The man’s son is dying.
This man is part of the administration at a time when rank has privileges, but it doesn’t matter right now that he has a great job. Those privileges may have connected him to the best possible care but it wasn’t helping. His son is dying.
He finds Jesus and begs for a healed son.
“Unless you people see miraculous signs and wonders,” Jesus told him, “you will never believe.”
It’s one of the times I wish we could hear Jesus’ tone of voice, could see his eyes. On paper he sounds cranky, tired, annoyed, critical. I’m guessing, however, that if we could see his eyes, they would be watching the man carefully, searching for a glimmer of faith.
What he found first was desperation.
“Sir, come down before my child dies.”
But in that very persistence, that unwillingness to be distracted by Jesus’ words, we discover that there is faith.
Jesus replied, “You may go. Your son will live.”
The man took Jesus at his word and departed.
Jesus had talked about people who need miracles in order to believe. This man believed what Jesus said and saw a miracle.
There are always questions when we look at healings.
- Do some people have enough faith and other people not have enough faith?
- Do I not have the right kind of faith when I ask for healing?
- Is there a formula here that I need to consider?
- What makes Jesus answer prayer about physical needs?
- How do I know if I’m not asking the right way, if I’m just looking for something cool?
I don’t know the simple satisfying answers to those questions. I do know, however, that this man talked with Jesus. And in the conversation, he was challenged and kept pushing God.