Faith, Lessons from Jesus

Eventual Faith

STORIES OF FAITH – The Official’s son

John 4:48 – Jesus said to him, “Unless you see signs and wonders, you will not believe.”

Faith comes in various ways and each of us will have a different experience of how we came to put our trust in God and in His Son, Jesus Christ. So far this week, we have seen four very different individuals in four very different situations and in today’s story we encounter another distinctive interaction.

Jesus had been to the Passover feast in Jerusalem where ‘many believed in his name when they saw the signs that he was doing’. After spending some time in the Judean countryside with his disciples, he came up through Samaria where he met a woman at Jacob’s well. From her testimony, many believed and he was asked to stay in the town. The people listened intently to all he had to say and then told the woman, “It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is indeed the Saviour of the world.” Jesus spoke and they believed.

A Royal Official, who lived in Capernaum, heard that Jesus was returning to Galilee so he made the journey to Cana to meet him there. The ESV says that he ‘asked’ Jesus to come and heal his son but the KJV tells us he ‘besought’ Jesus to come. There was indeed an urgency to his request; he was imploring Jesus to come back with him to Capernaum because his son was dying and was very close to death. Jesus answers him by saying, Unless you see signs and wonders, you will not believe.” This was a general statement to all and not directed at the official personally, although it did include him. The truth was, that a miracle was indeed what he needed, so he asked again, “Sir, come down before my child dies.”

Jesus had experienced no honour in his hometown and it appeared that the House of Israel only wanted him to perform, yet the gentiles simply accepted his word. He was here, however, to do the will of the Father and he had a father in front of him who loved his own son dearly and did not want him to die. Jesus honoured his request and told him, “Go; your son will live.” Before he reached home, he met some of his servants on the road who told him his son was recovering.

So he asked them the hour when he began to get better, and they said to him, “Yesterday at the seventh hour the fever left him.” 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.

He went looking for a miracle worker and ended up finding the Messiah. He may not have recognised him immediately but when the realisation dawned, faith took hold and changed, not only his life, but that of his entire household.

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