I’ve never had the terrifying experience of a child with a life-threatening illness or injury.
I can hardly imagine what I might do to find an answer—a cure or a procedure or a treatment.
I can imagine that I would have some hard, not-at-all-pretty prayer conversations with God. I expect most of them would not be deemed “Sunday-School Appropriate” by most standards.
I think that is the earnest longing captured some years back by Mark Schultz in his hauntingly beautiful song, “He’s My Son.” Take a minute to listen to the yearning within it.
You hear that longing, don’t you? You can hear that desperation and agonizing desire for the healing of the son. It’s the kind of desperation that would press a well-revered man, a leader in the community, to take off on foot to the village 15 miles or so down the road because he heard that Jesus, the man that healed so many people in Bethsaida and turned water to wine in Cana, had come back to the area.
[Read John 4.43-54]
After a couple of days spent in the Samaritan village of Sychar, Jesus finally made it back over into Galilee, where he had grown up. It was a strange thing for him to return here. As he had observed, according to verse 44, a prophet is seldom well-received by the people who saw him grow up.
Still, even here in where he was raised, the people had heard of the miraculous things he had been doing. Many of the people here had made the trip to Jerusalem themselves for the feast.(45) And so he returned to the place at which his first recorded miracle had taken place, the town of Cana.
The text tells of an official from Capernaum “whose son was ill.”(46) He had made the journey, about 15 miles or so, to where Jesus was.
When this man heard that Jesus had come from Judea to Galilee, he went to him and asked him to come down and heal his son, for he was at the point of death.”(47)
Jesus makes what seems kind of an odd statement.
So Jesus said to him, “Unless you see signs and wonders you will not believe.”John 4.48
The man clearly did not come here to discuss theology and doesn’t seem particularly interested in hearing a sermon or being taught a lesson. His son is near death. His only hope is that the one who has done so many unexplainable things might choose to come and heal his son.
This is precisely why I think it’s so important that we be about the work of helping meet the immediate needs of people—because it’s often very difficult to hear the truth of the gospel over the groans of the dying loved one or the screams of the sick baby or the howling winds from which they have no shelter or even the growling of their own empty belly.
The man simply begged Jesus to come and heal his son.
The official said to him, “Sir, come down before my child dies.”John 4.49
Jesus, evidently moved by the man’s worry for his child, does something even better.
Jesus said to him, “Go; your son will live.”John 4.50
He granted immediate healing for the man’s son without even having to go and see the child in person. He met the man’s need. And the man “believed the word that Jesus spoke to him and went on his way.”(50b)
The rest of the passage relays how the official’s servants met him as he made the trek back to Capernaum and brought him the news that the boy’s fever had broken and he was recovering—he would live!(51)
The man asked when things turned around and indeed it was at the very moment that Jesus had spoken the promise, “Your son will live.”(52-53a) But we must see the ripples of this healing action that Jesus took:
And he himself believed, and all his household.John 4.53
People saw what Jesus did with merely the word of his mouth. They believed that Jesus was the promised One.
I suspect you would too… if it was your son.
Jesus stepped into the mess of disease and disability and brought healing.
He doesn’t always answer this way. He doesn’t always heal. But the hope of the gospel is the very real, very sure promise that ultimate healing will be found by all who believe in Him.
See Him as your healing.
Believe Him—that He came to heal you completely.
Know Him as your medicine, your therapy, your transplant, your wholeness.