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Sunday, March 18, 2012

for Monday (March 19) Gospel: signs



Gospel Reading:
 John 4:43-54 (alternate reading: Matthew 1:16,18-21,24)
43 After the two days he departed to Galilee. 44 For 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 Caper'na-um 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 for ever 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.

 
Reflection
Do you approach the Lord Jesus with expectant faith for healing, pardon, and transformation in Christ-like holiness? Isaiah prophesied that God would establish a new heavens and earth when he came to restore his people. Jesus’ miracles are signs that manifest the presence and power of God’s kingdom. 

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 miracle cure from a small town carpenter." 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 cronies. 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 discouraged or irritated, 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 leave Jesus and go back home only with the assuring word that his son would be healed.

 Couldn't Jesus have come to this man's home and touched his dying child? The court official believed in Jesus and took him at his word without doubt or hesitation.

 He was ready to return home and face ridicule and laughter because he trusted in Jesus' word.

 God's mercy shows his generous love – a love that bends down in response to our misery and wretchedness.

 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 half way 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.

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