“JESUS THE WORD: YOUR LIFE”
Saint John 4. 46-54
20th Sunday after Trinity (Trinity 21 propers: Michaelmas skip)
13 October Anno Domini 2013
Fr. J. Watson SSP
In The + Name of Jesus
The Good News? Jesus is always coming to Cana of Galilee. The Lord always reaches out to the towns of the Gentiles, to places like Cana and Shawnee of Kansas, to the “old Adam” and struggling Christian. He comes to make water into wine! The Law of God kills but the Savior saves. He washes with water and brings you into a family that is awash with the joy of wine—not reds and whites but rest, family, and peace! “The whole world is in Thy power, O Lord,” and how does He use that power? The Lord’s divinity is used by taking into It the humanity of a fallen race. The traveling Rabbi took flesh and blood from a sinful mother, a nature of falleness identical to yours, and purified it in His own Godhood by uniting it to the Son in the “personal union” of His incarnation. His Messiahship is to seek and save, not to destroy and show awesome displays of cosmic grandeur. Although to be sure, turning ritual washing water into fine aged wine is pretty awesome.
Everywhere the Christ went there were sick people; some had diseases of varying hideousness, some were even more ill with unforgiven sin and weighty consciences. Some had loved ones suffering in places and locations where Jesus wasn’t even standing…like Capernaum.
The only thing worse than having a horrible disease is being the parent of a child who is suffering, and dying—as in the case of “a certain nobleman.” It is good that the Christ was no Marxist “leveler” or “death panel” p/c bureaucrat, but desired to help with this man of “means” and obvious wealth. For Christ knows that money can’t buy happiness or health. Blessed are the Lazarus’ of the world who know where their true treasure lies—in the Body and Blood of the God/Man and His words of absolution!
The man wanted his dying son to be healed, to be saved, and the means he sought was simply Jesus’ bodily presence! The Lord’s seemingly impatient and caustic lament “…except ye see signs and wonders, ye will not believe” are not directed so much at the grieving nobleman-father as at the scoffers and critics surrounding the Lord’s larger entourage of Disciples and Galilean followers. And the Lord’s modern day followers know that even with His mightiest signs and wonders—the raising of Lazarus of Bethany from death itself, the hard-hearted Sanhedrin and its false prophets still would not believe! The only sign said the Lord would be the sign of Jonah—His very own precious blood and sinless Body crucified, dead and buried…and on the third day resurrected! “We preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumbling block, and unto the Greeks foolishness.” [1 Cor. 1.23]
No, this nobleman wasn’t some modern day smarmy self-centered “spiritually aware” American pontificating how he can meet “God” in the cathedral of nature and thus doesn’t need to get his lazy-ass and calcified dead heart to the gathering of Saints on the Lord’s day; no—this Capernaumite wanted the Messiah to lay His Hands of healing on his boy! Be where Jesus is. Either one believes and will be, or one does not and will always be able to manufacture bogus and devilish rationalizations. Kyrie Elieson.
The real miracle of Godly healing, which only God can do, is not that the sick and dying boy recovers, but that the Nobleman father was given the faith to believe in Christ’s Word alone (by Grace alone through Faith alone…in Jesus alone)!
Faith is not feeling inner warmth, having an auditory sensation, or an emotional tingle of perceived supernatural origin. Faith is trusting the Word of Christ—whether spoken from the lips of Jesus, read from the Words of Jesus as recorded by Saint John Zebedee, or spoken through the mouths of your pastors in Absolution, + Baptism, Verba, or homily.
Faith holds on tightly to the objective reality of the Present Christ in His active and present Word. “Go thy way, thy son liveth.” “I wash you clean from all sin (I baptize you) in the Name of the + Father and of The Son and of The Holy Ghost.” “I forgive you all your sins…” and “take eat the Body of Christ for you!”
“And the man believed the word that Jesus had spoken unto him, and he went his way.”
That, dear Saints, is the Grace and Peace of the Crucified and Resurrected One! Without seeing a restored son, the nobleman departs on his own walk in the valley of the shadow of death, life’s trials under the cross, BELIEVING in Jesus Who is THE WAY, the Truth and the Life! “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” [Heb. 1.1]
Yes, to be sure, the nobleman’s son was healed at the very moment the God/Man’s Word said He was…and thus the nobleman like Martha of Bethany not only confessed The Faith of Christ before “seeing” a result, but also did in fact receive a temporal and physical gift of a restored loved one; but so do you and all believers in He Who is Life-enfleshed. A Christian knows that as great as physical health is that it is eternal life with the Lord that is a “Peace that passeth all understanding.” Your babes resurrected at the font have an infinitely better gift than mere physical health or longevity—they have eternity. Your reception of the Eucharist is better than any successful medical technology or surgical innovation for in The Lord’s Body and Blood you have true immortality of both body and soul. Your Holy + Absolution of sins takes away real sorrow and real hurt that makes tactile discomfort and mere bodily wasting, insignificant in the infinity of Heavenly communion. And you know all this not by intellect or reason but by faith, by the relationship Jesus has created in you by The Holy Ghost working through the WORD.
You will lose your health. You will lose to death’s temporary separation, loved ones: sons, daughter, mothers, fathers, wives and husbands…but you will walk the path of Jesus’ Words—THE WORD—“Go thy way; thy son liveth” because THE SON of God died for you and rose for you and lives for you—and in you! “And take they our life, goods, fame, child, and wife, let these all be gone, they yet have nothing won; The Kingdom ours remaineth” [TLH # 262.4]
Listen now, and hear, receive, hold on tightly to Life—to Jesus Who is right here, present: “Thy son liveth,” you live; come forward and receive forgiveness and peace; for today is another Miracle that Jesus does when He comes out of, not Judea or Galilee, but out of His Word to you.
In The Name of The Father and of + The Son and of The Holy Ghost