I Can Do All Things Through Google That Educates Me?

Text: Matthew 8:1-13

In the name of Jesus. Amen.

In the last decade or so, with the emergence of the internet and the popularity of cell phones, a phenomenon has been occurring. That phenomenon is what social scientists call “The Death of Expertise.” In other words, due to Google, Youtube, Wikipedia, blogs, and so forth, there has been a collapse in the division between professionals and laymen. Think of it this way; there will always be a need for doctors in our world. We need doctors to perform surgeries, administer medicine, and monitor our health. However, the average person now has a tendency to consult the internet health website “WEB MD” before their doctor. And if their doctor says one thing and WEB MD says another, well… often times the doctor is questioned or rejected.

We even see this in the realm of the church. Forget going to seminary, forget studying Greek and Hebrew, forget the hundreds of hours of study – just go online to Universal Church Dot Com and get ordained in 7 minutes or less. In fact, you can even order a complete pastor-kit for $149.99.  

The point is, over the last several decades, the division between the non-expert and the expert has collapsed. It has collapsed because the average person has seen themselves as an expert in all things. They can do all things through Google that educates them.  

Now, while there are many consequences to all of this that we could discuss, the one that we must especially consider today is the erosion of authority. Yes, the dismantling and disregard of authority.

Think of it this way. If you and I can click on a smartphone to find information or learn how to do things on our own, why would we need to call an expert? And if we don’t need experts, why do we need to respect these experts in their positions of authority? Why would we need someone to be in power and influence above us when we are capable of so much on our own?  

Frankly, as a pastor and you as church members, we probably should not be too worried about those who get ordained online in 7 minutes, for everyone knows that these people are either frauds or doing it for a fun laugh. But instead, we should be more concerned about the disregard for authority. We should be concerned not only for how this hurts society but also how it hurts the church and especially the person of Christ. 

You see, in America, as the line between the non-expert and expert has collapsed, Jesus has been brought down to the point where He is perceived as nothing more than a spiritual buddy. He is a best friend forever. He is like a co-pilot that takes the wheel when you are out of control. So, when Jesus is spoken of as having authority, influence, and rule, well… people will typically frown upon this. Indeed, many in America are not interested in Christ having power, rule, and influence over their life’s decisions. They do not want to submit their decisions, their careers, their thoughts, or their sexual ethics to anyone in authority, especially Christ and His church.  

But keep in mind that rejecting authority – especially the authority of Christ – is risky business. Sure, we have the ability to use technology and do things on our own. But truth be told, there are so many things in this life that we simply cannot do. 

We think that we can do so much, but in reality, when the going gets tough, we typically run to those in authority and those with the proper expertise to fix things on our behalf.  

For example, consider our reading from the Gospel of Matthew. In the Gospel of Matthew, we encounter two interactions. First, we hear about a leper. And what makes this leper so profound is that the leper knew that he was completely helpless. He knew that there was a division between himself and Jesus. He knew that he was no expert at curing himself of leprosy. He knew that he was a layman and that Jesus was the professional – the Lord almighty. And secondly, we hear about a Roman Military Officer called a centurion. As a centurion, this Roman Officer was in charge of 100 soldiers. And when he spoke with authority, the soldiers listened. He said, “do this,” and it was done. But keep in mind that with all the power, influence, rule, and influence that this centurion had, he had absolutely zero authority over sickness and death. He could say to sickness and death, “Be gone,” and sickness and death would not listen to him. This centurion was indeed no expert over sickness; he had zero authority over death. And so, simply stated, the leper knew that he was no expert, and the Roman centurion knew that Jesus had proper authority over himself to deal with disease and death.  

But this is where we mess things up so badly in America. We act the exact opposite from the leper and the Roman centurion in America. On the one hand, we do everything possible to reject the reality of our condition. We like to pretend that we are not sin-sick. We like to think that we are experts and have everything under control. And while we are doing this, at the same time, we don’t want to admit that Jesus has authority over us. We like to think the authority belongs to us. We like to think that we are masters and commanders of our little universes.

Ah, but we crack when things get too big and become too difficult. We tumble apart and then demand that those who are experts and in authority help us immediately. In other words, we don’t like a version of Jesus and the church that has authority over our morals and actions. Yet, at the same time when death, illness, or major problems strike, well... then we go to the church or run to our prayers to have a powerful and authoritative Jesus that will make all things better.  

Tragically, I believe the majority of our issues really come back to a misdiagnosis of ourselves. We think more highly of ourselves than we ought to.  For example, with our cell phones in one hand and our pride in the other hand, we reject that we are poor, helpless, miserable sinners – like the leper – and we reject the reality that Jesus has all authority, as testified by the Roman centurion. We think more highly of ourselves than we ought to. And we think lowlier of Christ than we ought to. We doubly fail.  

Lord have mercy.  

Dear friends, mark this. When you look at the leper in need, he is a visible picture of your spiritual condition. You are no expert over sin, death, and the devil. And, when you look at the Roman centurion and his confession of Christ’s authority that is a clear picture that you need to appeal to an authority above yourself when it comes to dealing with sin, death, and the devil.  

Now, keep in mind that it takes great courage to admit that we are helpless – does it not? It hurts our prideful feelings of expertise to know that our technological advances in life stand no chance before sin, death, and the devil. Nevertheless, we must have the courage to confess this. We must have the courage to admit this. We must admit this and learn that like the leper and like that centurion, you and I also have an expert, someone in authority who stands not over 100 men but stands over sin, death, and the devil. You and I have One that speaks with all authority over sin, death, and the devil – and these enemies must obey.  

Baptized Saints, this should make you feel pretty good right about now. To have someone in authority over your death, over your sin, and against the devil… that should be really good news. That should be a great comfort.  

Baptized Saints, hear this – when you sin, your Jesus has authority over your sins. So, when you hear the words of Jesus, “Your sins are forgiven,” well… they are really forgiven. He has the authority to forgive you.  

And when you die and are buried six feet under the ground, on the great last day, your Jesus will say to you, “Arise.” And in the twinkling of an eye, death will obey the authoritative Christ, and you will be released from the jaws of death and given a brand new body.  

And the devil? Well, he is weak compared to the authority of Christ and His Word. Never forget that a tiny word from Jesus is mightier than all the forces of the devil.  “Begone, pathetic foe! We are baptized into Christ.”  

So, the bad news is that you and I are no experts, and we don’t have much authority in the grand scheme of life. But that does not matter. Friends, take comfort, do not fear; you have One who has all authority in heaven and on earth, His name is Jesus Christ, Son of God, your Savior. Where He speaks, you listen and have comfort. Where He rules, you follow and have comfort. He has all authority over sin, death, the devil, and you. And that is a good thing.  

In the name of Jesus. Amen.  

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