Monday (March 23)
Jesus – the divine physician
Gospel Reading: John 4:43-54
43 After two days, he departed to Galilee. 44 Jesus, himself testified that a prophet has no honor in his own country. 45 So when he came to Galilee, the Galileans welcomed him, having seen all that he had done in Jerusalem at the feast, for they too had gone to the feast. 46 So he came again to Cana in Galilee, where he had made the water wine. And at Capernaum, there was an official whose son was ill. 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 Jesus, therefore, said to him, “Unless you see signs and wonders you will not believe.” 49 The official said to him, “Sir, come down before my child dies.” 50 Jesus said to him, “Go; your son will live.” The man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him and went his way. 51 As he was going down, his servants met him and told him that his son was living. 52 So he asked them the hour when he began to mend, and they said to him, “Yesterday at the seventh hour the fever left him.” 53 The father knew that was the hour when Jesus had said to him, “Your son will live”; and he himself believed, and all his household. 54 This was now the second sign that Jesus did when he had come from Judea to Galilee.
Old Testament Reading: Isaiah 65:17-21
17 “For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth, and the former things shall not be remembered or come into mind. 18 But be glad and rejoice forever in that which I create; for behold, I create Jerusalem a rejoicing, and her people a joy. 19 I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and be glad in my people; no more shall be heard in it the sound of weeping and the cry of distress. 20 No more shall there be in it an infant that lives but a few days, or an old man who does not fill out his days, for the child shall die a hundred years old, and the sinner a hundred years old shall be accursed. 21 They shall build houses and inhabit them; they shall plant vineyards and eat their fruit.
Do you approach the Lord Jesus with expectant faith for healing, pardon, and transformation in Christ-like holiness?
Isaiah prophesied that God would come not only to restore his people, he would also come to recreate new heavens and new earth (Isaiah 65:17). Jesus’ miracles are signs that manifest the presence of God and the coming of his kingdom of power and glory. When a high ranking official, who was very likely from King Herod’s court, heard the reports of Jesus’ preaching and miracles, he decided to seek Jesus out for an extraordinary favor. If this story happened today the media headlines would probably say: “High ranking official leaves capital in search of a miracle cure from a small town carpenter.”
Believe and take Jesus at his word
It took raw courage for a high ranking court official to travel twenty miles in search of Jesus, the Galilean carpenter. He had to swallow his pride and put up with some ridicule from his friends. And when he found the healer carpenter, Jesus seemed to put him off with the blunt statement that people would not believe unless they saw some kind of miracle or sign from heaven. Jesus likely said this to test the man to see if his faith was in earnest. If he turned away in irritation or with discouragement, he would prove to be insincere. Jesus, perceiving his faith, sent him home with the assurance that his prayer had been heard.
It was probably not easy for this man to return to his family with only an assuring word from Jesus that his son would be healed. Couldn’t Jesus have come to this man’s house and laid his hands on the dying child? However, without a moment’s hesitation, the court official believed in Jesus and took him at his word. He began his journey back home with renewed faith and hope – ready to face whatever might await him – whether it be the anguish of his distraught family or the scorn of unbelieving neighbors. Before he could even make it all the way back to his home town, news reached him that his son had recovered. What astonishment must have greeted his family and friends when they heard that his son was instantly restored to health at the very moment when Jesus had pronounced the words – your son will live!
The Lord Jesus brings healing and restoration to those who trust in him
Jesus’ miraculous healings show his generous kindness and extravagant love – a love that bends down in response to our misery and wretched condition. Is there any area in your life where you need healing, pardon, change, and restoration? If you seek the Lord with trust and expectant faith, he will not disappoint you. He will meet you more than halfway and give you what you need. The Lord Jesus never refused anyone who put their trust in him. Surrender your doubts and fears, your pride and guilt at his feet, and trust in his saving word and healing love.
“Lord Jesus, your love never fails and your mercy is unceasing. Give me the courage to surrender my stubborn pride, fear, and doubts to your surpassing love, wisdom, and knowledge. Make be strong in faith, persevering in hope, and constant in love.”
2 O LORD my God, I cried to you for help, and you have healed me.
3 O LORD, you have brought up my soul from Sheol, restored me to life from among those gone down to the Pit.
4 Sing praises to the LORD, O, you, his saints, and give thanks to his holy name.
5 For his anger is but for a moment, and his favor is for a lifetime. Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning.
11 You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; you have loosed my sackcloth and girded me with gladness,
12 that my soul may praise you and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give thanks to you forever.
A Daily Quote for Lent: Christ our physician is present to bring healing and restoration, by Gregory the Great, 540-604 A.D.
“I see only one thing that I need to explain to you: why the one who had come for a cure heard the words ‘Unless you see signs and portents, you do not believe.’ The one who was seeking a cure for his son surely believed; he would not be seeking a cure from one he did not believe could do it.
“Why, then, did he hear the words ‘Unless you see signs and portents, you do not believe,’ when he believed before he saw the sign? But recall what he was asking, and you will see that his faith was in doubt. He asked Jesus earnestly to come down and heal his son. He was asking for the physical presence of the Lord, who is nowhere absent in his spirit. He had little faith in one he thought could not heal unless he was physically present. If he had believed completely, he would have known that there was no place where God was not present. He was considerably distrustful, then, since it was not the Lord’s greatness he esteemed but his physical presence. He sought a cure for his son even though his faith was in doubt, since he believed that the one he had approached had the power to cure, and yet he thought he was not with his dying son. But the Lord whom he asked to come revealed that he was not absent from the place he was invited to. He who created everything by his will performed the cure by his command alone.”