“The father knew that was the hour when Jesus had said to him, ‘Your son will live.’ And he himself believed, and all his household.” John 4:53
Now, I don’t usually start with the finale, but today I am. Because I’m still looking into that word “faith,”, “pisteuo.” And in today’s account, it’s used twice of the same man. And I figure, if we look at faith in this man, it can help us understand faith as it appears in our life. But, I better get back to the beginning so the finale will make more sense.
Following the excitement in Samaria, You, Jesus, head for Galilee. The Galileans welcomed You because they had been in Jerusalem during the feast and had seen what You had done there. Now there were lots of cities in the region of Galilee. And You went back to Cana, where You had turned the water to wine. Now another city in the region of Galilee was Capernaum. Just to put things into perspective here, it was about a days walk, 20 miles, from Cana to Capernaum. It’s also a probability that this was one of Herod’s officials. So, it was no easy distance. Though I’m not sure if he would have had some mode of transportation more than his feet. Yet, still, he went out of his way to see You, Jesus. And, being associated with any of the Herod’s of the time probably wasn’t the purest form of religion, to say the least.
But this official has this son who is at the point of death, so he comes to You. And maybe it wouldn’t be so out of the ordinary to find a great rabbi and ask them to pray for your son. But he didn’t just ask you to pray. He asked You to come back the 20 miles he came to Cana to see his son and heal him. That reminds me of the woman with the bleeding issue. “If only I could touch the hem of His robe, then I would be healed.” “If only You would come and touch my son, then he would be healed.”
So what was Your response? “Except you see signs and wonders, you will not believe.” Huh? Are You reprimanding the official because he wants You to come perform a miracle? I mean, because if You don’t perform a miracle in his son, the boy will die. But maybe there is a difference between believing in a Jesus who needs to touch someone and believing in a Jesus who just has to speak the words. Men and women need to touch other people to have an effect on them. Men and women lift up prayers on the behalf of other people. But men and women have no direct authority or power outside of God. What about You?
You can choose to touch someone and bring them healing. You spit in mud and rubbed it on a blind man’s eyes. Why? I don’t know. You can heal any way You want to. You can enter the room. You can say, “Talitha, arise,” and a little girl will come to life as though she were just waking up and getting up for the day ahead. And You can say, “Your son is healed,” and it is already a done deal. No going, no touching, no effort, just a thought and it is accomplished without even having to be spoken. I mean, You didn’t even speak healing over his son. You just stated that it was already done. “Go home, he’s alive.”
I wonder if that matters, the fact that You didn’t have to speak it and the fact that You did not have to go? I don’t really wonder. I know it matters. Because nothing is harder for You than anything else. And actually, nothing is hard for you at all. When Sarah laughed at the thought of having a child in her old age, in the time of “impossibility,” it was already done. There is no such thing as an impossibility to You. The only thing You can’t do is sin, and that is because You won’t sin, because it would be outside of Your character. Listen to Jeremiah 32:17. “Ah, Lord God! It is You who have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and by our outstretched arm! Nothing is too hard for You.” How did You make them?
The heavens and the earth were made by Your great power and strength and authority. You didn’t reach out Your arm because You had to mold and shape. Your arm is a symbol of Your power. So why did You speak things into existence? You didn’t have to. Was it to show us that You are the One with that power and authority? Are Your words for us? Because You really don’t need them. But I do. Maybe You spoke things into existence so I could just know that You are the One with the power. So that I could know that You are the God of all flesh. Is anything too hard for You? I don’t think so if You are able to create something from nothing.
Now, back to the officer. He asks You to come back with him to heal his son. You tell him about needing signs and wonders to believe. He seems pretty unnaffected. He asks again, “Come back to my house with me.” And You simply reply, “Go home, your son lives.” Well, maybe the official had listened to Your words. Because Your Word tells me that he believed the word that You spoke to him and went home. He went home believing that his son was alive and he hadn’t even gotten to see a miracle or even gotten to hear You say, “Boy, arise!”
But what did he believe at this point? Because it really matters what we believe and what we believe into. At this point, his actions point to the fact that he believed that Your words were true. He believed that his son was alive. And on the 20 mile trip back home, a servant met him, and told him, well, affirmed the good news that his son was alive. But the official had to ask something. “What exact time did that happen?” “Yesterday, at the seventh hour.” That was the exact time that You, Lord, had sent him home to his living son. So here it is, tomorrow, and where he had believed in words spoken the previous evening, now he believed in more. How did his belief change?
Maybe at first he believed what he wanted to believe. He wanted to believe his son was healed. So he clung to those words in belief. But it’s really easy to cling to words without clinging to the speaker of those words. It’s really easy to cling to words and promises without really knowing or understanding the speaker or the promiser. But something happened on the way home. The official started putting two and two together. This “man” Jesus, who never even spoke healing over his son, let alone, never even seemed to intervene in any physical way, had just declared it already done. And His declaration had been more than enough. Just His declaration was truth. And it was immediate. His son was not still healing. He was whole and made whole at the moment of the declaration. Just an unspoken thought on the mind of Christ was that powerful!
He wasn’t just believing in the healing of his son now. Now he believed into the person of You, Jesus. He was understanding Your power and Your person. And his excitement filled his whole household and his whole house believed.
What am I believing? Am I just believing in Your words? That’s a start. Or have I come to place my trust into the Person that Your words tell and show me that You are? Have I come to know who You are and what You are, based on the truth and power of Your words? Am I trusting in the power of Your words, the power behind Your words, the power beneath Your words in my life? The power and work is there before You even speak. Is that where I am yet? Because that’s where I need to be. I need to be in You, where You are working and creating and dividing and making me more like You while You speak and while You are silent. Because there is never a moment when You are not being God. This is what it is to experience You.