Have you ever found yourself in a desperate situation to help a loved one?
In John chapter four, we have the account of such a man. He was a dad who not only had a great love for his family, but he also was a man of power and influence. As an official in the Roman government stationed in the fishing town of Capernaum, he had servants and was in a position to command orders.
But this father found himself in a desperate situation where all his power, wealth and influence couldn’t save his dying son. He had solved many problems, but this was beyond him.
He could have asked a servant to go meet with Jesus the Messiah, but instead he went himself. Travelling twenty miles to Cana, the same town Jesus had turned the water into wine, he finds Jesus. It is one o’clock in the afternoon, and in the heat of the day he humbly asks the Master to come back to his house to heal his son.
Jesus replied with six simple, but beautiful words that would delight any parent, “Go your son will live!” In faith this nobleman goes, meeting his servants the next day on the way home who confirm that at the very moment he accepted Jesus’ word, his son was healed. Now not only did he believe, but his entire household believed!
What can we learn from this short conversation with Jesus?
1. Absolute abandonment and humility are the correct approach to God. Desperate faith moves God. According to Roman law, he would have had authority over Jesus, and he could have viewed Him as a mere peasant living in his jurisdiction. But he did not come giving orders, or trying to buy a miracle, rather he came to Jesus in humility. He received by grace, expecting nothing on his own merit. There are many people who do not come to Jesus because they have to humble themselves to come. To receive from Jesus you first must admit that you cannot do it by yourself.
2. Look past the signs to the truth. He would have heard of the miracles Jesus did and certainly the Samaritan woman at the well would have continued to tell others of her encounter with Jesus. But these miracles are just signs that point to the truth which is the source of the power. This nobleman was wise enough to understand that signs were more than some type of “magic show” to dismiss. He knew these signs pointed to Jesus as “the way, the truth and the life”.
3. Jesus cares about your spiritual and your physical health. When our children hurt, we hurt. Many mothers and fathers have wished they could take the place of a suffering child. If we are touched by the infirmities of our loved ones, how much more is Jesus. Earlier in the chapter Jesus showed great compassion when He healed the broken soul of the woman at the well, now with His spoken word He heals a ruler’s son.
4. Take Jesus at His word. The nobleman who was accustomed to giving instructions to others now takes Jesus at His word. No second guessing or pleading with Jesus to come, and no insistence on a sign that it would be as He said. He just took Jesus at His word and went. The minute this father did the “go” part, his son was healed. Faith always has corresponding action. This dad truly left walking by faith and not by sight! Likewise, we have to trust Jesus before we see anything — before there is any evidence.
5. You can’t dictate to Jesus how (or when) you want Him to answer your prayers. The fact that this Roman official didn’t argue with Jesus about how the prayer should be answered reveals his respect and awareness of the divinity of Christ. As we read in Romans 11:34, “Is there anyone who can explain God? Anyone smart enough to tell Him what to do?”
6. God is omnipresent. Jesus didn’t need to come home with him. You are never out of the reach of God’s love. There is no distance in the spirit realm. Long before our ability to transmit data from one place to another, God demonstrated that His power could transcend time and space to heal and deliver.
7. God is omniscient. As The Son of God, Jesus knew where this nobleman lived, without ever going to his house.
8. God is omnipotent. This father needed a miracle that was beyond his power, but not beyond our Savior’s power.
9. Your example of faith will change the lives of those around you. In his account John goes on to tell us that this man’s entire house came to faith in Christ. This story would have been told again and again by this father, by the son and by the entire family for years to come.