St Michael and All Angels

Observatory, Cape Town

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Trinity XXI : Fr Tony Hogg

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 Three times, like a refrain in a symphony, the words, ‘Thy son liveth’, sound forth. They 
declare the message. Life comes through the word of Jesus. He simply speaks. Neither
 physical proximity nor physical contact is necessary. From a distance, even beyond the range 
of sight, Jesus speaks, and life is the result. The words become events.
The nobleman must have had an inkling of faith, for his urgent need moved him to seek 
Christ. At least a glimmer of faith was necessary to believe that, if he could only convince 
Jesus the Healer to go to his only dying child, his son would be healed. This first example of 
Jesus’ healing ministry is important, and it emphasizes the link between miracles and faith. 
Those who desire to be healed or to have a loved one healed must exhibit faith.
Jesus’ miracles of healing are instructive in that they give us kinds and actions of faith. By 
refusing to go with the nobleman, Jesus emphasizes and illustrates the potency of strong 
faith. Another time, Jesus teaches that a miracle is not the cause of faith as much its reward. 
Belief in Christ the Healer leads them to belief in Christ as Saviour. This miracle is thought to 
be the first recorder miracle of healing by Jesus, and “many believed in His
 name when they saw the signs He did.” And no doubt caused a stir among every level of 
society. And as we know for over two thousand years Jesus has caused, and rightly continues 
to cause a stir in the four corners of the world.
We all desire divine intervention when we are in dire need; “there are no atheists in a 
foxhole”, it is said. Though the nobleman’s human faith was limited and weak, it is still real. 
Jesus helped him to develop it, leading to a deeper belief. However, no matter how strong 
our faith is, if it is in a wrong object, it will do nothing to relieve suffering, but if our faith is 
properly directed, despite being weak, it will bring deliverance and comfort.
Note, however, that faith itself does not relieve affliction, but the power of the One in whom 
we believe does.
The distance between Capernaum and Cana is over twenty miles, yet by the exercise of His 
will Jesus healed the dying boy by His word alone. The nobleman may have expected his son 
to recover gradually and progressively, but the cure was immediate and complete. The 
Gospels show that Jesus had no set formula for performing His miracles except to glorify the 
Father by them, yet his Miracles were not done haphazardly. He sometimes commanded the 
sick to be brought to Him, but at other times, He healed without seeing them. He could heal 
by either word or touch. Sometimes He would ask probing questions, but occasionally, He 
would act without discussion. In these various scenarios we can learn a variety of lessons.
The nobleman’s grief contained an inkling of faith, but he revealed its limits when he 
mentally limited Christ’s power to His immediate presence. The desperate father had just 
enough faith to believe that when Jesus was present, disease could be cured. So, fearing the 
loss of his son, he implored Jesus, “Sir, come down ere my child die.” He was naturally 
unaware that Jesus could heal from a distance as on the spot. Jesus’ observation, “Except ye 
see signs and wonders, ye will not believe”, is thus a mild rebuke. The nobleman failed to 
understand the scriptures that he sent His word and healed them, and delivered them from 
Following Jesus’ assurance that his son would live, the nobleman never doubted again. The 
text gives no indication of an emotional reaction or that he pressed Jesus for instructions; he 
simply started his return trip to Capernaum. He accepted Jesus’ word that his son was healed,
 and apparently, this knowledge comforted him that he felt little need to rush home. That 
inkling of faith that led him to Christ came to full blossom as he left Jesus.
When the nobleman was met by his servants with the wonderful news that his son had been
 healed the exact same time Jesus had said he was, the miracle is seen to have a double effect 
– the sick boy was healed of his deadly fever, and the father was convicted of his belief in 
Jesus. In order to have faith, we must believe that Jesus’ words are true. Too often, we may 
possess a vague faith, a blurred longing for His promises to His promises to be true. In reality 
we must cling to what Jesus says like a man gripping a cliff face over a deep chasm.
 Convinced that Jesus was the Christ by witnessing this healing, the nobleman, those with 
Jesus at the time, the servants, had the opportunity to grow in their belief to full faith if, but 
only if, they continued to seek Him further and believe Him further.
So, let us all, this week, trust implicitly in Christ and his word, so that we may live, and as 
members of the church, we will live and grow, and finding healing through that faith. Amen


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