51. Belief

Short Meditations in John 4:  51. Belief

Jn 4:53  Then the father realized that this was the exact time at which Jesus had said to him, “Your son will live.” So he and all his household believed.

We have often noted in these meditations that there appear to be different levels of belief or faith. We recently compared the believing Centurion in Capernaum who just needed for Jesus to speak a word and it would be done, and compared him with this royal official who needed Jesus to come with him to heal his son.

Now the reality is that on most occasions Jesus did go to the sick person to bring about the healing, but there are other notable times when he just spoke and it was done. We mentioned previously the woman up in Tyre who went to seek out Jesus and he simply spoke a word and her daughter was delivered. Let’s not miss in passing this is a power and authority above anything else we might even encounter in life!

But on this occasion Jesus had challenged the man about belief and so when Jesus had said that the man’s son was now well, he had no option but to leave and start off home. But it is not until we get to this verse that we realise that in reality his belief level was at a fairly low level.

So on the road back to Capernaum he meets some of his servants coming the other way to tell him that his son has recovered. When they tell him the circumstances and the time he started getting better, the man suddenly realises that that was exactly the same time that Jesus had declared him well. Suddenly, as we say, the penny dropped! He realises that it wasn’t just a chance that his son had started to get well, but it was the specific word of Jesus that did it. That was incredible! Oh, my goodness! What does that say about Jesus? And suddenly we have a new believer,  both he and his household, because of course all the servants with him also heard and realised what had happened.

The challenge of this particular incident is that it takes us to a whole new level of belief about Jesus. So far in John we have seen him turn water into wine and we have read references to him performing signs and wonders (presumably healings) in Jerusalem and so we no doubt accept him as a healer but this incident shows us a young person being healed miles and miles away, simply because Jesus speaks the word now, in this place. This puts us in mind of the earliest words of the Bible when “God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light” (Gen 1:3). It simply needed God to speak a word and it was done. Now we find the same thing with Jesus; he simply needs to speak a word and it is done. This is God incarnate!

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