John 4:43-53 Faith Healer

Today in my study I stand in a milling crowd, alongside a desperate father who approaches Jesus for help. His son is dying…

Imagine what this man is going through. He’s a bigwig, a suited corporate type who works in the capital, a rising star in business, about to make his big break, but right now he just feels like a little cog being ground to dust in the wheels of life. He’s taken his son to every high-powered specialist around but the boy is past hope, slowly dying. This man has heard about Jesus’ reputation and he figures, why not? What does he have to lose? He might as well see if this guy can help. He won’t be the first desperate father to go to some faith healer…

He pulls into Cana just about the time Jesus arrives in the town where they say He turned water into wine at a wedding feast. There’s a crowd of people that have heard all about the things Jesus did up in Jerusalem at the Passover. Miracles, people say. They’re hanging around hoping for a good show. Maybe more wine…free! The crowd swirls around the itinerant star. The exec is surrounded by riff-raff, no one paying much attention to his shiny shoes or Italian suit. He finally makes his way up to Jesus and sees an ordinary looking man, clothing stained from travel. Desperate, he finds himself caught up by the mood of the crowd, all looking for something. He reaches out his hand and begs Jesus for help. All he can think of is that his boy is already near death and he has to do something to save him.

Jesus speaks but his words stun the man by His side. Addressing the milling crowd He says, “Won’t you people believe in Me unless I do something miraculous?” The frightened father, focused again on his need, begs Jesus, “Come with me before my son dies!” Yet in his mind Jesus’ words start him thinking. What does he believe in? If Jesus could do this… How? What would that mean?

Suddenly Jesus turns to him, looking him right in the eye, and speaks simple words that change everything. “Go back home; your son lives.” The father’s heart hits his throat, his mind racing. There’s something happening here that he never expected. He looks for that one long moment into the eyes of this man. As He turns away, the father senses a shift taking place inside. He believes this guy. Maybe it’s the way He quietly assures him, or maybe it’s that glance touching his heart, but whatever it is he suddenly knows that his boy is okay. Faith, long relegated to religious form alone, is born anew.

The crowd envelopes Jesus, swirling noisily away as the man slowly turns, his mind still reeling, to head back home to Capernaum. The long journey gives him time to ponder things. “What just happened here?’ he wonders as he continues into the afternoon. A knot of happy men approach but he’s so deep in thought he hardly notices them until he recognizes one of his own men loping towards him, waving his hand and yelling. Joy paints his face as he shouts, “Your son lives!” At that moment the father knows, with a certainty that’s more than mere optimism, that this Man who looked him in the eye and spoke the words of hope, this Jesus, is God Himself! It remains a mere formality to ask the men for the details. “When did he get better?” he asks, breathlessly. He’s not even surprised to hear them mention the exact time when Jesus spoke those welcome words. His heart swells, full of gratitude, love and faith. He knows he must put his arms around his beloved son who lives, really lives. He must tell him of the Man—the God—who healed him.

“And he himself believed, and his whole household.” (John 4:53)

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