’s all it will take.
The man wasn’t asking Jesus to quote Bible verses, or spout Christian platitudes. He just wanted Jesus to speak truth with authority. That alone, he believed, would change things: raise the dead, heal the sick, comfort the sorrowing.
- Just say the word.
- Don’t embellish it. Don’t apologize for it. Don’t argue in its behalf.
- Just say it.
So that’s what I told this gathering of journalists and publishers. Write and speak with integrity, truthfulness, clarity. Believe in the One who has called you, who is with you, who is faithful to you. Do that and it will change things.
I’m not sure I inspired them. But I inspired myself, is the truth. I walked away freshly committed to just say the word.
By Mark Buchanan
Used by Permission
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