Thursday, July 17, 2008

BEYOND HUMAN HOPE

There comes a time when certain life situations are beyond human hope. There is no counsel, no doctor, no medicine or anything else that can help. The situation has become impossible. It requires a miracle, or else it will end in devastation.

At such times, the only hope left is for someone to get to Jesus. It doesn’t matter who it is, father, mother, or child. That person has to take the responsibility to get hold of Jesus. And they have to determine, “I’m not leaving until I hear from the Lord. He has to tell me, ‘It’s done. Now go your way.’”

In the Gospel of John, we find just such a family in crisis: “There was a certain nobleman, whose son was sick at Capernaum” (John 4:46). This was a family of distinction, perhaps even royalty. A spirit of death hung over the home, as the parents nursed their dying son. There may have been other family members in the home, perhaps aunts and uncles, grandparents, or other children. We are told the whole household believed, including the servants. “[The father] believed, and his whole house” (4:53).

Someone in that troubled family knew who Jesus was, and had heard of his miraculous power. And somehow, word came to the household that Christ was in Cana, about twenty-five miles away. In desperation, the father took it on himself to get through to the Lord. Scripture tells us, “When he heard that Jesus was come out of Judea into Galilee, he went unto him” (4:47).

This nobleman had a strong determination and he got through to Jesus. The Bible says he “besought [Jesus] that he would come down, and heal his son: for he was at the point of death” (4:47). What a marvelous picture of intercession. This man set aside everything to seek the Lord to provide a word.

Christ answered him, “Except ye see signs and wonders, ye will not believe” (4:48). What did Jesus mean by this? He was telling the nobleman that a miraculous deliverance wasn’t his most pressing need. Instead, the number-one issue was the man’s faith. Think about it: Christ could have gone into that family’s house, laid hands on the dying son and healed him. Yet all that this family would have known of Jesus was that he worked miracles.

Christ desired more for this man and his family. He wanted them to believe he was God in flesh. So he said to the nobleman, in essence, “Do you believe it’s God you’re beseeching for this need? Do you believe I am the Christ, the savior of the world?” The nobleman replied, “Sir, come down ere my child die” (4:49). At that point, Jesus must have seen faith in this man. It was as if Jesus said, “He believes I’m God in flesh.” Because next we read, “Jesus saith unto him, Go thy way; thy son liveth” (4:50).