While the man was on his way, some of his servants met him with the news that his son was alive and well. He asked them when the boy had begun to get better, and they replied, “Yesterday afternoon at one o’clock his fever suddenly disappeared!” Then the father realized that that was the very time Jesus had told him, “Your son will live.” And he and his entire household believed in Jesus. This was the second miraculous sign Jesus did in Galilee after coming from Judea. (John 4:51-54)
Read: Judges 19:1 – 21:25
Relate: Did you ever build a conversation in your mind? Did you ever try to figure out exactly what you were going to say, how they would respond and what you would say from there? I don’t do this all very often. I am not normally a worrier, but the few times I do this is when I think I am in trouble. It used to be when I did something wrong and I thought my parents might have caught me. Perhaps my report card made it home before I could intercept the mail. Maybe my teacher sent a note home saying I haven’t done a stitch of homework for the past two weeks (or months… or years).
One of the times my fears were realized was after one of the only times I got in a fight in high school. That fight actually happened on the way to school. Of course I ended up having to sit with the vice principal for a while as soon as we arrived. The other guy got to sit in the nurses office. At school I got away with just a detention but I was far more afraid of what was going to happen when I got home and faced the wrath of the father. All day long I imagined what was going to happen. I imagined how I could possibly wriggle out of this one. I built this great monologue about being a defender of the weak. As incredible as I could imagine my arguments, I didn’t see any of them working. Sure enough, as soon as I got home dad was there. He asked one simple question, “Why did you do it?” I answered with the truth. “He slapped a girl in the face.” Dad asked, “Think he’ll ever be doing that again?” I answered, “No.” He shrugged and said, “Good.” That was it. With one word I was off the hook.
React: I can imagine the arguments this man from Capernaum had playing through his mind on the way to see Jesus. I imagine him building all these great arguments for how he would convince Jesus to come. I can imagine him trying to impress Jesus with how important he was. I can imagine him imagining Jesus agreeing to come and nothing happens. At this point in John’s gospel, there had been no healings. Jesus had changed water to wine. He had kicked over a few tables. At a Samaritan town everyone became believers and the prophet John was convinced Jesus was kind of a big deal but healings… not yet. He had no past experiences to assuage his doubt. Could Jesus do it? Would Jesus do it? There was no way to know for certain. But this was his boy. He was desperate enough to take a risk. There was nothing to lose.
I can picture the man beginning his argument. He decided his best approach was to grovel and began his begging. Then Jesus interrupts him, “Will you never believe without seeing miracles?” This wasn’t in the playbook the government official had built in his mind. Of all the scenarios he imagined, I doubt he expected Jesus to respond this way. As almost always happens for me, I picture him throwing all the arguments and defenses out the window and responding straight from the heart, “My boy is dying.” Then Jesus answers with a word of healing. No arguments, no pleading, no cajoling is needed. One word is enough. And with that word of healing, his son is healed and the entire family believed. What is the one word you need to hear from God?
Jesus, in my time of sickness, speak that word of healing. When I am full of doubt, speak faith. In my moments of confusion, speak clarity. When all I hear are lies, speak truth. In all my circumstances and in every situation, there is only one word I need to hear. That word is Jesus. Your Name is the answer to every question. It is the solution to every problem. Your name sets demons to running and brings peace to troubled waters. Your Name brings victory. Jesus, You are the only word I need to hear.