25: The Healing Of The Official's Son
Jesus traveled through the land with His disciples. Wherever He found hearts open to Him, He sowed the seed of His Word. The seed had already sprouted in the hearts of the Samaritans and borne fruit abundantly. How would it go when Jesus reached Galilee, the area where He had grown up?
Things looked so promising! The news of His coming had raced through the country ahead of Him, and the people came out joyfully to meet Him. Many of them had been present at the Passover feast in Jerusalem and had seen the miracles He had performed there. He had cleansed the temple all by Himself. He had healed the sick.
The people who had witnessed these things did not forget. What a great wonder- worker Jesus of Nazareth was! The stories were told and retold, and they spread from village to village.
People followed Jesus wherever He went. They stared at Him and waited. Surely He would perform miracles in their town too!
People came from all over. They came to see Jesus, but they did not come to listen to Him. They were much more interested in His miracles than in His words. They were not really interested in Jesus Himself.
When the Savior came to Cana where He had changed water into wine, people were waiting to see the miracles they had heard so much about. But Jesus did not perform miracles simply to entertain people.
A seven-hour journey from Cana, a father sat by his child's sickbed. This father and child lived in Capernaum, a city on the Sea of Galilee.
The boy was gasping for breath. His little chest was rising and falling rapidly, and his sunken cheeks were red with fever. The anguished father held the boy's glowing hand and saw death rapidly approaching. The boy did not seem to have more than a day to live. Death would claim him, and the father would no longer have a son.
The father was in despair. He had done what he could, sparing no expense. He was a rich and prominent man—an official who served at the court of King Herod Antipas. But what good did his money and connections do him now? Death does not care about such things but carries away rich and poor, old and young.
There was no more hope for the child; there was nothing more he could do—that was the worst part of all for this father. His heart was throbbing with pain.
The news that Jesus was now in Galilee had also reached Capernaum. The official heard it, too, at his son's bedside.
His dull eyes began to shine again, and he jumped up. Jesus of Nazareth was the only one who could help in this situation, for He possessed miraculous power. He was in Cana, people said. Cana was a long way from Capernaum, but that didn't matter to the father. He was willing to walk to the ends of the earth if it would save his child.
Once more he bent over his son. If only he could manage it in time! If he could find Jesus quickly and persuade Him to come along at once, there might be hope for the boy yet.
The official hurried out of his house and set out on the winding, rising path that ran into the hill country. He undertook a long, difficult journey. He left his home early in the morning, but the sun was already in the west when he got to Cana.
He found Jesus preaching, surrounded by people. Were those people any better than the unbelieving priests in Jerusalem, who also asked for a miracle before they would believe? The Samaritan woman had not seen a miracle, but she had believed. Her heart was open to the seed of Jesus' Word. But these people's hearts were hard. Their hearts were not fertile soil open to Jesus' Word; they were hard as bedrock, like the rock on which the people built their houses.
As Jesus was preaching, a man forced his way through the crowd. Sweaty, dusty, gasping for breath, he bowed before Jesus. "Sir," he begged, "my child is about to die...Come with me to my house and save my child."
Again Jesus was confronted by someone asking for a miracle! The people crowded closer.
They craned their necks to see better. Eagerly they waited. Now they would surely see a miracle! Even if they had to go all the way to Capernaum, they wanted to be there when that child was healed.
The Savior shook His head sadly. "Unless you people see miraculous signs and wonders, you will not believe," He said.
The official didn't understand what Jesus was getting at. All he could think about was his boy back in Capernaum. How was the boy doing? Was he still alive? He wrung his hands in great anguish and begged, "Sir, please come with me, for my son is dying."
The Savior looked at him carefully. He saw in the official's heart the same faith He had found in the Samaritan woman—the true faith that can live without wonders.
Jesus said to him, "Go home. Your son will live."
Those simple words were enough for the official. He believed. Tears of joy and gratitude filled his eyes. His child would live! His child was saved! He did not doubt Jesus' words for a moment. Rejoicing, he set out for home following the same winding path.
When he approached Capernaum the next day, he found his servants coming out to meet him. "Your son lives!" they cried.
The official asked when the boy began to get better. The servants said, "Yesterday, at about four o'clock, the fever left him."
That was the very same time when Jesus had said, "Your son will live." Even though Jesus was a long way away from the child, He had been able to heal him.
The official and his whole family then knew that Jesus was indeed the Messiah, the Savior who was to come into the world. They all believed in Him.
There had been a miracle, after all. It had taken place in such a way that the curious crowd trailing Jesus had not been able to observe it. Jesus did not want to be regarded as a wonder-worker.
He had not come into the world to entertain people. He had come to save sinners.
But the greatest wonder of all, the saving of sinners, could only take place if they were willing to listen to His Word in faith.