Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Go thy way, thy son liveth

The healing of the nobleman's son is found in the Gospel of John. It is the first healing mentioned specifically following the changing of the water into wine at the wedding feast. After that incident, word of his activities had begun to pass from village to village. It had reached a certain nobleman in Capernaum, who hearing that Jesus had returned to the area, sought him out to heal his sick child.

Some Bible commentaries think this man was Herod's stewart, whose wife was among the women that later ministered to Jesus from their own personal means. There must have been remarkable healings being attributed to the Master for this wealthy and influential man to leave the bedside of his dying son to ask for aid.

Jesus' response seems a bit stern. "Unless you see signs and wonders you will not believe". The father did not come seeking teaching and instruction, with a desire to change his own thoughts, but only to get healing for his child, a healing no one else could have provided.

Despite the comment, the father urges Jesus to come back with him. He links the healing work with the physical presence of the healer, quite unlike the Centurion who will later understand that Jesus has but to speak the word and his servant will be healed. This father does not believe that Jesus could raise the dead, so he urges him to go with him before things get to that.

Jesus does not consent to go with him but sends him on his way with the assurance that the child will not die, but lives. The father is content with this so, in effect, this is a double healing for now the father's fear has been healed. He believes the word Jesus has spoken, expecting to find his child recovering.

As the nobleman is returning home, confident of the healing, he is met by his servants, come with news of his son, saying he lives. The father asks when the boy began to get better and they reply that at a certain time the fever left him altogether, no lingering after effects. Then he knew it had occured when Jesus told him the boy lived.

How many of us, seeking the help of a practitioner, would be willing to 'go our way' after being assured the need has been met, the healing was complete? The Christ is every bit as present today as it was then. The power of the word is every bit as effective here as it was in Galilee.

In Science and Health Mrs. Eddy writes: "Divine Love always has met and always will meet every human need. It is not well to imagine that Jesus demonstrated the divine power to heal only for a select number or for a limited period of time, since to all mankind and in every hour, divine Love supplies all good:. (S&H 494)

The whole household had certainly been aware of the crisis and the journey to seek aid. Perhaps they had all been praying for this miracle while the nobleman was away. Imagine the reunion when he returned and could confirm the healing coinciding with Jesus' word. That whole household believed and that may have explained his wife's support of Jesus' ministry following this event. Are we as supportive of the Christ when our need has been met? Are we as confident that the Christ can heal with a word? Are we ready to 'go our way', get up out of that sickbed, go back to our daily routine, knowing that we have appealed to divine Love and the human need has been completely and fully met with no time necessary for recovery?

It certainly is something to think about.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

A fresh look at Mary washing Jesus' feet

I love it when there is a fresh way to look at a familiar Bible story. This morning I was reading an article that brought the incident of Mary washing Jesus' feet into a new light. Just suppose that Mary was not crying with remorse for her past life but had come to learn more of his teachings, sitting humbly by his feet, only to see that he was not being treated with respect. His feet had not been washed. Might this not have prompted those tears on his behalf? She had not brought any water or towels with her so it does not appear that it was her original intention to do this for him. But seeing it, she uses her own tears and her own hair to perform this humble service.

What a contrast to Simon the Pharisee's attitude. He was sitting at the head table, looking at Jesus with condemnation for allowing this woman to touch him this way. The Jews believed that contact with a person considered unclean defiled you. Simon was not at Jesus feet, listening with respect or asking questions or even asking to be forgiven for his sins. This woman had that attitude. So who was the more unclean?

How do we respond when we see the Christ or Christian Science not being treated with respect? Do we show our love by our actions? Or if someone comes to our services or a lecture who has problems do we look down our noses at them, not choosing to speak a friendly word or give a smile?

I will be thinking about my own actions and reactions today. Mary or Simon?