April 19, 2015
Today's Lesson :
If I Had Been...the Royal Official
There is a good possibility that the royal official, whose son was sick in the closing verses of John 4, was a Gentile. If that is true, John takes his readers from Nicodemus—a Jew, to the woman at the well who was a Samaritan, to the royal official—a Gentile, showing us the gospel truly is for everyone, and Jesus shows that to us. The earliest and largest conflict in the church was Jewish Christians learning to accept the fact that others—like Gentiles—could have a covenant relationship with God.
What an amazing contrast we see in John, as Jesus went from discussing faith with an orthodox Jew, to discussing doctrine with an ostracized woman of questionable character, and immediately following that, he’s performing a miracle to heal the son of a man, who was probably hated by every Jew. Jesus didn’t perform the miracle “free of charge” either. The official had to show his faith before anything could happen—and he did.
I don’t think Jesus saw him as a politician, a government worker, or even a Gentile. I think Jesus saw a man who was desperate and hurting. I think more than anything else, Jesus saw a dad, who needed help. The problem Jesus had was that everyone wanted to see him perform. The crowds were following him every step he took, because they didn’t want to miss the next “WOW” moment, and the last thing Jesus wanted to do was perform a miracle to impress everyone. He was ready to see some faith! When that royal official pestered him enough, and finally got the attention he wanted, Jesus made him choose between faith or sight.
He chose faith—obviously, or the story probably wouldn’t have been recorded by John. But it leaves us with the question: if we had to choose between faith or sight, what would we choose? Only one of the two pleases God, and only one connects with grace and thus saves us. Only one is rewarded, and it isn’t sight.
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