Saturday 20th February 2021
Today’s evening reflection is contributed by Rev Chris and based on John 4; Hillsong provide the music and we conclude with the prayer of the week.
Bible Reading John 4: 43-end
Jesus Returns to Galilee
43 When the two days were over, he went from that place to Galilee 44 (for Jesus himself had testified that a prophet has no honor in the prophet’s own country). 45 When he came to Galilee, the Galileans welcomed him, since they had seen all that he had done in Jerusalem at the festival; for they too had gone to the festival.
Jesus Heals an Official’s Son
46 Then he came again to Cana in Galilee where he had changed the water into wine. Now there was a royal official whose son lay ill in Capernaum. 47 When he heard that Jesus had come from Judea to Galilee, he went and begged him to come down and heal his son, for he was at the point of death. 48 Then Jesus said to him, “Unless you[g] see signs and wonders you will not believe.” 49 The official said to him, “Sir, come down before my little boy dies.” 50 Jesus said to him, “Go; your son will live.” The man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him and started on his way. 51 As he was going down, his slaves met him and told him that his child was alive. 52 So he asked them the hour when he began to recover, and they said to him, “Yesterday at one in the afternoon the fever left him.” 53 The father realized that this was the hour when Jesus had said to him, “Your son will live.” So he himself believed, along with his whole household. 54 Now this was the second sign that Jesus did after coming from Judea to Galilee.
I mentioned on Monday how St John had given over a sizeable chunk of Chapter three to Jesus’ encounter with Nicodemus and wondered if there was any other individual mentioned in the gospels who received so much attention from Jesus and in a passing thought I mentioned the woman at the well as someone else who had received much attention. Well, this morning’s passage takes up after that encounter at the well. Verses 6 – 42 are given over to that story. Now Jesus is moving on and rather surprisingly is heading for Galilee, a place where Jesus thinks he is not going to be well received, since he acknowledges, presumably from previous experience, that a prophet is not without honour except in his own country (vs. 44). But John records that the Galileans did welcome him because they ‘had seen all that he had done in Jerusalem at the festival, for they too had gone to the festival.’ It’s worth stopping here to compare this account with the other gospel writers – Matthew 13 vs 57, Mark 6 vs 4, Luke 4 vs 24, all of whom put a rather negative slant on this issue of Jesus in his own ‘town’. John’s reference is brief but seems to be more positive. John’s reference is almost a passing comment for we then read that Jesus moves on to Cana where he had performed his first miracle at the wedding feast. We are told that there was a royal official whose son was ill at Capernaum and when the official hears that Jesus is in the area, he went to him and begged him to come and heal his son. Jesus in his response refers to something he had said previously about people wanting to see signs before they will believe. The official is persistent and implores Jesus who tells him to go, “Your son will live.” So, in faith, he goes and is met by his slaves who tell him that his son is alive! The royal official asks the slave when all this took place, and they tell him the previous afternoon – Cana to Capernaum was obviously a good walking distance! Having calculated the time, the official realises that what Jesus said would happen, did. And, we are told, ‘he believed and all his household.’
This was a man who clearly had faith and trusted the word of Jesus. This incident reminds me of what Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount as recorded in Matthew, “Ask and it will be given to you.” Do we have the faith to ask? And if there is no instant response do we persist?
Pleading before God sometimes feels old fashioned, we don’t want to be a pest, but Jesus was adamant that we should persist – read Luke 11 vs 5 onwards! The readings in this period as we enter Lent are very much about the sayings and doings of Jesus. We are inspired by them and we should take Jesus at this word. Perhaps, instead of giving anything up for Lent we might be challenged to read the four Gospels and learn again the amazing works and words of Jesus. Sometimes we become so familiar with scripture that it loses its impact. Now is the time to study and dig deeper for a better understanding of Jesus and his words and ministry.
Prayer of the week
whose Son was revealed in majesty
before he suffered death upon the cross:
give us grace to perceive his glory,
that we may be strengthened to suffer with him
and be changed into his likeness, from glory to glory;
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.