Just recently, I found myself reading a familiar story in the Bible, when a phrase leapt off the page at me. This doesn’t happen often but, when it does, it makes me sit up, pay attention, jot it down – and ponder.

It is that pondering, which has led to this, my ‘thought for the month‘ reflection for June.

(If you’re new around here, this is the archive all of my ‘thought for the month‘ reflections.)


The phrase I’ve been pondering can be found in John 4: 50. It is recorded in the context of a story set out in John 4:43-54, and it simply says this: “The man took Jesus at his word”.

The man in question is a royal official, whose work is based in King Herod’s court.

He lives in Capernaum, and he has just walked north, from the shores of Sea Galilee, all the way to Cana, nearly 20 miles away, specifically to find Jesus.

The reason? The official’s son is seriously sick, close to death, and in desperate needs a healing miracle – and the official has heard that Jesus is in the business of signs, wonders, and healing miracles.

So he pleads with Jesus, begging him to come from Cana to Capernaum, to heal his son before it’s too late. The Greek word used suggests that he was repeatedly imploring him. He has it fixed in his mind that Jesus needs to accompany him home to heal his son.

But rather than accepting the invitation, Jesus simply stays put and says to him: “Go, your son will live.”

It is then that the man takes Jesus at his word, departs, and heads for home.

Jesus doesn’t come with him; he doesn’t have any direct contact with the official’s sick son. Yet while the official is on his way, his servants meet him with the news that the boy has been healed – and that it happened instantaneously, at the exact time that Jesus had declared he would live.

The outcome? The official and his entire household put their faith in Jesus.

Jesus is no longer just a miracle-worker who they are superficially seeking; he is now their Messiah with whom they have had a profound encounter. He is no longer simply there to help them out in an emergency; he is now there all the time, when things are going well and also when they aren’t.


Thinking through this story has forced me to take a long, hard look at my faith in Jesus – and to ask myself whether I have the same faith as the royal official in this story.

“The man took Jesus at his word.”

Do I take Jesus at his word?

I have several friends who are seriously sick at the moment. Like the official’s son, they are in desperate need of healing miracles – and like the official, I know that Jesus is in the business of signs, wonders, and healing miracles, so I have been pleading with him to come and heal them.

With each one, his response has been different. But with each one, he has spoken specific Scriptures and prophetic promises into what is going on.

And so I keep finding myself wrestling and wrangling …

When Jesus promises to bring what’s needed into a situation of need, do I take him at his word? When he speaks a declaration into a situation of need, but then feels far away from those who are involved, do I take him at his word? When he wants me to trust that his timing will be absolutely perfect, do I take him at his word?

The official didn’t need to be present with his son when the healing came. He didn’t have to witness it in the moment. He simply believed that, because Jesus had said it, it would happen.

Do I believe that what Jesus says will happen? Even when it feels a long time coming? Even when it feels like my faith is waning? Even then, will I take Jesus at his word?

This month, I am consciously pressing in to take hold of what Jesus is declaring in each situation, because I am determined to take him at his word.


So let me ask you some questions to close:

When life turns tough, how do you respond? When you are hit by a curve ball crisis, do you become bitter and angry with God? Or do you, like the royal official in this story, turn immediately to Jesus and invite him into the situation?

Are you or your loved ones facing situations of desperate need? Are you, like the official’s son, in serious need of a healing miracle? If so, what is Jesus saying about it? Have you been able to listen and hear his still, small voice? And where he has spoken prophetic promises, are you taking him at his word?

How often do we expect God to answer in our way, and our timing? What if God is teaching us to trust that, if we let him do things in his way, and his timing, he will deliver what’s needed?

And why is it important that we believe in Jesus for who he is, rather than for what he can do for us in life’s crises?

As ever, constructive thoughts are welcome in the comments.


Image by stempow via Pixabay


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