14 January 2010

Jesus Heals, Households Believe


Once more he visited Cana in Galilee, where he had turned the water into wine. And there was a certain royal official whose son lay sick at Capernaum. When this man heard that Jesus had arrived in Galilee from Judea, he went to him and begged him to come and heal his son, who was close to death. "Unless you people see miraculous signs and wonders," Jesus told him, "you will never believe." The royal official said, "Sir, come down before my child dies." Jesus replied, "You may go. Your son will live."
The man took Jesus at his word and departed. While he was still on the way, his servants met him with the news that his boy was living. When he inquired as to the time when his son got better, they said to him, "The fever left him yesterday at the seventh hour." Then the father realized that this was the exact time at which Jesus had said to him, "Your son will live." So he and all his household believed. This was the second miraculous sign that Jesus performed, having come from Judea to Galilee. - John 4:46-54

Signs, Signs everywhere signs, blockin' up the scenery, breakin' my mind. Do this. Don't do that. Can't you read the signs.

I can already read the frustration in Jesus' statement. "Unless you people see miraculous signs and wonders..." It had to be hard to have to prove himself over and over again to the very people who should be doing something for him. After all, he gave them life. They had wandered away from the will of His Father. And yet, here we all came, acting as though something was owed to us. Do something for us and then we will believe you are who you say you are.

Keep in mind, he had already healed many. He was in the very town where he had turned water into wine. He tried to keep it quiet, but the servants and his family and disciples knew what he had done. Do we honestly believe that rumour stayed quiet very long? How many times must Jesus prove himself? How many healings does it take before people start to believe that Jesus is the messiah? How many signs must it take?

Clearly the royal official knew about Jesus, for he had traveled 42k to meet with this man out of desperation. His son was about to die. What wouldn't I do to save the life of my son? If I knew there was someone out there doing the miraculous, I would do the same. But, Jesus' reaction shames us. I know what Jesus has done for others. I know the healing he has given for those in need. But, I need him to do it for me until I truly believe.

We would have understood if Jesus had refused to walk the distance to heal his son. After all, he had left towns behind where there were still people in need in favour of other towns that needed him as well. We would have understood if he had said, "No."

But Jesus is not us. Despite his stated frustration at the man's selfish request, he still loves the royal official. "Go your way; your son lives."

So the man immediately stops his insisting. This powerful man doesn't seem to protest that Jesus must accompany him along the 42k. He simply goes back home. What a strange trip that must have been. Jesus' words "Your son lives" must have been echoing in his mind, as well as the doubt. Is he really alive? Can I really trust this stranger I traveled so far to meet?

His servants met him and told him "Your son lives!" The very words Jesus spoke. What Jesus proclaimed, the servants reported. In him was life and the life was the light of men. Jesus comes so that we may shine like stars in the universe. He created us that way. Because of this miracle, the official's entire household believed in Jesus.

Jesus went around bringing hope and healing to those who came to him out of desperation. Does the body of Christ do the same?

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