Jesus was speaking to all of the disciples. He saw them as a company. Although they eventually went to different geographical destinations, they had one Commander who had given them their marching orders and their mandate for victory and success. They spoke the same word and carried the same authority: The Word and the authority of their Lord and King.
The story of the centurion in Matthew 8 gives us one of the clearest illustrations of authority in the Bible. The centurion came imploring Jesus to heal his servant. Jesus was willing to go, but the centurion said: “Lord, I am not worthy . . . only speak a word, and my servant will be healed.” (Matthew 8:8 NKJV). The centurion understood authority as a man who had authority and who was under authority. He understood that Jesus was under a greater authority than Himself. As the centurion would say to one, ‘Go!’ and to another, ‘Come!’ so he knew that was all Jesus needed to do for the healing of his servant. Jesus marveled at this man’s faith and said to those following Him, “Assuredly, I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel!” (Matthew 8:10b NKJV).
Roman soldiers were protected from arrows by the shield they carried. Although that shield provided individual protection, their greatest protection came through the fact that the shield was linked to the shield on the soldier’s right and left. Together they were even more effective in deflecting the enemy’s arrows. So it is with the shield of faith that the Lord has provided for us.
Paul spoke of this shield in Ephesians 6 when he addressed the subject of the armor of God. I will deal with this in greater depth in chapter twelve of this book. However, for our purpose here, I want us to understand that this shield of faith not only covers us from head to foot, but also covers our sides through our covenant relationship with those to whom the Lord has joined us. Relationships with other brothers and sisters in Christ are vital to achieving victory in our battles. Our submission to those given authority over our lives is also vital to understanding the shield of faith. I cannot emphasis enough how important it is to not be a “lone ranger” in the spiritual battles we are fighting.