How deep is your faith in God?
“The nobleman said to Him, “Sir, come down before my child dies! Jesus said to him, “Go your way; your son lives.” So, the man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him and he went his way. And as he was now going down, his servants met him and told him, saying, “Your son lives!” (John 4:49-51)
The writer of the letter to the Hebrews says of faith: “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen”, (Heb. 11:1). As it is, one is assured that what is hoped for will eventually come one’s way. Therefore, this should be the right attitude and resolve of a believer in God. Thank God the noble man in the text is an archetypal of what we want to explore shortly.
In the gospel according to St. John Chapter two, we read of how Jesus performed His first miracle in Cana of Galilee. He turned water into wine. Till today, commentators are agreed that wine sold in Cana of Galilee still tastes real good, as found in Jesus’ day. Notice that it was in this Cana of Galilee that the noble man travelled 20 miles from Capernaum to meet with Jesus. Why? The Bible says that this noble man’s son was sick. But, when we read Matthew and Luke’s rendering, both say the boy in question was his servant (Matt. 8:5-13, 7:1-10). By this, does it suggest that the Bible was contradicting itself? No! What really then is the situation?
We hazard that it is possible for a person not to be a biological son, yet, as a servant could be accepted as a son. In such a situation, a person may have been rendering endearing services to the point that he may now qualify to be considered a son. Indeed, such was the lot of the son, as found in the text. Yes, he was sick and needed to be healed by Jesus and so, the noble man sought healing for him being his son. Interestingly at this time, Jesus’ fame of being a miracle worker has rapidly spread and many believed in Him, (John 2:23). The noble man was attracted by Jesus’ healing fame and he decided to go by himself to look for Jesus. But wait a minute! What Jesus said to him on arrival could have discouraged him, but he did not give up. What was it that Jesus said? He said: “Go your way; your son lives.” I think Jesus’ action was a very tempting one, not finding out really what was the position with the son. He simply said, “Go your way…”
However, the noble man was a man of deep faith and he left without any grudge or complaint, but believing in Jesus’ words. I am sure that today, not many would have stomached it from Jesus, even though they were looking for healing from Him. The story of Naaman in 2 Kings 5:9-12 is highly illustrative here. Naaman was highly enraged, when the prophet said to him, “go and dip yourself seven times in River Jordan.” What the prophet said was eventually to be the solution to his situation, which he nearly missed by pride and arrogance. Remember, “a man’s pride will bring him low, but the humble in spirit will retain honour,” (Prov.29: 23). Also, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble”, (James 4:6).
From the noble man, we learn these great truths: first, we saw his faith in action. For he journeyed 20 miles from Capernaum to Cana of Galilee for healing of his son, only to be told “go your way; your son lives.” This he accepted, as made another journey of 20 miles back to Capernaum. Do we have such faith that never queries today?
Secondly, he was humble. Even though a noble man, but according to Matthew and Luke’s accounts, he was a high-ranking Roman soldier. Indeed, “humility costs nothing but wins a lot.” But do we still have such people in our Church congregations and in the society today? Yes, notwithstanding their offices, positions and status in life. We should not allow things of life to get into our heads and make us arrogant. Jesus, according to the Bible, was meek and gentle. The Bible says of Him: “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls”, (Matt. 11:29). May we be moved to earnestly emulate Him.
Thirdly, he believed Jesus not because of signs and wonders. This is the bane of modern society, as people no longer remember the charge of Jesus: “and these signs shall follow those that have believed: in my name they shall cast out demons; they shall speak with new tongues,” (Mark 16:17).
Ven. Ernest Onuoha
Rector, Ibru International Ecumenical Centre,
Agbarha-Otor, Delta State. www.Ibrucentre.Org