While he was still on the way, his servants met him with the news that his boy was living. When he inquired as to the time when his son got better, they said to him, Yesterday, at one in the afternoon, the fever left him. Then the father realized that this was the exact time at which Jesus had said to him, Your son will live. So he and his whole household believed.
What an exciting encounter! The servants met this man with the glorious news, Your son is living—the very same words Jesus had said to the father. Immediately he checked the hour when it had happened. It dawned on him that at the precise moment when Jesus had said to him, Go; your son lives, the fever suddenly left the boy and he began to mend. There broke upon him a new realization, not of what Jesus could do, but of who Jesus was. He had authority over all illness. He was not limited by distance or time. He had power in areas beyond the knowledge and reach of men. When the man understood that, he believed, and all his household with him. This is the same word for belief that was used of him before, but now it is used at a much higher level—a trust that God was at work and would work out this matter in ways that he could not anticipate.
The power of this story is given to us in the book of Hebrews, where we read: Let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and the finisher of faith (Hebrews 12:1-2a). That is what Jesus has come to do—to bestow faith and make it to grow. One version translates this as, The pioneer and perfecter of faith. This story tells us that we are in the hands of One who does not always answer our prayers the way we expect, but in doing so he lifts us to a higher awareness of who he is, of his authority and power in the world and in life. Our faith, as a result, becomes stronger, cleaner and truer. We are enabled to exercise it at a far higher level. Jesus is the Author and Perfecter of our faith. That is the meaning of the sign that Jesus performed that day.
Tom Landry, the former coach of the Dallas Cowboys, once said that the job of a coach is to cause men to do what they don’t want to do, so that they can achieve what they really want. That is what Jesus does: he puts us through circumstances we do not want to go through; he makes us face things we do not like to face in order to achieve what we have wanted with all our hearts all along. To do so requires the strengthening of faith. Faith’s encouragement—that is what this incident is all about.
Heavenly Father, how this account speaks to me in my situation today. Grant that I may face that situation with renewed encouragement, renewed trust, a renewed sense that you know what you are doing in my life and are strengthening my faith in the process.
Are we learning to view all of life’s circumstances as God’s opportunities to mature our faith? Do we accept His tutorials as our adventure of faith and trust, and experiencing the Joy of the journey?