Every year in elementary school, there was one event that attempted to separate the mental men from the boys . . . one event that drew the attention of students and parents everywhere. What was this event? The Science Fair. I every year, I would make a project . . . and lose every time.
While some students were discovering the theory of relativity, I was relatively impressed with my project, “Which carpet cleaner works best: Scotch or Resolve!” While some students were putting together computer “mother boards” to power robots that could make dinner for you, my mother was impressed by my card board box covered with hand drawn images that represented video games I “designed,” complete with a tape recording of me making the related sounds these games would produce.
Every year, as the projects would be displayed at the Fair, and as all the ribbons would go to my friends, I would begin to rationalize my performance. “My friends must not have designed their own projects,” I would muse. “Their father who is a research scientist must have worked their project for them.” Of course, in my reasoning, the answer must not have been that they were just better at science than me. The must be some other explanation!
As these friends have gone on in life to become engineers, research scientists, and medial doctors, however, I am forced to realize that my original assessment was not accurate. Though I had the right information (their projects were better than mine), I was drawing the wrong conclusions (they must have cheated.)
I was thinking about this reality as I read John 4:43-5:15 and pondered the reactions of people to the miracles of Christ. Compared to the religious leaders of Jesus day, His actions and methodology stood out in their power and authority. Though people all saw these same awesome acts of Jesus Christ, they did not all respond in the same way. When the Royal Official from Capernaum is told by Christ that his son would be healed, the official “took Jesus at His word and departed.” Later we find out that the Royal Official and all his household believed in Jesus Christ. Later, though, the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem, after seeing Jesus heal a lifelong paralytic, assume that Jesus was cheating the Father’s Sabbath. The Royal Official in Capernaum and the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem both got right information about Jesus Christ, but they had different responses. Though the Jewish leaders had right information, they made the wrong conclusion.
Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and His actions are always impressive, and they are always right, however, sometimes, we find ourselves not reacting rightly to the revelation we receive of Jesus Christ. Sometimes when things don’t work out the way we had hoped, we might be tempted to draw the wrong conclusion that Jesus is not in control or that He does not care about us in our time of need. While it may be right that things are not working out to our plan, it is wrong to ever conclude that Jesus is anything less than our holy and loving God.
The spiritual life is not simply a life of observation, it is a life of our response to God’s revelation. We should follow the example of the Royal Official and always take Jesus at His word and believe.