I never tire of telling the story of the Centurion chronicled in Matthew Chapter 8. It remains one of the highlights of the Police Dynamics program because it so clearly illustrates the principle of a law enforcement or government official operating “under authority.”

This video from the Police Dynamics archives was actually filmed in the very synagogue that was built by the Centurion in the village of Capernaum, Israel! I had to speak in hushed tones because there were a number of tour groups there at the same time. Apparently yellow ballcaps were in fashion that day!

About 2000 years ago, the land of Palestine was under the rule of the Roman Empire, a very powerful and at times corrupt governing authority. Within a town or village, the Roman government would appoint a representative. He was known as the Centurion. The Centurion was an army commander and served as the representative of Roman governmental authority and power. He functioned much like a Police Chief, Fire Chief, Public Safety Director, Mayor, and Magistrate all rolled into one! Although the Romans did not appreciate separation of powers quite like we do, he was clearly responsible for maintaining the law, order, health, safety, and morals of that village.

In the village of Capernaum near the Sea of Gallilee, there was Centurion who had a great trust-based relationship with the community he served. He had even built a synagogue for the Jews who lived there. However, he had a servant who was ill and on the verge of death. Hearing that Jesus was in town, the Centurion sent word to Him asking Him to heal the servant. Jesus was more than happy to help and offered to go to the Centurion’s home. However, the Centurion said something quite profound at that point.

He said, “Do not come to my house. I am not even worthy to have You come under my roof. Secondly, I too am a man under authority. And I have soldiers who work under me. If I tell this one to come, he comes. If I tell that one to go, he goes. If I tell another to do something, he goes and does it. You do not have to come to my house. All You have to do is speak the word and it will be done.”

What was he doing? He was recognizing the authority of Jesus. Essentially he was saying, “If You are who You represent yourself to be (our definition of Integrity) — the Son of God, the Savior of the World, the Great Physician, the Creator of the Universe — then why do You need to go anywhere? The power of the universe is at your command.”

Jesus marveled at the faith of the Centurion. Saying, “In all of Israel I have not seen this kind of faith! Here is a Roman Centurion, a pagan! And he has more faith than those of you who call yourself the children of Abraham, the very man of faith!” (That’s a paraphrase, but it is the essence of what He was saying…)

Interestingly, the Centurion did NOT say, “I am a man OF authority!” Even though he was. Because he understood this principle. He recognized that the only time he had a right to tell anyone else what to do was when he himself was lined up under HIS authorities.

And do you know that’s how it’s SUPPOSED to work – even in our own organizations? I mean, if the layers of authority are all lined up correctly, the one IN authority should simply have to speak and it should flow down the chain of command to the appropriate level and get done! However, it doesn’t often work that way, does it? And one of the reasons is because we have Renegades at so many levels in the chain that they are breaking the natural flow of authority. They are relying on ego power rather than legitimate Positional Authority.

Those of you in law enforcement and public safety are the modern day centurions. You spend a good bit of your day telling others what they should do: “Go, Come, Stop, Put Your Hands Behind Your Back, Watch Your Head…!”

How dare we even attempt to exercise our authority by telling others what to do if we ourselves are not lined up under OUR authorities!


About the Author


11 Responses to The Centurion from Capernaum

  1. Larry Hargett says:

    Thanks, Ray.

    This Email is especially timely and true to Linda and me as we were both in Capernaum, Israel the first 10 days of March/2012 during a very worshipful and spiritually enlightening trip to Israel..

    God Bless and Keep.

    Larry Hargett via LinkedIn

  2. Mark A. Machan says:

    I just want to tell you what a blessing this was for me as a retired police chief and believer in Jesus Christ. I have attached a lesson I used for Law Day when I am asked to speak.

    Mark A. Machan
    Ohio

  3. Kimberly Alyn says:

    Good stuff as always! Thank you Ray. Many blessings to you for the great work you do :-)

  4. David Osborne says:

    EXCELLENT ! Thank you so much for posting this !

    Posted by David Osborne

  5. Annette Travis says:

    Ray, what a powerful message! I have seen those who believe they are the authority and mock those who are under authority because “they don’t know what they are doing” or aren’t doing things the way they would do them. I have also seen the modern day Centurion who I would be proud to be mentored by and follow their example as they are great men and women who are what all of us strive to be! Thank you for sharing this once again!
    Posted by Annette Travis, MSAJS

  6. Annette Travis says:

    Ray,

    I never tire of hearing your inspirational and motivating videos. I have to laugh at this video for the moment as you had many in yellow hats and one who knew you were taping and chose to pick his nose anyhow! Beyond that simple observation, your messages are so clear and certainly encourage me to strive to be the better person in all I do with your messages. Thanks for helping me determine where my character sits and what I can do to always improve it. You have a true talent and I am so thankful that you have the ability to share that with others. Stay safe!

  7. Dianna says:

    Excellent perspective on authority–and faith. Thanks Ray!

  8. Bill Richardson says:

    Thanks for a timely lesson. As a member of my church security ministry this is a lesson I plan to share at our upcoming meeting.

    • Sheriff Ray says:

      I’m glad you found it helpful. I have several other video posts that deal with Biblical principles that you may find helpful…

      Ray

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

* Copy This Password *

* Type Or Paste Password Here *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Sheriff Ray Nash

Sheriff Ray Nash

Free Training Resources

The Benefits of Good Character
49 Character Qualities
10 Virtues of a Law Officer
Police Dynamics Intro Video

GET INSTANT ACCESSS NOW


Subscribe via Email

Receive Blog Updates by Email

Subscribe via RSS Feed

Subscribe

Follow on Twitter


What Law Enforcement and Community Leaders Are Saying About Police Dynamics

“A few years ago, we brought the Police Dynamics program to the Cincinnati Police Division and were most impressed with the quality of the training and richness of the program.”
Mike Daly
Character Council of Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky

"I have attended training conducted by the Police Dynamics Institute in the past and know Ray Nash both personally and professionally. They have my whole-hearted endorsement…"
Sheriff Larry Williams
Orangeburg, SC

"I cannot tell you how excited I am to see this website. I was introduced to your video on the Dynamics of Authority through my father who is a police chaplain for the FBI and local law enforcement agencies here in Las Cruces. I have taught and applied the Dynamics model to my students when I was a teacher, and now to my department as a fire fighter."
Nathan Carr
Las Cruces Fire Dept.

“One of the greatest seminars I have ever attended in the 33 years I’ve been a Deputy.”
Walter Bolinger
Sergeant
Marion County Sheriff’s Office, IN

"I was so impressed by the (Police Dynamics) program that I purchased your video tape series. All Grand County Sheriff’s Employees subsequently viewed the tapes, and I have also mandated that all new Sheriff’s Employees watch it as well."
Glen Trainor
Undersheriff
Grand County Sheriff’s Office

"It is with much enthusiasm that I encourage senior law enforcement executives to make attending the Police Dynamics seminar a key training priority for your agency."
DeWayne Beggs
Sheriff
Cleveland County, OK
former 2nd VP - National Sheriff's Association

"I am convinced of the benefits of the Police Dynamics program."
Jerry Martin
Sheriff
Delores County, CO
former Pres - County Sheriff's of Colorado

"Honestly, I’ve not been more impressed with a police training that I’ve attended in the last 20 years..."
Tom McClain
Chief of Police
Willard, MO

"I am a firm believer that Police Dynamics and Character First! equip the men and women that work for the Oklahoma Sheriff’s Office to do their job and do it better."
John Whetsel
Sheriff
Oklahoma County, OK

"If you believe that good character is an essential element in policing, you will want to send your key staff to Police Dynamics."
David Williams
Sheriff
Tarrant County, TX

"In the three years prior to our character initiative, we had 42 labor and employee grievances, and seven different lawsuits. In the three years since we put the character initiative in place, we have had two grievances and no lawsuits from employees. I think that, in and of itself, is significant."
Rodney Ray
City Manager
Owasso, OK

"This course was one of the best training sessions that I’ve been through. This concept will benefit me and the staff in my division."
Police Dynamics participant

[We have] more awareness of the preventative benefits of a character initiative as opposed to the typical reactive approach to situations. There is a sense of excitement by organization leaders as they begin to see a change in their culture. Bob Powell
Character Council
Fort Collins, CO

"[The Police Dynamics training] brings us closer together, more like a family … it reminds us of why we’re out there and what it’s about.”
Captain John Decker
Dorchester County Sheriff's Office, SC

"This class gave me the vocabulary that I have been looking for to praise and motivate my employees."
Police Dynamics participant

"We’ve built a much better relationship with each other. We’ve seen a decrease in complaints. We’ve become a family instead of a place to work."
Sheriff Howie Godwin
Highlands County, FL

“This shows us a new approach to recognize employees’ character traits - and to acknowledge them for those good traits versus, 'You did an excellent job…' It’s some fresh ideas in an area that we probably all need to change."
Major P.D. Taylor
Oklahoma County Sheriff's Office

"The Police Dynamics training that Ray Nash brought teaches the things that are at the core of being a good police officer – being trustworthy, being of good character…"
Sgt. Julie Shearer
Cincinnati Police Div.

“In the Police Dynamics training seminar, the officers are able to set a standard in their own lives of the kind of character they want to see in their community."
Chaplain Carl Nelson
Colorado Springs Police Department

"Character is the solution to the real problem in our community of crime. Character supplies the answer."
Hon. F.A. Schad
Former Judge
Burleson, TX

“I want you to know that my international and national career was very much influenced by your lessons and knowing you was of paramount importance for my job and career. Many Romanian police officers are grateful to you and to Character training."
Teofil Parasca
Assistant Superintendent
Arad County Police
Romania

"I would like to work more toward management by principles instead of rules – with an emphasis on character and guiding principles."
Chief Lynn Williams
Chickasha, OK

“We need to return to our basic character traits that made this country great. Ray Nash has the program to do it."
Police Dynamics participant

"This shows us a new approach to recognize those employees’ character traits and to recognize and acknowledge them for those good traits versus, “You did an excellent job…” It’s some fresh ideas in an area that we probably all need to change."
Major P.D. Taylor
Oklahoma County Sheriff's Office

"In the three years prior to our character initiative, we had 42 labor and employee grievances, and seven different lawsuits. In the three years since we put the character initiative in place, we have had two grievances and no lawsuits from employees. I think that, in and of itself, is significant."
Rodney Ray
City Manager
Owasso, OK

"Absolutely fantastic! It reminded me of why I wanted to be a peace officer."
Police Dynamics participant

"the finest value-added training anywhere."
Sheriff David Williams
Tarrant County, TX

"We continue to benefit from your teaching and hire with a strong emphasis on character."
Chief Tom McClain
Willard, MO

"Once again, I feel absolutely indebted to you for the program you have developed and your desire to change the world through the building of better law enforcement officers."
Glen P. Trainor
Undersheriff
Grand County, CO

"Sheriff Ray Nash is an internationally recognized speaker that you and your staff will learn powerful principles from, while enjoying the lesson."
DeWayne Beggs
Sheriff
Cleveland County, OK

"Very comprehensive, a great resource manual for the future. The seminar was dynamic in every way. What a great resource for people throughout their day-to-day routines.”
Doug Carter
Trooper
Indiana State Police