When the centurion asked Jesus to heal his servant, he asked Jesus to just say the word because he knew that Jesus had that authority (Mt. 8:5-13). The centurion explained that he was a man under authority, and he also had soldiers under him. In other words, he knew how authority worked, and Jesus marveled saying that He had not seen such faith in Israel.
The thing you don’t want to miss in this episode is the connection between faith and authority, faith and submission. The centurion said he knew how authority worked, and he knew that Jesus had authority over his sick servant. And Jesus said that was great faith.
When you think of being under authority and obedience to authority, you may be more inclined to think of humility, but Jesus says you should also think of faith. This works in at least a couple of directions. First, it takes faith to submit to and obey lawful authority. It takes faith to obey your parents. It takes faith for a wife to obey her husband. It takes faith to obey pastors and civil magistrates. But this same faith should not be narrowly construed. Faith sees the whole chain of command, just like the centurion. The centurion’s faith recognized his own true authority, situated above some and below others. And therefore, faith sees above and below other true authorities.
While wisdom really must be exercised, this means that sometimes faith disregards or disobeys one authority in submission to a higher authority. This is why the Biblical commands to obey human authorities always include the prepositional phrase “in the Lord.” This is the freedom to obey authorities when they are leading you to obey Christ and in things indifferent. But whenever an authority would lead away from Christ, in disobedience to Christ, faith sees Christ standing above that authority and sees the disastrous effects of that disobedience on those under that authority – and faith obeys Christ, even if the authority demands otherwise.
Hebrews says that faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. And in this case, faith sees Christ standing above every lawful authority. And Christ sets you free to obey every lawful order, and He sets you free to disregard every unlawful order.