The Rev. Canon Kelly Brown Douglas
When the two days were over, he went from that place to Galilee (for Jesus himself had testified that a prophet has no honor in the prophet’s own country). When he came to Galilee, the Galileans welcomed him, since they had seen all that he had done in Jerusalem at the festival; for they too had gone to the festival.
Then he came again to Cana in Galilee where he had changed the water into wine. Now there was a royal official whose son lay ill in Capernaum. 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. Then Jesus said to him, “Unless you see signs and wonders you will not believe.” The official said to him, “Sir, come down before my little boy dies.” Jesus said to him, “Go; your son will live.” The man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him and started on his way. As he was going down, his slaves met him and told him that his child was alive. So he asked them the hour when he began to recover, and they said to him, “Yesterday at one in the afternoon the fever left him.” The father realized that this was the hour when Jesus had said to him, “Your son will live.” So he himself believed, along with his whole household. Now this was the second sign that Jesus did after coming from Judea to Galilee.
“Good is good all the time, all the time God is good,” is a familiar mantra of faith. But what about the times when death and despair, or injustice and inequity are all around us and it appears that God is not? What then becomes the mantra of our faith?
It is these times to which today’s gospel speaks. Jesus comes to his hometown of Galilee, where the people were still reticent to believe He was a prophet let alone the Messiah—ushering in a new day where suffering and dying would be no more, and God’s life-giving and healing love would reign.
Essentially, if they were to believe that Jesus was who He said He was, then He needed to perform a miracle like He did in Cana. And, what greater miracle could there be but to heal a boy on the brink of death. “Come down before my son dies, the man said to Jesus.” Yet Jesus did not go. He simply replies, “Your son will live.” The text then says, “The man took Jesus at his word and departed.” He believed Jesus without seeing if his son had been saved. He trusted in Jesus’ word.
It is easy to believe in the love of God for us when all around is going well. But what about in those times when it is not? Do we need God to pull a miracle out of the hat in order for us to believe that no matter what, God has our back—and that neither death, nor principalities or powers or anything in all of creation will triumph over the life-giving love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus? This is the Lenten question for today: Do we need a miracle to believe or do we really trust in the Word of God that is Jesus?
Let me on this morning dwell on your unfailing love,
As I put my trust in you.
Show me the way I should go, for to you I entrust my life.
(Paraphrase of Psalm 143:8)