Trinity Twenty-First Sunday Morning Prayer (24 October 2021) John 4:46-54
We have read and heard sermons about the miracles Jesus performed when He ministered in this world. He healed the sick, fed the hungry and raised people from the dead. The miracle in today’s reading passage is the second miracle Jesus performed in Cana of Galilee. Jesus turned water into wine, which is His first miracle in the same place. The people in Cana would have heard about His first miracle and would have been eager to see Him.
In our reading passage, we read about a nobleman who came to Jesus so his son would be healed. When the nobleman met Jesus, he explained the situation and invited Jesus to come to his house. But Jesus’s answer was different. We can read it in verse 48: “Then said Jesus unto him, Except ye see signs and wonders, ye will not believe”. The nobelman pleaded and said, “Sir, come down ere my child die”. Jesus replied, “Go thy way; thy son liveth.” The nobleman believed Jesus and started his return journey. On his way back, his servants met him and he knew his son had begun to recover. The nobleman came to know his son was healed at the same time when Jesus said his son would be healed. The nobleman believed Jesus and his son’s life was saved.
I would like to compare this miracle with two other miracles where people came to Jesus for healing someone else. In Matthew 8:5–13 we read about a centurion who came to Jesus with a petition when Jesus came to Capernaum. He asked Jesus to heal his servant who was sick of palsy. Jesus said He would go to and heal the servant. But the centurion said he was not worthy of Jesus coming to his home. He believed his servant would be healed if Jesus spoke a word. Jesus marvelled at his faith and said He had not seen that kind of faith in Israel. Jesus said to “the centurion, Go thy way; and as thou hast believed, so be it done unto thee. And his servant was healed in the selfsame hour.”
In Matthew 15:21–28, we read about a woman from Canaan. She came to Jesus to receive healing for her daughter who was grievously vexed with a devil. Although she cried loud unto Him, Jesus did not reply to her. His disciples asked Jesus to help her because she was crying out loud after them. Jesus replied, “I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel”. The woman worshipped Him and said, “Lord, help me”. Jesus replied, “It is not meet to take the children's bread, and to cast it to dogs”. She said, “yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters' table”. Her response led Jesus to say, “O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour”.
In our reading today, KJV translation simply says that he was a nobleman. Theologians believe he was from King Herod’s family, who tried to kill Jesus when He was a new-born baby. The nobleman’s son was at the point of death. Jesus’s miracle at the wedding in Cana would have given him hope. So he travelled from Capernaum to Cana to meet Jesus. The air distance shows around 25 miles on the map. With our modern transportation facilities, travelling 25 miles is not tough. But in those days, nearly 2000 years ago, it would have been a longer journey that took a couple of days. Being a prominent man in the society, he would have expected Jesus would be willing to visit his house. Jesus’s response did not discourage the nobleman. He was focused on his petition. The nobleman believed Jesus and believed the word spoken by Jesus. His house believed Jesus after witnessing the miracle. The centurion was not from the tribe of Israel, but he believed Jesus and his words. He was a living example for the verse in Deuteronomy 8:3. “Man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the Lord doth man live”. Jesus’s responses would have been insulting for the woman from Canaan. But she did not give up even when she felt humiliated. But she persisted and endure unto the end until she received a healing word from Jesus. Her focus was on Jesus and she stood firm on her focus. She was a living example for the verse in Isaiah 28:16 that “he that believeth shall not make haste”.
In these three miracles, the word of God, that is Jesus’s words, healed everyone. The first few verses of John’s gospel chapter 1 say, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not”. Jesus came as the Word and gave life to them.
Let us self-examine ourselves. Today, we too pray for healing and many other things. Sometimes, our prayers are not answered. Or, we are awaiting answers for a long time. When we wait, our faith is tested. Israelites and the spiritual leaders asked for a sign to believe Jesus. Many people believed Jesus because they witnessed the miracles of Jesus. Hebrews 11:1 says “faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen”. In John 20:29, Jesus said, “Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed”. Do we have this faith that God expects from us? Habakkuk 2:4 says, “the just shall live by his faith”. Daniel and his friends stood firm in their faith on the Word who is the LORD God. They said, “our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up”. Many people have lost their faith because of the circumstances. How is our faith in trying and challenging situations? Habakkuk 3:17 and 18 say “the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls: Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation.” Whatever be our situation, we have The Word that came from heaven to save us all from eternal death. We have The Word who hung on the cross and shed His blood to redeem us from our sins. We have The Word who made a new covenant with us through His precious blood so we can inherit eternal life. May our LORD God help us to grow in our faith in Him and prepare us with His Word to inherit eternal life in the kingdom of God. Amen!