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jesus-healing clipped

Trusting God’s Word
Richard Ettensohn

March 3, Tuesday – Psalms 61, 62, 68:1-20(21-23)24-36; Jeremiah 2:1-13; Romans 1:16-25; John 4:43-54

One of the readings today is John 4: 43 – 54. A desperate nobleman comes to Jesus to beg Jesus to heal his son. Jesus heals the son, and he also chooses to test the father’s faith.

The father is a nobleman. He travels about 20 – 25 miles uphill from Capernaum to Cana to see Jesus. The father “implores” Jesus to come to Capernaum to heal his son (v. 47). This father is willing to humble himself before Jesus because he has faith that IF Jesus will do what he wants (come to Capernaum), then he will get what he urgently desires (his son will be healed).

I often do things that are far worse. I do not doubt Christ’s power but I doubt that Christ will care enough to answer. The father doubts neither. I often tell God how I want something to happen. Here, the father and I are in the same boat. The father has decided that the only way Jesus can heal his son is for Jesus to come with him back to Capernaum.

And note Jesus’ answer: “Unless you people see signs and wonders, you will by no means believe” (v. 48). Is this a statement only to the father or is Jesus also including persons who are hearing the conversation? Or is Jesus including me?

Now the father is even more desperate: “Sir come down before my child dies!” (v. 49). Now he doubts Christ’s willingness to help. Now the father has gotten to the place where I usually start.

Now, the father still believes that Jesus can heal his son only by coming to Capernaum.

And yet, note Jesus’ merciful answer despite all of this: “Go your way, your son lives.” (v. 50)

On the next day, on the way back to Capernaum, the father meets his servants who tell him that his son lives (v. 51). Like me, the father believes good news from other people immediately. I find it much more difficult to believe good news from God. Do you?

Also, the father wants to determine whether Jesus really healed the son (v. 52). It is almost as though the father has received his personal “sign and wonder” but still wants to test whether it is really a sign and wonder or something that would have happened without Jesus’ intervention. Like the father, I often want to check on whether God’s merciful actions can be attributed to any other cause. At least now the father believes even though he could probably continued to have rationalized the healing.

The story has an even happier ending beyond the physical healing of the son. The father believes “and his whole household” (v. 53). Christ’s miracle has both immediate effects in the world and eternal effects in heaven.

God help us to trust your power and your love immediately and may this trust build your kingdom in this world and in heaven.

Image is a picture of a miniature bronze figure, by German sculptor Ulrich Henn, on the doors of St. James Cathedral, in Seattle. Photo by sea turtle (used by permission via Creative Commons).