By Faith in God’s Word

John 4:43-54
Isa 65:17-21 / Psa 30

Unless you people see signs and wonders, you will never believe.
(John 4:48)

Not by wonders are hearts transformed,
Though by miracles are we healed;
In Jesus’ Word our faith is formed,
And God’s mystery is revealed.

After the two days He left for Galilee. (Now Jesus himself had pointed out that a prophet has no honor in his own country.) When He arrived in Galilee, the Galileans welcomed Him. They had seen all that He had done in Jerusalem at the Passover Festival, for they also had been there. Once more He visited Cana in Galilee, where He had turned the water into wine. And there was a certain royal official whose son lay sick at Capernaum. When this man heard that Jesus had arrived in Galilee from Judea, he went to Him and begged Him to come and heal his son, who was close to death. “Unless you people see signs and wonders,” Jesus told him, “you will never believe.” The royal official said, “Sir, come down before my child dies.” Jesus replied, “Go, your son will live.” The man took Jesus at His word and departed. While he was still on the way, his servants met him with the news that his boy was living. When he inquired as to the time when his son got better, they said to him, “Yesterday, at one in the afternoon, the fever left him.” Then the father realized that this was the exact time at which Jesus had said to him, “Your son will live.” So he and his whole household believed. This was the second sign Jesus performed after coming from Judea to Galilee. (John 4:43-54)

Reflection

The story does not tell what the nobleman’s son was sick of, except that he was gravely ill and was at the point of death. We believe that nothing happens by chance, and it is likely that the son’s sickness happened for a higher purpose: the conversion of the nobleman and his whole household. The writer of this Gospel also wants to convey to his readers the awesome power of Jesus’ words, especially when the one who heard them believed.

Note that our Lord had to first put the royal official’s faith to the test when He said, “Unless you people see signs and wonders you will never believe.” To which the official replied, with little knowledge in the Lord’s real power (to raise the dead to life), “Sir, come down before my child dies.” Howewver, just like the Centurion and other Gentiles who were willing to take Him at His word, this royal official was again another example of what Jesus’ own people were not. Instead, the Jews kept asking for more proof through signs and miracles. Jesus had always known the condition of His own people’s hearts, even as far back as their ancestors who came from Egypt. In the Book of Numbers, God said to Moses, “How long will these people treat me with contempt? How long will they refuse to believe in me, in spite of all the miraculous signs I have performed among them?” (Num.14:11)

Faith that depends on miracles is shallow and superficial. It is what we might call an external kind of faith. The faith that God wants us to have is an internal one that is not influenced by what our senses perceive. True faith springs from the hunger of one’s heart to experience God’s love. It is the work of the Holy Spirit, stirring the longing of our soul, after it has been nourished by the Word of God. Yes, faith comes after hearing and reading the precious messages of the Father in Holy Scriptures and believing them. During this Lenten season, let us spend more time reading the Bible, that we may fully understand that God wants to heal our soul more than our physical ailments.

Thank You, Lord for making us see that it is not miracles that can change our hearts, but the truth of who Jesus is, and why He came, as we read in Your Word. Amen.

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