Monday, March 7, 2016

Reflection: John 4:43-54

Monday of 4th Week of Lent - John 4:43-54

Today Jesus left Samaria and traveled home to Galilee. If you recall, Jesus himself said: “No prophet is accepted in his home town.” Yet when Jesus arrived in Cana of Galilee, he was welcomed with open arms.  Had the hearts of the Galileans truly changed? If so, was it because they personally had experienced the power of Jesus’ teaching and his ability to heal or were they simply curious and wanted to hear this man for themselves?

However, when Jesus arrived in Cana, a royal officer of the court immediately approached him. His son was deathly ill and naturally, the officer was distraught and frightened.  The officer approached Jesus and begged him to come and heal his child.  The child was near death.  There was no time to waste. The father needed Jesus to come with him immediately!

Jesus responded to the man in a very callous and indifferent manner.  He told the man that he, like many other people, had come to Jesus simply because he needed to have a wonder performed.  If Jesus would do this, then would he believe in Jesus?  However, the man persisted in begging Jesus to come with him.  He again told Jesus that his child literally was on the verge of dying and there was no one else to whom he could turn.  Jesus was the only hope for his son.

This time, the man’s distress and panic got through to Jesus.  Jesus understood that this father was deeply frightened at the thought of possibly losing his child.  Jesus saw the man’s heart.   However, Jesus still did not agree to go with the man.  Jesus simply reassured the father that his child would live.  He quietly told the officer to go home and see his child.  Was the official disappointed or angry that Jesus did not go with him to see his son or did he trust Jesus and his promise?

Finally, the court official left and hurried home.  When he arrived there, he learned that his child had been completely healed.  His son was completely restored to health.  Imagine the joy and gratitude the father must have experienced in that instant.  From this moment on, the father, his family, and all the members of his household believed in Jesus.

What is the healing that we wish to ask or Jesus? Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we immediately received the healing we desire? How would our lives be different if we always received the healing, the wish, the gift or grace which we ask of Jesus?  In one way, this would be wonderful. However, would we begin to see Jesus in a different light?  Would Jesus become more like a “vending machine” to us?  Would we come, place our prayer/request before Jesus, make an offering and then wait for our prayers to be answered, preferably exactly as we want them answered?

We all pray for what we desire. However, in my experience, it often seems that I receive very little of what I have asked for, at least in the way I wanted it to be answered.  Does that mean that Jesus did not hear my prayer?  Do I only believe in Jesus if He answers my prayers exactly as I specify?  

Perhaps the more fundamental question we need to ask ourselves is:  do we truly love, believe, and trust Jesus? Do we trust that Jesus loves us and he is always with us?  Do we truly believe that Jesus does gift and grace us?

Yes, we need to ask and pray to Jesus for what we need and desire.  However, we also need to have a broad perspective.  Instead of impatiently waiting for the answer to my specific prayer, we need to be open and listen deeply.  Jesus will answer our prayer, however, our answer may have a different “take” or direction that we may not have anticipated. Thus, we need to be open and trust Jesus to bless us and grace us as we truly need.  Jesus will not disappoint us, even if we have to wait for a while.  Will we continue to have open, hopeful, and trusting hearts?

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