Monday, February 23, 2009

Do You Believe...or Do You Believe?

A royal official. We don’t know his exact role, but what we do know is that he was desperate. We know this because he was a man with power. He had many servants and it was their job to do exactly as the royal official instructed them. But in this particular situation, the man who had the authority to give any order he desired, told his men to stay put. He would take care of this himself. In his mind, he knew it was too important to entrust to anyone else.
And yet he was torn. To leave his home would be an almost overwhelming risk. His son was in bed and barely hanging on to life. Everyone knew, including his father, that he did not have much time. The life of his son was growing shorter with every subtle heartbeat. If he left to go to Jesus, he may lose the opportunity to be by his son’s side when he drew his last breath. A painful dilemma to say the least. Tears must have filled his eyes as he left the house that day. “Goodbye son. I will see you soon.” So he hoped.
There was no time to waste. 20 miles is a long journey in a desert land. The popularity of Jesus had reached such grand proportions. He knew it would be difficult to get to the man known for his miracles for a large crowd had surely formed around him. He was right…
The scene was chaos. Hundreds, maybe thousands of people gathered. Each one with a story of who this man Jesus was and what He had done. Some were true. Most were exaggerations and rumor. But now they could see for themselves. Perhaps Jesus would do the miraculous right before their eyes. This was an exciting day!
But the official was less concerned with the anticipated performance. His son was dying and he was desperate. He pushed his way through the crowd. As he did, some recognized his status and gave way. Others could care less and took the opportunity to put him in his place. None of this mattered. His eyes were fixed on Jesus.
Finally, he gets his attention. “Jesus, I beg you. My son is dying. Please, I beg you. Come to my house so that you may touch my son and he may be healed. Please Jesus. You are my only hope.”
The crowd continued to clamor and the voice of this royal official was lost in the commotion of a thousand other voices vying for the attention of the man known for his miracles. But hush rippled through the mass of people when Jesus spoke. “Unless you people see signs and wonders, you will not believe.”
“Was he talking to me?” thought the official. Was this a cruel way to say “no” to his request? His heart sunk deep in his soul and all hope was gone. His son would surely die.
Jesus turned, looked into the desperate man’s eyes, and renewed his hope once again by saying, “Go, your son lives.”
The chaos of the crowd continued and this frantic father stood frozen and speechless as the people pressed by him following Jesus and seeking a sign. He heard nothing. Only silence in his heart.
“I must believe,” he said to himself, “I have no other choice.” “No medicine has cured my son. Each doctor has given up hope. I sit at my son’s bed and watch him labor to take each breath. Oh dear God how I love my son!” And he falls to his knees.
Like a ray of light in his mind’s eye, the official recalled the brief encounter not seconds ago. “For a fleeting moment, when Jesus looked into my eyes, I could see that same desperate love I have for my son, extended toward me in a way I have never experienced before. I think…I know…I could see…he felt my pain. Perhaps…just maybe, he cares enough to do for me what no one else can do. He is my only hope. I must believe this miracle can happen. For my son’s sake, I must believe.”
And at a pace twice that of his arrival, he returns home. Yet, before arriving, he is met by his servants. The horses halt and once again, the man’s heart sinks low. “I’m too late…”
His servants dismount, run to the official and say to him, “Your son! Your son, he lives!” While you were gone, just moments ago, the fever left him. Your son! He has been healed! It’s a miracle that we cannot explain!”
Perhaps they could not explain this miracle, but the royal official could. And that is exactly what he did when he got home – beginning with his son whom he embraced like never before.
Everyone listened intently and as if at once, they knew Jesus was more than a man who performed miracles of healing, signs and wonders. No, his greatest miracle to this family was the miracle of hope. The man now believed, not for his son’s sake, but for his own. He no longer believed because of what Jesus could do…He believed because of who Jesus was. He was the Savior. The One promised to bring hope to the hopeless. He and all his family truly believed. "I know that my Redeemer lives and in the end, He will stand upon the earth." The ancient words of Job (19:25) had now become his own.

Stop for a moment. Do you believe…or do you believe? In your own life, is Jesus a genie in a bottle, a cosmic vending machine, a magician? A person whom you follow for the miracles He can perform?
Or is He more? Have you seen the light of His love? Do you trust Him beyond your circumstances: beyond failing health, failing economies, failing relationships? Do you seek him for more than signs and wonders? Do you seek Him as Savior?
Let Him reign in your heart today, unchallenged by any lesser thing. Confess the idolatrous distractions and seek him for more than a sign. Seek Him as redeemer. Seek him as friend. Believe that your only hope is in Him and in that knowledge…rejoice!

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