Trinity 21, 2012
Delivered By
Pr. Lovett
Delivered On
October 14, 2012
Central Passage
John 446-54

In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit.

Wouldn’t it be great if Jesus was still around healing our sick sons and daughters and really answering our prayers? Those folks who are worried about the size of the congregation and Sunday attendance wouldn’t have to worry anymore. Everyone would be flocking to Jesus for His healing touch, His healing word; just like they do in the Bible. If we could say to our neighbors and friends, “Hey, that guy that changed water into wine is going to be here Sunday!” We just know they would flock to the doors and fill our pews and we could sit back, relax, and watch our safety net grow and grow and grow.
But we seem to forget that everyone in the Bible, even His own disciples, deserted and left Him to die. Even those He’d healed and brought back to life. No one stood in His defense. No one stood with Him. None of the miracles of healing and feeding and making things better caused anyone to be where the Son of Man was. In the end, He sought them out and only His word brought them back. His word, “Do not be afraid; peace be with you.” Only His word creates faith and makes disciples and causes fearful men to stand with strength.
The fact is that the guy that changed water into wine is here. No one needs to leave Hoisington to find Him or to pray to Him. He’s been among His people ever since He ascended on high. When He ascended on high He filled all things and makes Himself known in the breaking of the bread. He is wherever His Body is, wherever the saints are gathered in His name, hearing His word and receiving heavenly food from His hand. He is throughout the world, proclaiming the kingdom and healing every disease, and teaching His disciples, His catechumen all that He has commanded.
And He is hearing and answering our prayers.
That’s what the official whose son was sick wanted. He wanted Jesus to answer his prayer. “Lord, my son is sick unto death, come and heal him!” It was a prayer, not unlike your prayers. Whether for better health or to be pain free or to be worry free or to be depression free; whether it is for a more understanding husband or more loving wife or a prayer for a child. You pray as this man prayed. “Lord, my life is sick unto death, come down and heal it!”
In the end, that’s all any of us want: healing. We want those things that disrupt our lives to go away, be done away with. Those broken relationships you have with family and friends, the brokenness you have in your body, they are broken. They need healing. We need someone to heal us of all our troubles and problems. Everyone does. Even the unbeliever knows things are broken and dying and in need of healing. That’s why the unbeliever will build wonderful government programs to help the poor and underprivileged. That’s why even the unbeliever will fight for pro-life and build hospitals and care centers and fund disaster relief efforts. The whole world is broken and sick unto death. In their attempts to make things better and right wrongs and undo the damage of disaster the whole world is crying out like this man cried out, “Lord, come down and heal us!”
And the Lord answers, “Unless you see signs and wonders, you will not believe.” What an odd answer. Who’s He talking to? Surely not the official whose son is sick unto death. He already believes. That’s why he’s asking Him to come down to His house. It’s as if Jesus didn’t quite hear the man’s request right. One can imagine that’s what the official thought: “Why’d He say that, I wonder?” So, unsure of what to think of Jesus’ cryptic answer about signs and wonders, the official ignores it simply repeats his prayer: “Lord, come down before my child dies.”
But Jesus knew the man. He knew that the official had come because he’d heard that Jesus changed water into wine. If He did that, He could do this. If He gave the couple wine that wasn’t even needed, a frivolous miracle, then surely He can do this that is needed; healing the boy of a desperate father. That’s why and how we pray, isn’t it? Because we’ve seen signs and wonders. Not just the miracles of the Bible like water into wine or the widow of Nain’s dead son sitting up, miracles of fantastic proportion. But we see the miracles of our daily lives and pray based on them. We see our neighbor come home from the hospital cancer free, so we pray for our healing or the healing of our loved one. Why not, Lord? You healed that other guy? We see our friends come home with new babies when we want a baby. Lord, give me a child. We see our brothers and sisters living in seeming better marriages and better lives and so we pray, “Lord, come and heal my marriage; heal my life.”
Your prayers are not wicked, they are good. Like a father praying for the healing of his child. The Lord doesn’t rebuke the man’s prayer, and neither does He rebuke your prayers. Far be it from the Lord to rebuke those who seek His mercy and grace. He is not a God who is far off, but who is near. He is not a God who is powerless to help, but is Himself our salvation. And He wants you to call upon Him in every trouble and to pray. The Lord was not rebuking the official for his prayer. He was making him a better man. The Lord was transforming him into a man of faith, a child of God for whom death holds no fear; a man in His own image.
Jesus doesn’t answer the man’s prayer; not directly. He didn’t go down with him to his house. And He didn’t say to him, “Your son is made well.” Jesus stayed where He was and said to the man, “Go, your son will live.” It wasn’t what the man prayed for. It was better than what he prayed for. It wasn’t just a healing of the disease. It was the promise of life in the face of all disease. Death was not so much thwarted as life was promised. It wasn’t the miracle of just being healed. It was the miracle of being given life. The man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him and went on his way.
Jesus’ word created a better and greater faith in the man than the sign of water into wine. Jesus’ word created a faith that didn’t just lead to healing but leads to life. This is how the Son of Man answers your prayers and the prayers of the whole world: Go, your son will live.
Your son, O man, will live. The Son of Man will rise and bring healing in His wings. He will rise and give life to the lifeless and breathe eternal breath into the eternally dead. Your son lives and brings joy to your home, O man. Your son lives and bring prosperity to your household. Your son lives and it is a day of rejoicing and festal gathering. Your son lives and the darkness of the night and the fear of death and the disappointment of failure and fatigue have vanished.
Here is my word to you: Go, your son will live. A better word than healing; a better word than fix-it-nows and make-it-better. He will make the good eternal and will establish blessing forever. Your Son is risen, O man! Go your way, your Son lives!
Jesus is the answer to all your prayers. You pray for healing, you are given the risen body of Jesus. You pray for wealth and security, you are given the eternal kingdom of your heavenly Father. You pray for better marriage, you are made the Bride of Christ. You pray for a child and you are given a Son. Jesus is the answer to all your prayers. In Him you live and move and have your being. He is the reality, this world is the façade. He is the firstborn of God’s creation. He is the light of the world and in Him is the life of all men. He is the light shining in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it.
Whatever you have prayed for this week or this morning, and everything for which you shall pray, here is your answer, O man, here is the Christ; the Son of Man alive forevermore, come to change wine into blood and to heal the nations of all that afflicts them; come to give eternal life to those who call upon His name.
Behold, He makes all things new.
In Nomine Iesu
+ Amen +