Short Meditations in John 4: 50. Getting the Facts
Jn 4:52 When he inquired as to the time when his son got better, they said to him, “The fever left him yesterday at the seventh hour.”
If I have been annoyed over the early years of the twenty first century it was because the so-called crusading atheists were given a voice in the media and spoke derogatorily about the Bible and God – but obviously with little knowledge of the Bible.
We’ll leave the conclusion of this episode until the next verse and next meditation but in order to assess the reality of what had happened (and for us it is too easy to see it in hindsight) it would be quite natural for the royal official to wonder, had he already started to get better so Jesus words just happened to coincide with that, or have we just seen a miracle of healing performed by Jesus? As I say, in his shoes that would a quite natural thing to wonder about. What is needed are the facts of what happened and that is what we find here in this verse. They are able to be quite specific about what has happened and the time it occurred.
We have commented recently here that we are called to walk by faith and not by sight, but Christianity is a faith that is built on facts. Yes, at the end of the day you have to make your own decision about those facts and about how you will let them impact you – but the facts are there. The truths of Christianity are attested to by more documentation – good documentation – than any other world religion. The facts of the existence of Jesus Christ are no longer disputed by historians. The details of his activities are well documented in the four Gospels and then attested to by the rest of the New Testament. Contrary to public belief the New Testament is not full of inconsistencies, discrepancies and contradictions. Indeed it is incredibly consistent. The only question you are left with is, did these men make this up? And then at that point any serious reader and thinker would laugh! That so many writers would bother to write a fairly tale with such agreement and consistency is unthinkable.
But then you look at the Old Testament and again, contrary to the mutterings of the crusading atheists and contrary to public opinion, that too is not full of inconsistencies, discrepancies and contradictions. Where there is a question mark over a piece of text you will find a note at the bottom of the page – and they are minimal. Moreover when you consider the content in detail (which its detractors never seem to do) you do not find a harsh, judgmental and unforgiving God. Quite to the contrary, again and again and again, the God we see there in those pages is patient, merciful and full of grace, seeking the welfare of mankind as a whole. Read it carefully! We need the facts!