“Go,” Jesus replied, “your son will live.” John 4:50; Then Jesus said to him, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.” John 5:8
This post is about two of the seven miraculous signs recorded in John’s Gospel. They’re the second and third signs and are relatively close together. So close in fact you might say they’re practically back-to-back miracles.
The first is about the healing of the official’s son in John 4:43-54, and the second follows in the very next chapter, John 5:1-15, and is the account of the healing of the invalid man at the Bethesda pool.
They pretty much happen one right after the other. And they definitely fall under the category of miraculous signs performed by Jesus, but that’s where the similarities end.
A Robert’s Rules of Order for Miracles?
I’m the kind of person that likes to find the order and consistency in things. I believe there’s a repeatable pattern to most things, or a formula you could follow to achieve predictable results, and success. It’s like, how would you feel if every computer keyboard you touched had its keys in a different place?
These miracles are about as different as two computers with vastly different keyboard placements. And while they may shatter our belief and hope in following a systematic pattern, protocol or steps to miracles, they are capable of revealing the powerful work of a loving Messiah. Who, despite our sin, insecurities, brokenness and lack of belief, demonstrates his love, mercy, forgiveness and healing power to us over, and over, and over again.
Consider this as proof there isn’t a one-size-fits-all miracle experience when it comes to Jesus’ healing works. Cast aside for the moment your assumptions of how you think miracles happen. Open your mind and heart. See in this there is in fact unpredictable and surprising details that characterize how miracles happen, and who they happen to.
Miracles are as Different as the People Jesus Healed
- One was a royal official of Gentile descent, while the other was a disadvantaged and disillusioned Jewish invalid
- One sought Jesus out for a miracle for his son, while the other laid disengaged on his mat
- One initiated the conversation with Jesus, while the other was approached by Jesus and spoken to first
- One was willing to beg Jesus for a miracle to save his son’s life, while the other blamed other people for not getting him into the pool on time when the waters were stirred
- One was believing in the power of Jesus to heal, while the other was hoping for an angel to stir the waters, and someone to lift him into the pool
- One knew exactly who Jesus was and what he was capable of, while the other didn’t even know the name of the one who healed him until later on
- One took Jesus at his word, acted accordingly and moved forward, while the other bemoaned his circumstances and played the victim
- One sought to confirm the miracle happened as Jesus said it would, while the other acted like a tattle tale with the Jewish leaders
- One believed in Jesus along with his entire household, while the other’s fate for a sinless and healthy future remained in serious doubt
- One was said to “live again” whose sickness was not said to be because of sin, while the other was said to be “well again,” but warned to stop sinning or something worse might happen to him
When you stop and think about it, isn’t it a wonder and a miracle in itself that Jesus would heal the son of one of Herod’s royal officials?
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16
And isn’t it remarkable, and a miracle in itself that Jesus would heal a habitual sinner, and someone who didn’t show any initial faith-interest in Jesus, but instead sought to turn him in to the authorities for breaking the Sabbath?
John said he wrote about the signs and miracles, “that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, and that by believing you may have life in his name.” John 20:31
Given these signs, it would therefore be reasonable to conclude: If these miracles involving Herod’s royal official and a long-time Jewish invalid doesn’t do something to move our hearts in an initial or stronger belief in a mighty, loving, merciful, forgiving and gracious Lord, what will?
Certainly not fostering belief in a one-size-fits-all miracle-producing Lord.