Daily Devotional for Monday, September 14, 2020 from Jonathan Moelker
46 Then he came again to Cana in Galilee where he had changed the water into wine. Now there was a royal official whose son lay ill in Capernaum. 47 When he heard that Jesus had come from Judea to Galilee, he went and begged him to come down and heal his son, for he was at the point of death. 48 Then Jesus said to him, “Unless you see signs and wonders you will not believe.” 49 The official said to him, “Sir, come down before my little boy dies.” 50 Jesus said to him, “Go; your son will live.” The man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him and started on his way. 51 As he was going down, his slaves met him and told him that his child was alive. 52 So he asked them the hour when he began to recover, and they said to him, “Yesterday at one in the afternoon the fever left him.” 53 The father realized that this was the hour when Jesus had said to him, “Your son will live.”
This narrative reminds us of many others in the gospels. We are certainly used to Jesus healing people; healthcare miracles were a regular part of his work. But this one is a little different. Unlike the many stories where Jesus heals a beggar, this time it is someone important, a royal official’s son. And Jesus doesn’t actually go to heal the person, instead, the healing is affected over a distance.
In this narrative, we would expect Jesus to hear the royal official’s request and jump to his feet, rushing off to help this very important person. But for Jesus, the VIPs are not the rich and powerful. He has flipped the script, putting those who are last first. But Jesus also does not ignore this person. He does heal the official’s son, but he does it without going to the child.
This sounds totally normal to us, because we read these gospel’s already believing Jesus can do anything, but this healing is unusual for its time. Although there were many healers in Jesus’s time, they mostly worked through objects, magical things to help aid healing. They also would work directly over the person, much as we would expect a healthcare worker of today to have to do.
But Jesus doesn’t go. First, he chastises the official for wanting to see a sign or wonder. But then he does something incredible. He simply tells the official that his son is healed. And the official has to trust Jesus and go home.
We often think we know what the right solution is. I know I have attempted to solve Covid-19 in my head several times over the last few months. The royal official thinks he knows what he needs. He is prepared to run the show, as royal officials usually do. But instead, Jesus sends him away, having him rely on faith.
We think we know what we need. We need a vaccine, we need better care methods for Covid, we need more economic protection. And we aren’t wrong, these things would be of great help. But we also cannot work a miracle to create a vaccine.
While we praise and support the healthcare workers and scientists doing what they can to end Covid-19, there is something else we can do: Trust Jesus and go home, just like the royal official. The miracles feel pretty far away right now. We have seen too much destruction, and the death estimates keep getting higher. But these are not the times that we trust God less, these are the times when we trust God the most! When there is very little going wrong, we have very little to trust God with. When the world is on fire, we trust the Great Firefighter with everything. As we go forward through another day of the election season, another day of the Covid crisis, as we go through today, I will be remembering that this is God’s world. And we can trust in God.
We have so much that we worry about.
Help us trust in you.
Even our good days feel stressed and uncomfortable.
Masked faces at the grocery store; hand sanitizer in the lobby.
These things make us safer.
But above all we trust you.
Bring us healing.
Heal our country, sick with ideological divides.
Heal our people, sick with a new virus.
Heal our hearts, sick with worry and weariness.
We trust you.