The Gospel according to John (4:43-54)
At that time Jesus left [Samaria] for Galilee. For Jesus himself testified that a prophet has no honor in his native place. When he came into Galilee, the Galileans welcomed him, since they had seen all he had done in Jerusalem at the feast; for they themselves had gone to the feast. Then he returned to Cana in Galilee, where he had made the water wine. Now there was a royal official whose son was ill in Capernaum. When he heard that Jesus had arrived in Galilee from Judea, he went to him and asked him to come down and heal his son, who was near death. Jesus said to him, “Unless you people see signs and wonders, you will not believe.” The royal official said to him, “Sir, come down before my child dies.” Jesus said to him, “You may go; your son will live.” The man believed what Jesus said to him and left. While the man was on his way back, his slaves met him and told him that his boy would live. He asked them when he began to recover. They told him, “The fever left him yesterday, about one in the afternoon.” The father realized that just at that time Jesus had said to him, “Your son will live,” and he and his whole household came to believe. Now this was the second sign Jesus did when he came to Galilee from Judea.
Opening Prayer: Lord, as Lent continues and I grow weary, refresh me in this time of prayer. Help me to see your loving actions in a new way so that I may offer my Lenten sacrifices with renewed fervor.
“Unless you people see signs and wonders, you will not believe.” John 4:46–48
I often wonder that if my parents didn’t instill Catholicism in me during my childhood years, would I be Christian? Would I have a faith? Or if I never witnessed my own personal miracles (signs and wonders), would I believe? Then I think the opposite, that if none of the above would have occurred in my life, then I would have missed many great opportunities in my life (Blessings).
Jesus did end up healing the royal official’s son. And when the royal official returned to discover his son healed, we are told that “he and his whole household came to believe.” Some came to believe in Jesus only after He performed miracles. There are two lessons we should take from this.
First of all, the fact that Jesus performed miracles is a testimony to who He is. He is a God of abundant mercy. As God, Jesus could have expected faith from those to whom He ministered without offering them the “proof” of signs and wonders. This is because true faith is not based upon external evidence, such as seeing miracles; rather, authentic faith is based upon an interior revelation from God by which He communicates His very self to us, and we believe. He offered these miracles not because anyone deserved them, but simply because of His abundant generosity to help spark faith in the lives of those who found it hard to believe through the interior gift of faith alone.
With that said, it’s important to understand that we should work to develop our faith without relying upon external signs. Imagine, for example, if Jesus would have never performed any miracles, anywhere. How many would have come to believe in Him? Perhaps very few. But there would have been some who came to believe, and those who did would have had a faith that was exceptionally deep and authentic. Imagine, for example, if this royal official did not receive a miracle for his son but, nonetheless, chose to believe in Jesus anyway through the transforming interior gift of faith.
It is essential that we work to develop our faith, even if God doesn’t seem to act in powerful and evident ways. In fact, the deepest form of faith is born in our lives when we choose to love God and serve Him, even when things are very difficult. Faith in the midst of difficulty is a sign of very authentic faith.
Closing Prayer: Lord Jesus, I desire to have the courage and boldness of this royal official who came to you in humility and believed your words in faith. Increase my faith and show me how to help others believe in you.
Action of the Day: Reflect, today, upon the depth of your own faith. When life is hard, do you love God and serve Him anyway? Even if He doesn’t remove the crosses you carry?