Today's Gospel: John 4:43-54
“The man believed what Jesus said to him and left.”
There are a number of times in the New Testament that Jesus is asked to or takes pity on someone and brings their beloved back from the dead or from near death sickness. At times, like with Lazarus, he does so to demonstrate his Lordship of living and dominion over death. At other times, perhaps like this story, it is to contrast the outward signs and demonstrations of power with the inner, less obvious role that belief plays.
Jesus, who had already made his first public appearance with the Miracle at the Wedding Feast of Cana by turning water in to wine, meets a royal official who asks that Jesus come to heal his son. At first Jesus replies in a somewhat off-hand fashion that “Unless you people see signs and wonders, you will not believe.” Nevertheless, he tells the official that he may go and “Your son will live.”
The passage goes on to say, “(t)he man believed what Jesus said to him and left.” When he later finds out that what Jesus had said came to pass, the rest of the narrative only reinforces what the official already believes and as a consequences, his whole household came to believe.
The relationship between signs and wonders and belief is not always the formula that when one’s petition is fulfilled, the miraculous signs and wonder lead to belief but rather the reverse: that believing from the first encounter with Jesus, who is God’s wondrous sign, changes our relationship with God and how God enters our lives.
Lord Jesus, help us to encounter you as God’s great and wondrous Sign,
So that our belief is not the contractual outcome of our petitions answered,
But instead is our heartfelt response to our encounter with You
And the outpouring of your Spirit from God the Father,
Who lives and reigns forever. Amen!
Copyright 2014 Jay Cuasay
About the Author
Jay Cuasay is a freelance writer on religion, interfaith relations, and culture. A post-Vatican II Catholic father with a Jewish spouse, he is deeply influenced by Christian mysticism and Zen Buddhism. He was a regular columnist on Catholicism for examiner.com and a moderator and contributor to several groups on LinkedIn. His LTEs on film and Jewish Catholic relations have been published in America and Commonweal. Jay ministered to English and Spanish families at a Franciscan parish for 13 years. He can be reached at TribePlatypus.com.