The centurion who Jesus praised for his great faith knew a thing or two about spiritual realities. He knew that when he spoke a word the thing was done. His spoken word was the first evidence of whatever he wanted done. His soldiers and servants would come and go and do in accordance with his word. It is not far fetched to say that he knew the power of words.
He also had a clear idea about that the reason why his words had power was because he himself was under authority and that this authority had endued him with power. His words would be void and of no effect if his authority wasn’t sanctioned by a higher authority. And because of this higher authority he never had to doubt whether his words would accomplish what he pleased or not. They would never return to him void.
How he had been able to transit this knowledge into an understanding of how spiritual laws work we do not know. Based on how he saw these things being worked out in his own office he evidently didn’t find it absurd that Jesus could only speak a word and his servant would be healed.
The centurion recognized that Jesus operated by the same principles as he did. His servants and soldiers didn’t basically obey him, but the authority of which he was subject. In a sense he was saying: “I can of myself do nothing.” The centurion’s nothingness (I am not worthy to have you come under my roof) was made into a somethingness by the power that operated by him, and which he had learned to operate in freedom. This further means that he didn’t lean on his words alone, but on that which was greater than him. The substance wasn’t so much in the words as it was in the authority above him.
The centurion’s humbleness comes clearly to expression by the fact that he boldly and without hesitation spoke his commands and wishes into existence and hence used the authority he was given as an ambassador for the higher authority. This in stark contrast to the disciples who at several occasions floundered when they could have spoken the releasing word. More than once Jesus disappointed and exasperated exclaimed: “Oh, you of little faith!”
The centurions “I” was in the forefront in whatever he did. “And I say to one….” He took things in the stride seemingly never wondering if he was speaking “out of himself or the Spirit”. That division didn’t exist in his consciousness. From his own words it seems pretty clear that he didn’t stop short because of the following question: “Wonder if I am in the will of my authorities now?” He was the will of the authorities just like Jesus was the will of the Father.
“Go; let it be done for you as you have believed.” was Jesus’ final words to the centurion.