Jesus has run into a problem with his ministry – it is attracting rubber neckers. There are loads of spectators hanging round just waiting to be amused with the next miracle. They want bigger, more spectacular miracles; they want a good show. Jesus didn’t come to entertain he came to save. He is looking for disciples – people who will submit to God’s authority and plans for their lives. Onlookers do not make good disciples; they stand at the fringes cynically watching, evaluating; never daring to get involved or commit themselves fully. Being a disciple is a challenging role; being an on-looker makes no such demands on us.
In contrast a royal official personally comes 20 miles to ask Jesus to heal his son. Jesus heals his son at a distance to push back against the travelling circus paradigm that has been thrust on him. It takes faith for the official to walk away having seen nothing, but with Jesus’ voice ringing in his ears, “Your son will live”. It took humility and faith to approach Jesus, but it took more to walk away seemingly empty handed.
- How would you feel as the royal official? What were your expectations of Jesus?
- Are you sometimes tempted to be an on-looker rather than a disciple, why is that?
- Why does a prophet have no honour in his own country? (v44) Is this a good thing or a bad thing?
May we have the faith to be whole hearted disciples.