12/12/2012 Portland, Oregon – Pop in your mints…
Today we continue our series on the Seven Signs of John with the second sign, Jesus’ healing of the official’s son. First, we must pause to remember the eternal lesson from the first sign, the changing of water into wine that the wedding in Cana of Galilee: “Do what he says,” for miracles are born out of obedience.
And now, the second sign.
Jesus had just returned from Jerusalem, where he had educated Nicodemus on the mechanics of spiritual rebirth at the Passover feat. On his journey home, Jesus had done something that deeply troubled the Jewish religious establishment of the day, He had taken the more direct and mountainous route home to the Galilee by passing directly through the territory known as Samaria.
This was shocking, because the religious amongst the Jews in those days who resided in Jerusalem went to great pains to avoid setting foot in Samaria, which they saw as the epicenter of paganism and worse, a misguided worship of the One True God, YHWH.
For this reason, when travelling from Jerusalem to the Galilee, they would cross over to the east bank of the Jordan river and go north until they had passed by the Samaritan territory, at which point they crossed back over to the west bank and reached Scythopolis, where they would continue their journey into the Galilee. This religious quirk added up to 40 miles, or in those days what would have been a hard two days journey, to what was already a three to four day ordeal.
However Jesus not only took the more direct route, he encountered a Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well and engaged her in conversation, an utterly shocking breach of protocol that caused even His disciples to question what he was doing. We can only imagine that Jesus did not shake the dust off of His feet after reaching the Galilee, the custom of the religious Jews who were forced to tend to unavoidable business in Samaria, and therefore were forced to “defile” themselves by setting foot on Samaritan soil.
Blind Faith via Shock Therapy
Jesus was returning to the Galilee from Judea, where, as mentioned above, he had attended the Passover and, while there, began to turn the Jewish religious system on its head. In fact, so many people believed in Jesus as the Messiah as a result of His teachings during the Passover that his disciples were baptizing even more people than John the Baptist, who the Jewish religious leaders had previously seen as their main rival.
As a result of this, the Pharisees, a sect of the Jews who believed in the resurrection of the dead, were planning to come after Jesus, hastening His flight back to the Galilee.
After passing through Samaria en route to an imagined quiet retreat into the Galilee, Jesus found that a great number of people in the Galilee had witnessed the signs he had done during the Passover for they, too, were there. His reputation has preceded Him, and peace was to prove elusive for the rest of His days on earth.
Under these circumstances, Jesus returned to Cana as a type of rock star.
While in Cana, Jesus was approached by a certain nobleman who asks Jesus for a favor that would become known as the second sign which is related in John 4:43-54:
43 After the two days he went out from there and went into Galilee. 44 For Jesus himself testified that a prophet has no honor in his own country. 45 So when he came into Galilee, the Galileans received him, having seen all the things that he did in Jerusalem at the feast, for they also went to the feast. 46 Jesus came therefore again to Cana of Galilee, where he made the water into wine. There was a certain nobleman whose son was sick at Capernaum. 47 When he heard that Jesus had come out of Judea into Galilee, he went to him, and begged him that he would come down and heal his son, for he was at the point of death. 48 Jesus therefore said to him, “Unless you see signs and wonders, you will in no way believe.”
49 The nobleman said to him, “Sir, come down before my child dies.” 50 Jesus said to him, “Go your way. Your son lives.” The man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him, and he went his way. 51 As he was now going down, his servants met him and reported, saying “Your child lives!” 52 So he inquired of them the hour when he began to get better. They said therefore 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.” He believed, as did his whole house. 54 This is again the second sign that Jesus did, having come out of Judea into Galilee.
Now the nobleman’s son was lying on his deathbed in Capernaum, a town on the shores of the Sea of Galilee, and he encountered Jesus in Cana. Under the circumstances, we can assume that the nobleman made the 20 mile journey inland specifically to make this appeal to Jesus. The nobleman would likely have have been prepared to offer his life savings to Jesus if he would come to Capernaum and heal his son. In Jesus he saw his only hope of saving his son, and he was doing what any loving father would have done under the circumstances.
In this delicate state of mind, the nobleman was about to be shocked, for he was about to learn the difference between hope and faith. For hope, while poetic, leaves room for doubt. Faith is the opposite of doubt.
For this reason, instead of lovingly agreeing to accompany the man to Capernaum, He rebukes him, “unless you see signs and wonders, you will in no way believe.” The man, still in a state of shock, as were Jesus disciples, makes a last ditch effort, now with a bit indignation, “Sir, come down before my child dies.”
Jesus then shocks the man, who has moved from hope to indignation, into faith as He replies “Go your way. Your son lives.” In this moment, through Jesus’ words, the nobleman understood that, if he believed that Jesus had the power to heal his son, it would follow that Jesus could do it without having to be physically present. The nobleman understood, at this moment, beyond any shadow of a doubt, that Jesus was Lord.
The nobleman then knew Jesus in the same way the centurion in Matthew 8:5-13 knew that Jesus was Lord, through the operation of blind faith. The difference between the nobleman and the centurion was that Jesus offered to come to the centurion’s house, which was perhaps not coincidentally also in Capernaum, and left it to the centurion to profess his blind faith which was operating to heal his servant. The nobleman had no such faith to profess, until Jesus shocked him into it.
Where the nobleman needed his blind faith to be awakened, the centurion needed only ask Jesus and it would be done.
May it be said that in Capernaum, the Lord showed us that blind faith is enough. When faith and obedience are operating together, there is no limit to what can happen.
Stay tuned for the third sign and Trust Jesus.
Key Indicators for December 12 2012
Copper Price per Lb: $3.69
Oil Price per Barrel: $86.77
Corn Price per Bushel: $7.21
10 Yr US Treasury Bond: 1.70%
FED Target Rate: 0.17% ON AUTOPILOT, THE FED IS DEAD!
Gold Price Per Ounce: $1,712
MINT Perceived Target Rate*: 0.25%
Unemployment Rate: 7.7%
Inflation Rate (CPI): 0.1%
Dow Jones Industrial Average: 13,245
M1 Monetary Base: $2,457,800,000,000 LOTS OF DOUGH ON THE STREET!
M2 Monetary Base: $10,275,200,000,000