In John 4:46-54, there is an account of Jesus healing an official’s son. It came up in a video I was watching the other day and the last verse really stuck with me
“This was the second sign Jesus performed”
The first sign as you probably remember was turning water into wine at a wedding feast in Cana and I suddenly started wondering.
If I had a terminally sick child, would I have gone to ask for healing for my son from someone who’s only previous miraculous act was turning water into wine at a party?
Come to that would I have left a terminally sick child? What would the other members of my family have thought? That I was opting out.
Would I have walked the 26.5km from Capernaum to Cana to seek out Jesus? It was a round trip that would have kept me from home for more than a day at this critical time.
Would I have believed that an itinerant teacher could help an important royal official? All the power and influence appeared to be in the official’s hands.
I wonder what he had heard about Jesus that convinced him to take such an unlikely journey. To go away from his family at a time when families draw together. To take a journey that could mean he would never see his son alive again. Any parent of a child who is struggling will tell you that there is a sense of desperation as you realise that you are powerless to help. There is nothing you as an ordinary human being can do – except to be there.
And at the end of the journey, he was desperate enough to put all his importance aside and to beg for Jesus to “Come and heal his son”. Did he go on his knees or fall on his face, how did he humble himself in his efforts to persuade Jesus to help him?
And Jesus didn’t even do what he asked. He didn’t go with him – he just stayed where he was and said “your son will live”.
Would I have been disappointed and felt let down that he didn’t come?
Would I have argued with Jesus and said you’ve got to come? You’ve got to do this my way.
Would I have believed that Jesus could heal from a distance – unlikely as my logic tells me that is?
Would I have been disappointed in how low key this was and lost my trust in Jesus because he didn’t make a big enough deal of this?
Or would I have been like this man and taken Jesus at his word and departed? In that moment believing that he could and would do what he said and his son would live.
But I wonder if that lasted as he journeyed home. Did doubts creep in? How could he be such an idiot as to take Jesus at his word? What a fool he’d been to leave home at such a time and miss the last few hours with his son.
That was until he met his servants who told him his son was healed at just the time when Jesus said he would live. Then the journey was worth it. Then he understood why he’d had such a compelling need to do this. Then he believed.