Summary: If we are going to have our needs met: 1. We have to come to Jesus. 2. We have to overcome obstacles. 3. We have to take Jesus at his word.
It’s being called a medical miracle. Chastity Cooper, 24, of Warsaw, Kentucky, gave birth to her daughter Alexis Michelle on Monday, July 23, 2001, at University Hospital. But Chastity never knew she was pregnant. She was in a coma the entire time she was pregnant, except for the first two weeks. Her coma was the result of a car crash last November where she sustained severe head injuries. There has been some slight improvement in Chastity, but she is still described as being in a permanent vegetative state. Little Alexis was a healthy, full-term baby, weighing in at 7 pounds, 7 ounces, and her father Steve Cooper says that he swears that Chastity smiled when he showed her the baby. It is one of the only cases ever recorded where the mother was in a coma the entire duration of the pregnancy.
In the Scripture today we are presented with another medical miracle which truly was a miracle. A Roman official walked from his home in Capernaum to Cana after he learned that Jesus had arrived there. When he found Jesus, he begged him to come and heal his son. Jesus told him to leave for home and he would find his son well. He did exactly what Jesus said, and before he arrived at his home, his servants met him on the way with the news that his son was alive and well. As a result of the miracle, the official and all those in his home placed their complete faith in Jesus.
I see in this story a model for how we are to approach God with our needs. The first thing this story tells us is, that if we are going to have Jesus meet our needs: We have to go to Jesus. That may sound too obvious at first, but there are many people with needs who go everywhere and to everyone but Jesus. If you saw the movie with Tom Hanks entitled Cast Away, you know who Wilson is. Wilson is a volleyball which floated ashore in a package after the FedEx plane, in which Hanks was riding, crashed into the sea during a bad storm. Hanks plays Chuck Noland, a fast-paced FedEx executive who gets stranded on a remote island in the South Pacific after his plane crashes, with little chance for survival. In trying to survive, he tries to start a fire with a sharp stick and cuts his hand severely. In anger, he takes the volleyball and throws it as hard as he can. When it lands he sees that his bloody hand has made an imprint which looks like a fiery head. With his finger he fashions a face in the blood — an idol, if you will. He talks to his new friend. You could even say he prays to Wilson as he attempts to make a fire. All through the film he communicates with this volleyball, asking his help and currying his friendship. The interesting thing is that nowhere in the film does Tom Hanks every talk to God. He prays to the volleyball, but never to God. Now, you have to ask yourself why he has more trust in a volleyball than God. But then you have to ask why other people trust in all kinds of things rather than God. They will talk to their friends. They will call Dr. Laura. They will read a self-help book. But they will not come to Jesus. Maybe the key word here is “self-help.” We have more trust in self-help than God’s help.
It is interesting that the man in our story today is described as a royal official. He is most likely a Roman official who was overseeing that area of Galilee in some capacity. According to Roman law, he would have had authority over Jesus, who was merely a peasant living in his jurisdiction. But he did not come giving orders, he came to Jesus in humility. He was a nobleman, but he humbled himself and came to Jesus. There are many people who do not come to Jesus because they have to humble themselves to come. They have to admit that they cannot do it by themselves. They have to admit that they have a need. And that is hard for some people. If they could come to Jesus while standing tall and proud they would come, but when they have to come with head bowed they will not do it.
When this man came to Jesus, he also put forth effort. He walked 20 miles from his home in Capernaum to Cana where Jesus was. As I read this passage, I began to wonder how many sick people there were all around Jesus that day. How many people who knew Jesus was in the area had sick family members? Remember that Cana is where Jesus performed his first miracle. People should have known him as a miracle worker, but no one came with their need except one man. And the man was not from the area; he lived a long distance away. And neither was he a Jew. He was not of their faith when he first arrived. He was a Roman who worshiped little pagan gods like Tom Hanks’ “Wilson.” But this Roman official was the one who came to Jesus, while those who should have placed their faith in Jesus did not come. How many people missed a healing that day? How many people missed a touch from God simply because they did not come? It is no different today. Jesus is here, ready and waiting for someone to put forth the small amount of effort it would be to come, and they simply do not bother. But if you are going to have your needs met, you have to come to Jesus.