Desperate in Affliciton
I have talked with many people who have gone to faith healers, even though they had no desire
to learn the things of God. There were people like that in Jesus's day as well, people who were desperate due to their afflictions. They pursued Him for the benefit they could derive from Him without any sense of repentance for their sins, without any intent to bow to Him as Lord, and without any willingness to receive Him as their Savior. The Gospel of John tells us that there was a certain nobleman whose son was ill. He petitioned Jesus for help, which was evidence of his faith. We must never discount the fact that our inward desire to ask Jesus for help, even in our darkest hour, is an exercise of faith. Jesus’ response was confronting; even thought by some to
be rude. "Unless you people see signs and wonders, you will by no means believe.” Jesus did not grant the request. And you might say, well if Jesus really cared, then when He saw the man in absolute agony about his life, and his son, why wouldn’t He say, “I'll go to your home and help at once”. One of the reasons I believe Jesus refused was because Jesus recognized that the man came to Him out of an earthly need, one that had nothing to do with the desire for salvation. Jesus persisted with His demand for true faith (faith does not have to see miracles before believing), while at the same time Jesus responded to the man's desperation with compassion. Jesus said, “You may go, your son will live.” Jesus was both demanding unquestioning faith in His word, and promising the healing for which the man asked. We’re like those people. We have calluses on our hearts. It's as if we're not going to believe or trust ourselves to Christ unless we see Him work wonders before our eyes. There's a lot of that skepticism in the world today. To his credit, this nobleman, in the midst of his desperation, heard the promise of Christ and believed it. He trusted the word of Christ. He didn't say, "I'll just go see if that's true." Rather he grew calm, he stopped pleading, and he departed. His trust was well-placed. With that, he himself believed, and his whole household.
This man and his household were examples of those who exercised true faith in Jesus. This is a glimpse of the person of Christ, the person who, by His command, and very word, brings life out of death, safety out of danger, healing out of disease, salvation out of lost-ness. This is our Jesus in whom we believe. This is why we’re called Christians.