45 So when He came to Galilee, the Galileans received Him, having seen all the things that He did in Jerusalem at the feast; for they themselves also went to the feast. 46 Therefore He came again to Cana of Galilee where He had made the water wine. And there was a royal official whose son was sick at Capernaum. 47 When he heard that Jesus had come out of Judea into Galilee, he went to Him and was imploring Him to come down and heal his son; for he was at the point of death. 48 So Jesus said to him, “Unless you people see signs and wonders, you simply will not believe.” 49 The royal official *said to Him, “Sir, come down before my child dies.” 50 Jesus *said to him, “Go; your son lives.” The man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him and started off. 51 As he was now going down, his slaves met him, saying that his son was living. 52 So he inquired of them the hour when he began to get better. Then they said to him, “Yesterday at the seventh hour the fever left him.” 53 So the father knew that it was at that hour in which Jesus said to him, “Your son lives”; and he himself believed and his whole household. 54 This is again a second sign that Jesus performed when He had come out of Judea into Galilee.
I see here an example of Jesus challenging conventional wisdom. We generally judge people by how they act. Maybe we judge them by what others tell us, but generally it is what we see them do (how they talk, etc.) that gives us an indication of what kind of person they are. Jesus challenges this official’s belief that Jesus can heal the boy, at the same time exposing that the man already did believe, or else he wouldn’t have asked in the first place.
I look at this story and think of the adage, “seeing is believing.” No, it’s not. I think we hesitate to believe in something we cannot see because we make ourselves vulnerable. We are putting ourselves out there and have a possibility of failure. Just like any relationship, if we trust too much, we could be hurt pretty bad. We could be disappointed, abandoned, or even worse.
The introduction into this story is that Jesus is in a place where they already have witnessed His power. History shows that He has the will and ability to do wonderful things. This is why the official came to Him for help. However, we must remember that belief does not come merely by seeing. How many times have we seen something unbelievable? How many times has something happened and an eye-witness mutters, “I don’t believe it?”
Did anybody notice that it says in here that the man believed twice? Once in verse 50 right after Jesus told him that his son lives and again in verse 53 after it is confirmed that Jesus healed the boy. Our faith is never 100%. It can’t be, because we are weak-minded. I think it is very difficult for the great majority of us to ever trust anyone, even God, 100%. This is why He constantly proves Himself to us and we believe just a little more.
It is only natural that we continually question God. Just as in any relationship, we need constant reassurance that He still loves us and He is still there for us. If spouses stopped communicating their love to one another, even if that love is still there and stronger than ever, it would be quite difficult to believe it is there, wouldn’t it?
God gives us the capacity to believe, yet we still have the choice to believe. We always have the opportunity to take that “leap of faith” and put our lives in His hands. It is at this juncture that He shows up. Hence the repeated message, “your faith has made you well.” If we trust God with our lives, He will show up. I wonder what would have happened if the man questioned Jesus and said, “surely you can’t heal from afar, please come to my house and lay hands on the boy.” What then? Would the boy have been healed? The answer goes back to what I said in the beginning: if the man didn’t think Jesus could do it in the first place, he wouldn’t have asked.
We have an entire book full of stories of God’s love and faithfulness, yet we still doubt Him. Countless people have stories of how time and again God has proven Himself to be loving and in control, yet we still doubt Him. This is why reading His Word increases our faith, because we are reminded of His promises and therefore are reassured that yes, He does love us, yes He does care for us, yes He will deliver us because He wants us to not just live happy lives, but lives full of purpose which reflect His glory.
Think about it, if He wants to be glorified through His people, why wouldn’t He make sure we were taken care of? That’s like an army general wanting to take pride in his army but neglects to feed them. How could they be victorious if they are hungry and weak? Likewise, our God will provide, yet we still question if He will.
What do you doubt about God and why?