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Posts Tagged ‘Cana’

It never ceases to amaze me how often words of Scripture can jump out at us and impact us all over again, even if we have read them many times before. They may challenge us deeply and perhaps even make us a little uncomfortable, but what a privilege to receive these reminders over and over and know they come from the hand of our loving, patient Lord!

One day recently, I finished reading Jesus’ encounter with the Samaritan woman at the well but decided to continue a little further in the same chapter. And there I found the wonderful story of the royal official in Cana in Galilee who asks Jesus to come and heal his son (John 4:43-54). At first, Jesus seems reluctant, but the official still insists he do just that.

Unless you people see signs and wonders,” Jesus told him, “you will never believe.”

The royal official said, “Sir, come down before my child dies.” John 4:49

Jesus then responds with a brief but huge statement of promise—and, lo and behold, the official takes him at his word and immediately leaves.

Go,” Jesus replied, “your son will live.”

The man took Jesus at his word and departed. John 4:50

Wow! Jesus’ few words hold such power and authority—but the official’s simple, unquestioning obedience made me sit up as well. Perhaps he was among those who had witnessed Jesus in action in Jerusalem at the Passover Feast when he cleared the traders and moneychangers out of the temple and also performed miracles (John 2; 4:45). Yet, whether this is true or not, to me, this official’s firm belief in Jesus’ promise that his son will be healed speaks volumes. Would I have been as ready to trust Jesus as he was? Would I have perhaps still begged him to come and actually lay hands on my son? Or would I have headed home heart-in-mouth, half-filled with hope and half with huge doubts?

He does not get far, however, before his servants meet him with the news that his son is now better. Then he also discovers that the boy became well at the exact time Jesus had said his son would live.

And this is the point in the story where I received my second simple yet huge challenge that morning. All John writes in the next sentence is the following:

So he and his whole household believed. John 4:53b

Just like that, this official and his family believe in Jesus. Would that have been my response? Or would I have perhaps been tempted to rationalise things and not be too hasty about it all?

Somehow, I think this whole event has jolted me into remembering how powerful and trustworthy Jesus truly is and how much more I need to take him at his word. If he says something will happen, it will happen. He does not lie or break his promise. If he tells us to do something, we had better do it—because Jesus, after all, is the Son of God. If Jesus says it, that settles it!

And when he answers our requests today for healing or provision or whatever else, as he always does, it surely is up to us to believe and give him our love and full allegiance, all over again, don’t you think?

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At times, I confess I can be a bit slow to spring into action—although that depends on the task at hand, of course! If it’s something boring like housework or arduous like weeding, I can be very slow. I can think of all manner of things I simply have to do instead. Even if it’s writing, which I love, I can procrastinate, especially when starting a new and somewhat overwhelming project. So perhaps it was for this reason that two different events from John’s Gospel caught my attention recently.

The first one had to do with the official from Capernaum who travels to Cana to beg Jesus to come and heal his son who is close to death (4:46-54). When this man makes his request, Jesus seems to rebuke him or at least try to make a point with him (v 48):

Unless you people see miraculous signs and wonders,” Jesus told him, “you will never believe.”

Now, just like this man, I think I would have been looking for a different response. I would not have wanted Jesus to stand there making a point but instead decide to head down to Capernaum pronto! The official continues to stick to his guns—until Jesus calmly tells him, ‘You may go. Your son will live.

At that point, if I had been this boy’s father, I suspect I would have argued with Jesus. I would have wanted what I wanted. But what does this man do? He simply takes Jesus at his word and departs! He does what Jesus says—even in this life and death situation and even before he fully understands who Jesus is.

It’s a different story, however, after the man’s servants meet him on his way home and tell him his son is now well. Then he discovers the fever left at the exact time when Jesus had told him his son would live—and he and his entire household believe (v 53).

The second event that challenged my own faith was the healing of the disabled man at the pool of Bethesda who had been an invalid for thirty-eight years (5:1-15). Jesus asks him a rather strange question first off—“Do you want to get well?” The invalid seems to be a little indirect in his answer which to me has some slight overtones of the sort of comment I probably would have made: ‘Of course I want to get well! Why do you think I’ve persevered lying here all these years near this healing pool?’ But Jesus simply responds: “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.”

And that’s what happens. The man is cured then and there, picks up his mat and walks! He does exactly what Jesus tells him to do—and all this when he has no idea who Jesus is (v 13)! Later, Jesus finds him at the temple and challenges him further, yet even then we are not told if the healed man believes in him.

So where does that leave those of us, like me, who have believed in Jesus for many years and who have experienced his love, his kindness, his encouragement, even his healing firsthand? I, for one, know it makes me much more determined to listen well to Jesus and to spring into action, next time he tells me to act or speak in a certain way.

How about you?

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