Hunkered Down Devotion

John 4:46-54 (Voice)
46-47 As Jesus traveled to Cana (the village in Galilee where He transformed the water into fine wine), He was met by a government official. This man had heard a rumor that Jesus had left Judea and was heading to Galilee, and he came in desperation begging for Jesus’ help because his young son was near death. He was fearful that unless Jesus would go with him to Capernaum, his son would have no hope.
Jesus (to the official): 48 My word is not enough; you only believe when you see miraculous signs.
Official: 49 Sir, this is my son; please come with me before he dies.
Jesus (interrupting him): 50 Go home. Your son will live.
When he heard the voice of Jesus, faith took hold of him and he turned to go home. 51 Before he reached his village, his servants met him on the road celebrating his son’s miraculous recovery.
Official: 52 What time did this happen?
Servants: Yesterday about one o’clock in the afternoon.
53 At that moment, it dawned on the father the exact time that Jesus spoke the words, “He will live.” After that, he believed; and when he told his family about his amazing encounter with this Jesus, they believed too. 54 This was the second sign Jesus performed when He came back to Galilee from Judea.

 
This is one of the more unique miracle stories in the gospels, in that it is a long-distance miracle and Jesus usually performs these wondrous acts up close and personal.  This different kind of miracle gives us a different perspective into what these miracles mean and what they can teach us.

The official comes to Jesus desperate, looking for a literal miracle for his son, who must have been too sick and weak to travel or he likely would have been brought to Jesus in person.  And so, this desperate father makes a desperate plea to Jesus, in the fleeting hope that his son might be saved.

The long-distance nature of the miracle was not the only unique aspect of the story.  One aspect that is often in these miracle stories – and, honestly, one of my favorite parts – is that Jesus usually seems less interested in the act of the miracle than in building some kind of relationship with the person or people that are experiencing the miracle.

Here, rather than extend the conversation past the moment of miracle, he does just the opposite.  As the official starts to plead his case, Jesus doesn’t even let him finish.  Jesus interrupts him and says, ‘Go home, your son will live’.

For a long time, I didn’t understand why Jesus did this.  There are a variety of potential explanations, but I really didn’t love any of them.  Maybe Jesus was annoyed, maybe he was tired, maybe this particular miracle didn’t even require (or deserve) his full attention, who knows?

I didn’t like any of those explanations because they don’t fit with what I know and believe about Jesus, who he is, and what matters to him.  Jesus, no matter how busy he was, always made time for people, and for relationships, not just throwing out miracles and moving on.

So, what is going on here, and why does Jesus act the way he does?  I have come to believe that it is really all about Jesus knowing what we need and desiring to give it to us.  This official is desperate, the situation is so dire that his son can’t be brought to Jesus, instead he hopes to convince Jesus to come to him in a sort of last-chance, hail Mary attempt to save his child.

And so, Jesus doesn’t waste any time, Jesus knows the situation, knows the deep and desperate need, as well as the urgency around it, so he breaks into the conversation and gives the man exactly what he needed.

Somehow, the man knew that he had received what he needed as well, because – with a heart now full of belief – he turned to go home.  As you hear Jesus’ voice through scripture this day, know that he knows what you need as well.  Jesus knows what you need and is able to deliver it to you, even when he seems far away.

Sharing God’s Love,
Chip  

Prayer:  Holy God, we are so thankful that your greatness and your goodness are not limited by distance, time, or anything else.  Help our hearts melt into belief at the sound of your voice. Amen.
 

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