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Jesus the life-bringer

– Monday of the 4th Week of Lent –

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 [John 4:46-47]

In yesterday’s reflection, we introduced the idea that the gospel writer is more interested in presenting the truth about Jesus than he is in recording historical events as they happened. That is not to say that these things did not happen. Instead, it is to note that they have a level of significance over and above the simple desire to record the event itself.

So, what is the significance of this account of the healing of the royal official’s son for us? If we look at it purely historically, it is of limited interest. It is simply an account of another miracle of Jesus – great for the official and his son, but not often part of our experience. However, if we approach it as revealing something about our relationship with God in Christ, then it takes on new meaning, and the purpose of this account becomes apparent.

It represents the continuation of a major theme in John’s gospel: that Jesus is the one who brings life. In Jesus, we see the fulfilment of God’s plan to address the human inability to see beyond death. Death is the one thing that none of us can avoid. With ingenuity and determination, there is much human beings can successfully achieve, but the ultimate avoidance of death is not one of them. The son of the royal official represents the hope and desire for a future that resides within every human being.

The account of the healing of this boy presents us with the power of God in Jesus to call life out of death. It is a story about us.

By Shane Dwyer

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