After the incident in the Samaritan village, John records that Jesus went back to the area that he grew up in, namely
Galilee. On the surface it looked pretty encouraging, since they “welcomed” him there, but the One who knows the hearts of men wasn’t impressed. They only welcomed him because they saw him as some kind of miracle-worker, not as their Savior and Lord.
While he was there, a royal official came to him in desperation. We don’t know anything else about him, but the term “royal official” probably referred to some form of government position in Herod’s service. He was an important man, and undoubtedly was the type of man who could make or break someone’s career in politics or elsewhere on “the food chain.” But in this area all his authority and influence were useless as his son lay dying. He had to stand by and watch his son slip away from him, and as a last resort he ran to the Rabbi who was said to perform miracles.
Jesus’ immediate reply might seem a little cold to us, but beneath it lies a heart of compassion. He knew that our main problem is not physical, so it couldn’t be solved by a physical healing. He could have wiped out sickness from the entire nation, and all that would accomplish would've been a nation of healthy sinners still destined for hell. Our main problem is that we’re sinners in rebellion against a holy God.
But the man’s pleas moved Jesus to act, and he announced that the man's son would be healed. What follows is not one, but two miracles. Jesus, as God’s Son, had (and has) the authority to heal with a word. But even more amazingly, “the man took Jesus at his word and departed.” He didn’t know this man Jesus, but something about the Rabbi’s manner and demeanor led him to just go home in faith.
This led to the second miracle, an even greater one than the physical healing. Once he found out when the son was made well, he and all his household put their faith in Jesus. That by far is the greater miracle. For Jesus to physically heal someone, well, that’s nice and all. But it’s nothing compared to the change that comes when he takes a dead soul, a heart lost in sin and rebellion, and calls it back to life.
Of course the obvious application is that we need to follow this man’s example. I wish I could say that I always take Jesus at his word, but I don’t. Do you?
Lord Jesus, I don’t know why I don’t unless it’s a matter of not wanting to. You’re entirely worthy of my trust. I do believe, please help my unbelief.
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