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/ Weekly Message / Weekly Message 07-13-08: The Faith Of Obedience
The Faith Of Obedience

The Faith Of Obedience

"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, ‘The fever left him yesterday at the seventh hour.’  Then the father realized that this was the exact time at which Jesus said to him, ‘your son will live.’  So he and his household believed. "

The Greek word for royal official as the gospel narrative describes him is basilikos which could even mean that he was a petty king, but it is used for a royal official, a representative of the ruler, a man of high standing at the royal court who was entrusted with official responsibilities because he showed he is dependable and loyal. Jesus on the other hand had no greater status than that of village carpenter from Nazareth. Further, Jesus was in Cana and this man lived in Capernaum, almost twenty miles away. That is why he took so long to get back home on foot or more probably on beast of burden.

There could be no more improbable scene in the world than an important court official hastening some twenty miles to beg a favor from a village carpenter. First and foremost, this courtier swallowed his pride. He was in need, great need, desperate need, and neither convention nor custom stopped him bringing his need to Christ. His action would cause a sensation but he did not care what people said, or how they judged; so long as he obtained the help he so desperately wanted and needed. It was his own flesh and bone and blood that was gravely ill. He could feel the pain and illness within his own being. If we want the help which only Christ can offer, we must be humble enough to swallow our pride and care not what any man may say or think.

The government official not only believed that Jesus could heal, he also obeyed Jesus by returning home, thus truly demonstrating that Jesus can take care of our every day problems, regardless serious they may become. It is not enough for us to say we believe that Jesus can take care of our difficulties, but we need to correspondingly act as if we truly believe He can. We also need to leave the means, the ways, the timing up to him. When we pray about a need or problem, we should live as though we believe Jesus can do what He says.

Notice how the official's faith grew. He believed enough to ask Jesus to help his son. He believed to the point of insisting that Jesus come with him to heal his son. He trusted Jesus'

assurance that his son would live and he acted in accordance with that belief. He and his whole household ended up believing in Jesus. Faith only grows as we use it and exercise it. Left in our minds as a shallow thought, it brings about no results. We cannot be believers in name only.

What this nobleman did, in going home, was identical to what servants did at the wedding in filling the great stone jars with water. They had all done exactly what they were told to do. This the faith of obedience. It is the positive response to the command of Christ. This is faith in action, living faith. Faith, living faith in God, is having complete and total, unreserved confidence in God's character. It is absolute assurance that because of his holy character and impeccable conduct He is totally trustworthy. It is knowing that because He is utterly reliable, one's response to his requests can only be always positive. He is ever faithful, ever dependable. So when an individual complies and cooperates, trustingly, faithfully, with him in calm assurance, all is always well.

The healing of this man's son was a miracle of space. Jesus headed a boy some twenty miles away. Jesus was not any less in the man's house in Capernaum just because He was physically standing in Cana. The physical presence of Christ does not make him more present. Indeed, when He promised the Holy Spirit to his disciples, He told them, "It is for your good that I am going away" John 16: 7, because the Comforter, would come and be with them and in them. Jesus could only be in one place at one time with his physical earthly body, but by the Holy Spirit, He would indwell in his people throughout the world just as He is present with us at our celebration of the Divine Liturgy.

Two healings take place on this one lone day. The father's weak faith was made strong and the boy's weak body became well. All in the presence of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, our Redeemer and Saviour.

The first sign of the day was the changing of water into wine at a festive and gala wedding party in Cana of Galilee. The second sign performed in a darkened home, under the shadow of threatening death, when a dying child is healed. The point we learn today is that true belief in God means belief in the signs and wonders our Lord performed for our benefit, according to the gospel of St. John. These signs pointed out to people, as they should to us here and now, the most important One who performed the signs, the Messiah, the Son of God. If this miracle produced faith only in a miracle-worker, but not in the Son of God, then the purpose of the sign is missed. Let us not be among those who miss the purpose and coming of our Lord among us.

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