Many Christians, particularly Americans under the influence of modern-day evangelicalism, are very weak in a critically important aspect of their faith. They, in thought and/or in practice, fail to recognize the absolute authority of King Jesus.
The absolute authority, the kingship, the sovereignty of Jesus was not lost to a gentile centurion (Matthew 8:5-13). The centurion realized the greatness of the One from whom he sought favor was too great to allow him to approach the Authority in person (Luke 7:6-7). So, he sent a group of local Jewish elders to petition on his behalf (Luke 7:3), realizing he was utterly unworthy to have the King condescend to come to his house to heal one of his slaves (Luke 7:6b).
Jesus remarked that the submissive faith he saw in the centurion was unlike anything He had seen in Israel (Matthew 8:10; Luke 7:9). Sadly, I think Jesus would be hard-pressed to find such submissive faith in most American Christians--believers who have been spiritually raised on a diet of Jesus as a genie (waiting to grant every wish of the person rubbing their spiritual lamp); Jesus as a homeboy (just another friend with whom it is cool to hangout); Jesus as a butler (seen only as servant and not as King); Jesus as a cafe companion (a listening ear obligated to accept the esoteric philosophies of new and hip Gnostics); and Jesus as supplier (like a back alley dealer providing a spiritual high with an injection into the artery of felt needs and desires).
While the centurion likely did not know Jesus was/is God-in-the-Flesh, he did understand that Jesus' authority was far greater than his own (Note: the centurion was likely the equivalent of the Chief of Police of Capernaum). And the centurion, being a man under authority and a man of considerable authority himself, knew his place. He knew how to act when petitioning One with so much authority.
Unfortunately, too many Christians in America see their "free will" as sovereign and sacrosanct. While they say Jesus is Lord, he is only Lord to the extent they allow him to be. Jesus Christ is not the absolute authority in their life. His authority is limited to the will of the one who errantly thinks he made Jesus Lord of his life.
No one makes Jesus Lord. Jesus Christ is Lord. No one gives Jesus authority. He has always been and always will be the Master of the Universe. No one allows Jesus to rule and reign. He is no elected official. He is the Sovereign One with absolute authority, and no one else has a vote.
In order to worship the Lord in spirit and in truth (John 4:24), one must submit himself (in thought, word, and deed) to the lordship of King Jesus (Revelation 1:4-6). Sinful man does not have the option, the right, or the authority to choose between submitting to Jesus as Lord or submitting to Jesus as Savior. Jesus is either Lord and Savior in one's life, by the sovereign will and amazing grace of God the Father, or He is neither Lord nor Savior in that person's life.
The centurion recognized the authority of Jesus. Do you?