Dear believers in Christ, baptized of God.
We don’t always have a perfect answer, or a perfect understanding, for everything. Trials and tribulations can come without warning, and can leave us wondering “Why? Why did it have to happen that way, or at all?”
Yet, God promises a peace that passes, goes beyond, all human understanding. God’s peace doesn’t depend on the ever-changing things of this world. It’s an eternal peace that is rooted and grounded upon the rock of Jesus Christ. No matter how hard the storms of life blow, no matter how much we find our life changing, those who put their trust in the rock of Christ, cannot be moved. Although we really don’t know what the future holds, we know who holds the future. Jesus Christ the same yesterday, today, and forever. “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Today we have the very heartfelt story of the nobleman of Capernaum. But his story is really not that different from ours. He had the same faith that we have today. For there is only one faith, one Baptism, one Savior, in whom he believed, and in whom you and I believe.
He went to the Savior for help and for healing. But he didn’t receive the answer he was expecting. Because Jesus wanted to challenge his faith, not to discourage him, but to make his faith stronger. May we be encouraged today again to remain in the faith, to continue in prayer, to continue to wait patiently upon God, even when we don’t have an immediate understanding, or an instant answer. “Truly my soul waiteth upon God: from Him cometh my salvation.”
It can seem like the question of our suffering never really gets answered. Yet in the Scriptures we have many examples of those who waited upon God, prayed to him, trusted, and received answers. We have not only the example of the nobleman. When the boy Jesus stayed behind at the temple, Mary and Joseph had to wait for days before they could see their Son again. They didn’t have an immediate understanding of why this had to happen, and they even scolded their Son. But in time, they learned that it was for their benefit. It was the perfect time to remind them, that Jesus was more than just their Son, He was also their Lord and Savior.
Job waited for what seemed like an eternity when everything he loved was taken away, but in the end he knew it wasn’t without meaning. He learned to know the love of his Savior more than he ever knew it before, and stated with confidence, “I know that My Redeemer liveth.” Abraham and Sarah waited until he was 100, and she was 90, before God gave them their son Isaac. Yet, “After he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise.” In every example, although it was not revealed to them immediately, there was always a reason behind their suffering. God’s promise to make all things work together for their good was fulfilled in them. Their faith was strengthened in a way that it never could have been had things been easy for them, or had they been given an instant solution.
Jesus met a nobleman, a government official. This man came a long ways. Cana is about 25-30 miles from Capernaum, and Cana is in the mountains. So it’s certainly not a flat road between the two. That’s easily a day’s journey, one way. That’s a long ways to travel when your son is terminally ill.
Clearly, this nobleman had heard of Jesus, of His great power, perhaps when Jesus turned the water into wine at Cana.
But the nobleman had a weakness in his faith. He believed that Jesus must be physically present to heal his son. He insisted more than once, that Jesus must come with Him.
But “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Faith is trusting in God’s promise without physical evidence to back it up. And faith is leaving the trouble in God’s hands, “Casting all your care upon Him; for He careth for you.”
To insist that Jesus must be physically present to heal his son, meant that it was actually the father who needed healing, spiritual healing.
And at first it might seem like Jesus was rude to him, even cold and heartless. The man’s son was dying, and Jesus refuses to come with him? And then Jesus says, “Except ye see signs and wonders, ye will not believe.” But Jesus doesn’t care about political correctness, popular opinion, or the self-esteem movement. Jesus cares about our eternal soul, and He says what we need to hear, even if it offends. He only has the words of eternal life.
Without realizing it, the nobleman was leaning toward the “performance” faith of the Scribes and Pharisees – “show us a sign Jesus. Come on, give us another miracle. Perform for us. Then we will believe.” But “faith is …the evidence of things not seen.”
So Jesus sends him away with nothing that he can see. He sends him away with His word only. Jesus said…. “Go thy way; thy son liveth. And the man believed the word.”
What other choice did he have? He had nothing else to cling to. Jesus stripped everything else away. He stripped away his sight because he could not see the promise being fulfilled. He was a whole day’s journey away from his son. He had to wait to see the fulfillment of that promise. No instant verification. No instant solution. And so he waited, he prayed, and he trusted in the promise, “thy son liveth.”
The situation is exactly the same today. Our faith has nothing to cling to that it can see, or measure, or verify in a lab. Certainly no instant verification. But we do have God’s Word, and that is more than sufficient. “Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.”
Isn’t waiting a huge part of our faith too? We wait and pray for things to get better in many cases. We wait and pray for healing. We wait and pray for deliverance from whatever it is that troubles us. We wait and pray for understanding, for answers, and for fulfilment of Christ’s promise to make all things work together for our good.
We wait and pray for things to turn around in this country. We wait and pray for there to be repentance in the hearts of those who are pro-abortion, pro-socialism, anti-cop and anti-Christian. We wait and pray for the upcoming election. Again, we don’t know what the future holds, but we know who holds the future. Our faith in Christ is not in vain. He does hear and He will answer our prayers in the way that best serves our eternal soul. David says, “Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and He shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD.”
The Nobleman’s son lived. And because Jesus lives, you too will live. That is the very foundation of our faith: The promise. And may that promise of God continue to remain with us, in us, and strengthen our faith in Christ.
Faith is more than having an instant answer, an instant solution, or an instant understanding of our every problem. Faith is more than having everything at our fingertips instantly. Faith is trusting in God’s promise even when there seems to be no solution in sight. And sometimes there is nothing else to cling to but the promise of God’s word. David says, “Our soul waiteth for the LORD: He is our help and our shield. For our heart shall rejoice in Him, because we have trusted in His holy name. Let Thy mercy, O LORD, be upon us, according as we hope in Thee.” “Truly my soul waiteth upon God: from Him cometh my salvation.” In Jesus’ name. Amen.
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