Does our Lord not seem to lack compassion toward this desperate man, whose only concern is the well-being of his son? Some might be tempted to ask, “How can Jesus be so rude, so insensitive, so critical?
NOP HE wasn’t!
- Jesus accomplishes this miracle in a way that enhances the official’s faith from “sign-faith” to “word-faith.” John introduces a theme in chapter 2 which persists in this Gospel!
So it is too with the healing of the royal official’s son. If Jesus had chosen to perform this miracle as the official had hoped (by personally coming and attending to his son), many would have followed along, and our Lord’s popularity would have greatly increased. But this is not what our Lord wants at this point in time. That is why He left Judea and returned to Galilee (4:1-3). Jesus performs this miracle in such a way that only the official knows it is a miracle.
- Jesus not only performs a miracle, He does so in a way that is consistent with His purpose.
- It is apparent that “sign-faith” is not pleasing to our Lord, for He chooses not to commit Himself to “sign-faith” believers. Sign-faith is not a bad starting point, but it should never end here. Jesus wants people whose faith is grounded in His word, not in miracles.
- “Sign-faith” is inferior to “word-faith.” Our Lord wants those to follow Him as His disciples who will take Him at His word.
We can learn another lesson from this royal official is wrong in (first) supposing that God can only accomplish what we ask for by doing it the way we prescribe. We all are like this when we pray. We tell God what we want, and then we proceed to tell Him how to do it. We think that the way we expect Him to act is the w…ay He is most likely and able to act. The royal official thinks Jesus can save his son only if He comes to Capernaum and personally attends to him. He is wrong. Our Lord does intend to heal this man’s son, but in His way.Let us not lose hope when God refuses to “jump through our hoops” and does not answer our prayers the way we expect.