THE MASTER PHYSICIAN IS AVAILABLE
8/18/2012 9:05:23 PM -
Therefore He came again to Cana of Galilee where He had made the water wine. And there was a royal official whose son was sick at Capernaum. When he heard that Jesus had come out of Judea into Galilee, he went to Him and was imploring Him to come down and heal his son; for he was at the point of death. So Jesus said to him, Unless you people see signs and wonders, you simply will not believe." The royal official said to Him, "Sir, come down before my child dies."
Jesus said to him, "Go; your son lives." The man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him and started off. As he was now going down, his slaves met him, saying that his son was living. So he inquired of them the hour when he began to get better. Then they said to him, "Yesterday at the seventh hour the fever left him." So the father knew that it was at that hour in which Jesus said to him, "Your son lives"; and he himself believed and his whole household (NASB).
Have you found yourself in a helpless situation before? Have you been desperate before? I watched 20/20 on ABC several years ago where Barbara Walters interviewed a wealthy entrepreneur. This man had grown up children and grand children. He also had everything that money could buy. He had given colossal amount of money for cancer research. This man had a rare form of cancer that physicians said was incurable or terminal. At one point in the interview Barbara Walters asked him would you give up all your wealth to have a cure. The man choked back tears and said, 'I would give up everything to be well so that I can spend time with my grand children.' I realized that the man did not know Jesus Christ. I could see that he was afraid of death.
How do you respond when death is staring you in the face? What do you do when a debilitating illness is about to snuff out your life prematurely? Where do you go when you are for the first time helpless and powerless? To whom do you turn when all the odds are against you and time is running out? Let's go into the Word of God to explore a wealthy and noble man who found himself in a similar predicament I have described for you and what he did as we deal with the message: 'The Master Physician Is Available.'
The word translated royal official literally means king's man. He is one of Herod's most trusted officials. He lives in the town of Capernaum, probably in a well-manicured villa on a chalky cliff overlooking the scalloped blue sparkle of the Galilean Sea. He is a soft-cushioned life with servants padding around the estate to attend to his every need.
He has wealth, rank, and privilege. But none of these can help him now. Not even Herod, with his entire imperial jurisdiction, can help. A high temperature has reduced his little boy of boundless energy to a limp rag doll, melting feverishly away into the bed sheets.
The man's service to Herod has rewarded him well. He has beautiful home, a depiction of ornate furnishings, Epicurean delights to satiate the most discriminating palates. He has all kinds of suitable clothes for the king's most elaborate festivities. He is a wealthy man. Understandable when his son fell sick, his wealth was the first thing he turned to.
He hired the best physicians money could buy. But a clutter of vials by the boy's bedside gives mute testimony to their agnostic diagnoses. The father has exhausted everything from exotic medicines professionals have prescribed to folk remedies suggested by his servants. He is desperate therefore he will try anything now. Have you been in a situation where you felt that you were not in control? Have you felt vulnerable in a circumstance that was beyond your control? The delight of the man's life is slipping away before his very eyes. The life of his boy is ebbing away inch by inch. Have you been in a situation where you felt like doing everything you can to change things, but there was nothing you could do to reverse the situation? Do I have a witness in the house?
The royal officer and his wife stay up all night hovering over the boy, sponging down his inflamed body. Servants shuffle in and out to change the bed sheets, to bring dry towels and fresh basins of water and a few words of consolation. But now there is nothing more that can be done, except to wait and hope.
Sadly, the Galilean dawn fails to send even a pale ray of hope their way. The official sits on the terrace, staring blankly at the impassive sea. His eyes are puffy from the nightlong vigil; his body is numb, his heart is dull and heavy. And pulsing from the heart is a relentless rhythm of questions: What would all the trappings of success matter if he loses his boy? What would his job matter, or his rambling estate? What difference would his status and wealth make if he lost his son to the grim reaper--death?
In an incriminating moment of truth he realizes that all his wealth, all his rank, and all his privilege means nothing. He would gladly trade them for the life of his son. But that is one thing his money can't buy. Money can serve many purposes in life, but it cannot buy life. This is the hard reality that many wealthy and powerful people have not learned. Money is not the panacea to everything. I don't want to "rub it in" but the death of the President of Ghana is a testament to this truth. The painful throb of questions continues to disturb this royal official's mind.
What would it be like without his son playing in the yard, building his little pretended fortresses among the rose flowers? What would it be like without him scampering through the house, his boyish noises trailing playfully in his wake? What would it be like not setting a place for him at the dinner table? The father buries his face in his hand and weeps for his son, the little boy he may never again tuck into bed, the play-worn little legs he may never again rub, the eager little ears he may never again tell bedtime stories to. Never again. The thought falls on him with the sharp finality of an executioner's blade.
His royal official palms are wet with regret for working too hard and for being gone so much. His eyes are wet for missing out on so many of the priceless moments in his little boy's childhood. Moments he could have never buy back, regardless of his wealth, rank, or privilege. He sits slumped in a despondent heap.
When the day servants begin their shift, one of them ventures hesitantly to his side to tell him about Jesus about the incredible things people were saying about Him, about this miraculous power He had to heal the sick and maybe, if He could just talk Jesus into coming to see the boy. No sooner is the suggestion accepted than the official readies himself for the twenty-five mile trek to Cana, where Jesus is staying. He arrives at the village in a frantic search for this miracle worker, for Jesus is his last hope. Is Jesus your last anchor of hope in life?
Finding Him, he breathes a sigh of relief. But he does something that is uncharacteristic of a man of his position. He begs Jesus. Powerful men don't beg. Rich men don't beg. Influential people don't beg, but this royal official begs Jesus. He begs for the life of his little boy, the little boy he will never hug again, never see grow up, if Jesus doesn't come to his bedside. This rich man is desperate.
Oddly and strangely, Jesus does not respond with the compassion that is so characteristic of Him. Instead, He rebukes the man. Unless you people see miraculous signs and wonders, you will not believe. Do I have a witness in this house? Is Jesus speaking to somebody here today? There are some of you who have spent all of your money and energy looking for a miracle. Do you hear what Jesus is saying to you? Some of you are jumping from church to church and prophet to prophet for a quick fix but you would not come to Jesus Himself. Whatever happened to faith in Jesus?
Jesus had been front-page news in Israel. But the news making the rounds was sensationalistic. And the atmosphere surrounding Christ was fast becoming that of a circus. 'Step right up and see signs and wonders performed before your eyes! Come one, come all! See the Miracle Worker in action!' You read them in the local and state papers. They advertise themselves. Christian television is full of them every day. They abound in numbers in Ghana and elsewhere in Africa and the United States. They advertize themselves as the great and anointed prophets and miracle workers.
That is not what Jesus wanted. He didn't want to become a sideshow attraction. He didn't want the kingdom of God to become some cotton candy experience that would melt sweetly in their mouths and then be gone.
With his hands clutching Jesus' robe, the royal official falls to his knees, pleading, begging, imploring. Sir, come down before my child dies. The translators of the New Testament to English did a great work in this translation when they used the word 'Sir.' The word is the Greek kurios, which means Lord or Sir. Sir is a word of respect. The officer cannot call Jesus Lord because he has not as yet placed his faith in Him. There are some of you who cannot call Jesus Lord because you don't know Him as personal Savior.
The officer's voice cracks as tears wend their way down his cheeks. The spilling emotion flashes a memory in Jesus' mind. He remembers His Father's eyes, the paternal concern in them, the love, the emotion. He knows He will see those same eyes again when He goes to heaven, but suddenly, the chronic ache of not seeing His Father becomes acute. He remembers the painful rending of their last embrace. He turns His eyes to the man on his knees. Jesus then says to him, "You may go, your son will live." These are words of perfect assurance from the Great Physician Himself.
For a moment the father hesitates. The answer is not quite what he expected. This reminds me of the Syrian officer, Naaman who was afflicted with leprosy and was directed to come to Elisha. Now you get what I am saying. This officer expects Jesus to return with him to his house. But as the father rises from his knees, he takes the step of faith. He takes Jesus at His word and turns his tear-streaked face toward home. The man's faith puts many Christians to shame. When Jesus speaks in His word to many Christians today, they refuse to take the step of faith. They begin to doubt His word, not this man. Jesus has sown a seed in the tear-soaked soil of the father's heart. And with the decision to take Jesus at His word, the first stirring of faith begins to germinate. What is faith? Faith is the assurance of things hope for, the conviction of things not seen (Heb. 11:1).
The man would be up early the next morning. He would return home to the embrace of his servants, his wife and his little boy. Faith would spring to life and take root in that garden villa overlooking the sea. And there it would flourish, its scented blossoms cascading over the terraced walls, bursting with brilliant colors.
Colors this father had never seen before. Colors so vibrant that all his wealth, all his rank, and all his privilege paled in comparison. Colors that highlighted to this prominent man what were really important in life, the son he now held in his arms and the Savior he now held in his heart. When the man inquires of the time his boy got well, he becomes amazed that it was the same time that Jesus had told him his son was alive. At their response, the wealthy official and his household put their faith in Jesus Christ. Hallelujah, glory be to God. The word 'believe' does not capture the essence of the Greek word pistio. The word means 'he faithed' in Jesus; in other words, he committed his trust in Jesus; he put his faith in Jesus. How is your situation today? What are you carrying today? What burden are you carrying? What problems are giving you sleepless nights? What is bothering you in life? The Master Physician is available to you. He is inviting you to come. He says, "Come unto Me all you who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest." Jesus is willing to give you rest from anything that is weighing you down. The final question is, "have you put your faith in Jesus Christ?" Is He the center of your life? You have the opportunity to do it today. Do not leave wherever you are until you have made Jesus your Lord and Savior.
Now back to my story about the Barbara Walters' interview; on that day I wish I could shout to the TV set to the ear of the rich man, "Come to Jesus, the Master Physician and he will save and heal you." I extend the same invitation to you today.
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