At first glance, today’s verses clearly depict a story of a physical healing. If we look more closely, though, we may see an even greater miracle. Soon after Jesus rebuffs the royal official, saying, “Unless you see signs and wonders you will not believe” (v. 48), the official does just the opposite. Once Jesus finally responds with compassion and speaks words of healing, this is enough for the desperate father. He does not need Jesus to touch the child or even walk to where the child is. He simply takes Jesus at his word and confidently begins his journey home. He fully believes without seeing. This absolute trust and unshakeable faith are the greater miracle that day.
I sometimes wonder what it would mean to take Jesus at his word and believe more fully in all seasons of our lives, even when the signs and wonders we desire have not surfaced. Even as I am reflecting on this healing narrative, I’m thinking about a precious family member who is dying of cancer. Some of us come to the passage today like the relieved father in John’s account, filled with hope, joy, and gratitude. Some of us are experiencing deep sadness and grief, and so struggle to believe Jesus’ word. Whatever our situation, John’s Gospel reminds us that there are greater miracles than physical healing. Believing in Christ is one of those miracles. Believing that Jesus’ innate response to our pain is always compassion is another. As is believing that Christ is working for good in all things, or that hope is possible because healing and wholeness will always come in God’s time. May this kind of belief, this absolute trust, sustain us on the long journey home.
In what places of my life do I need to trust that God will ultimately bring healing?
Holy God, thank you for your gifts of healing that come to us in many ways. May we trust, even in moments of weakness, that your work of healing will ultimately be done. Amen.