Scripture: John 4:43-54
Key verses: (46-50) 46Then he came again to Cana in Galilee where he had changed the water into wine. Now there was a royal official whose son lay ill in Capernaum. 47When he heard that Jesus had come from Judea to Galilee, he went and begged him to come down and heal his son, for he was at the point of death. 48Then Jesus said to him, “Unless you see signs and wonders you will not believe.” 49The official said to him, “Sir, come down before my little boy dies.” 50Jesus said to him, “Go; your son will live.” The man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him and started on his way.
Reflection: The father in this story is not alone. We all want to see signs and wonders. When a loved one is sick, or when our lives seem to be falling apart, we want the big miracles, and we are prepared to do almost anything for them. The royal official comes a long way to beg Jesus to heal his son, and we get it. We understand the desperate impulse that led him to walk an 8-hour journey, according to Google maps. Jesus understands this, too.
I am struck by the words of Jesus, and what happens next. Jesus says, “Unless you see signs and wonders you will not believe,” which sounds like Jesus believes the man’s faith is dependent on a flashy miracle. But notice that the man believes the words of Jesus, when he says “Go; your son will live.” He believes him even before the healing happens, and starts back home in faith. On the road he is met by his slaves who bring news of the boy’s healing. Indeed, the story tells us that the boy was healed at the moment that Jesus was speaking to the father. The father believes Jesus, just his words, even before the miracle happens.
What if the signs and wonders are not the miraculous acts that we want Jesus to enact, and are instead, just Jesus himself? What if Jesus is the sign? Jesus is the one who shows us God’s love and grace, in every encounter, with or without miracles, from the beginning until the very end. When we encounter the Word, in Jesus, we are seeing the sign and the wonder. That’s what leads to faith. Jesus himself. Let’s keep our eyes open for him.
Prayer: Lord, you are the sign of love and grace. Keep my eyes open to your presence and action in the world. Teach me to see you, and strengthen my faith. In your name I pray. Amen.
Author: Julie Hester
[Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved].