Luke’s First Centurion:
Luke wrote about his first Centurion as follows in Luke 7: 1-10: (King James Version)
6 Then Jesus went with them. And when he was now not far from the house, the centurion sent friends to him, saying unto him, Lord, trouble not thyself: for I am not worthy that thou shouldest enter under my roof:
Several things should be noted about this Centurion. First, he is stationed in Capernaum. Why there? Capernaum was the first toll road stopping point in Judea on the great silk and spice road from Antioch to Alexandria in Egypt. All trade from the east, such as India, came along this road. He thus has been given an important post. He is guarding this road and this toll station. This is how Rome collected taxes. As an aside, Matthew, the Publican, the tax collector was the toll-keeper at this gate. Second, he is wealthy enough to have servants. Third, he is caring enough to worry about his sick servant and to try and do something about it. Not your typical Roman. Fourth, he is on good, even familiar terms with the Jewish elders of his community-so much so that they would approach Jesus on his behalf. Fifth, he is a charitable man-he gave money to open a synagogue for the Jews. Sixth, he loves Judea. Most Romans viewed Judea as a hell-hole of a posting. Seventh, he is humble. I am not worthy for you to enter my house. Eight, he has faith and understands being under authority.
Auctoritas- In Ancient Rome, Auctoritas referred to the general level of prestige a person had in Roman society, and, as a consequence, his clout, influence, and ability to rally support around his will. Auctoritas was not merely political, however; it had a mystical quality about it and symbolized the mysterious “power of command” of heroic Roman figures. Cicero wrote “Cum potestas in populo auctoritas in senatua sit.” (“While power resides in the people, authority rests with the Senate.”) Augustus as Emperor held the auctoritas principis – the supreme moral authority– in conjunction with the imperium and potestas – the judiciary and administrative powers.
Thus a man under authority had more than the power of command, he had some ‘moral’ power also.