Kind Of Faith
John 4:43-54 & Isaiah 9:6-7
My son, lay dying. His fever raged. The physician shook his head, patting my shoulder as he left. My wife wept, her dark eyes pleading for my help. Desperation rose within me; time was slipping away. My mind whirled. Perhaps the rabbi, Jesus of Nazareth could help. I’d seen Him heal at Passover. He’d exorcised a demon at synagogue, there was certainly an other-worldly power within Him. If He would come, He could help. I’d heard He was in Cana. It was our only hope. I had to bring Him here. I stooped beside my son’s cot fingering the damp dark curl matted to his forehead. His face was flushed and damp in his fitful sleep. I squeezed my wife’s shoulder and left. There wasn’t a moment to lose.
I struck a brisk pace and was thankful for the morning breeze. It was a half-day’s walk. My urgency spurred me onward. My thoughts whirled. ‘What if I couldn’t find Him? Where would I even look for Him? What if He’d moved on?’ By midday, the village was in sight.
In town, there was a commotion in the street. A crowd clamored around a man. I stared in disbelief; it was the Nazarene. I had to get to Him. I pressed forward, weaving, shouldering my way forward, my eyes riveted on the Nazarene. Within moments I was an arm’s length away. I called out, my voice was drowned among the crowd; I called again and again. Suddenly He stopped, turned and locked eyes with me; my breath caught in my throat. His dark eyes held mine, yet He spoke to the crowd around him, rather than to me: “Unless you people see signs and wonders, you will not believe,” He said.
He stepped toward me, smiling. “What do you want?” He asked.
“My son,” I sputtered, “My son is dying, come before He dies.”
His eyes never wavered from mine. “Your son will live,” He said.
Then He simply turned and walked away. The crowd surrounded Him once again, and He was gone. I stood alone in the quiet, dusty street.
‘That was all? Just His spoken promise?’, I mused. I exhaled deeply, watching the crowd swarm around the corner. In my mind, I replayed His words to the crowd, and His words to me. His thinly-veiled rebuke to them: They continually requested miraculous signs, yet never intended to believe or obey. They were there for the show. His thinly-veiled question to me: ‘You’re ready to believe, aren’t you? Your faith is very different from the masses, isn’t it?’
The Law and the Prophets declared “that prophet” would be Yahweh in the flesh. If this Nazarene was truly “that prophet”, then He was Yahweh incarnate. ‘Had I just locked eyes with Yahweh in this dusty street?’ I mused. I would only know for certain if I returned home. I’d done all I could do, so I turned in the empty street, and started the long walk home. I had no idea what I’d find there, but if this Nazarene was truly “that prophet”, my son would recover.
The days’ heat rose from the path ahead in quivering waves, and with them swirled my doubts. ‘What if my boy was gasping his last breath this moment? What if this quest had been a fiasco, and I’d been duped? The “what ifs” warred against “but He said. . .”, as I pressed on. Suddenly, a man crested the hill, running, half-stumbling toward me. It was my servant. I searched his face for clues. He stumbled forward, gasping and blurting out between breaths: “Your son! He’s alive! The fever broke! It broke like that!” he snapped his fingers for emphasis. I simply breathed. ‘It was Him; the Nazarene had done it!’ I questioned further as we walked. He told me again and again, filling in details. As we neared town, I could contain myself no longer. I broke into a run, I had to see my boy. I stumbled breathlessly into his room, eyes searching. There he was! He rose, jumping into my arms. My chest heaved. I sank onto the floor holding him; choking sobs shook me, mingled with relieved laughter as I pressed my cheek into his thick dark curls. My mind whirled; questions, startling revelations and stunning conclusions tumbled over each other as I sat on the floor, holding a miracle in my arms. The Nazarene had done it!
How long I sat there holding my son, I’ll never know. I wanted to hold him forever. However, deep within me was a tugging, I wanted to run to Him. I wanted to thank Him for healing my boy. I wanted to run into His embrace and fall at His feet in gratitude and worship. This Nazarene was Sinai’s Yahweh gracing our narrow streets in this narrow slice of time and space. How else could such a miracle be explained? How else could He answer questions barely taking shape within my soul? It seems I had locked eyes with Yahweh in Cana. He had singled me out in a clamoring crowd, heard my desperation, saw into my soul and removed infirmity by an act is His will. This could only be the work of The Ancient of Days. The masses may follow Him for the show, but I would do follow in trusting obedience for the rest of my life. I wanted to run to Him, and tell Him so, but since this Nazarene was Yahweh, I was certain He already knew!