Now there was a royal official whose son lay ill in Capernaum. When he heard that Jesus had come from Judea to Galilee, he went and begged him to come down and heal his son, for he was at the point of death. Then Jesus said to him, “Unless you see signs and wonders you will not believe.” The official said to him, “Sir, come down before my little boy dies.” Jesus said to him, “Go; your son will live.” The man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him and started on his way. As he was going down, his slaves met him and told him that his child was alive. So he asked them the hour when he began to recover, and they said to him, “Yesterday at one in the afternoon the fever left him.” The father realized that this was the hour when Jesus had said to him, “Your son will live.” So he himself believed, along with his whole household. – John 4: 46b – 53 NRSV
There are a number of different contexts into which we are placed to be witnesses. One that I’ve noticed is what I’m going to call “intentional witness.”
What do I mean by intentional? Well, I look to the story in John 4 as an example. This royal official set out specifically to encounter Jesus….in this case, “he went and begged him to come down and heal his son, for he was at the point of death.” This was no chance encounter…..he knew what Jesus might do, as he had undoubtedly heard about this amazing man. How else would he have known to go? And how might he have heard that Jesus had come back to Galilee from Judea? In hope and purpose, he set out to find him, meet him and beg him for his son’s life.
There appeared to be a ‘pause’ in Jesus’ response. His initial reply, “Unless you see signs and wonders you will not believe”, didn’t even slow the father down! He reiterated his plea on behalf of his son. Jesus spoke the healing to him (notice that he had come for Jesus to accompany him back to his son…this spoken healing was NOT what he had expected…). He believed him and headed home. On his way, others came to him and told him what had happened…HIS SON LIVED! How mind-boggling that might have seemed….so much so that he even time-checked the healing. He was expecting that the word of healing to have been the fact but asked for just that last little bit of faith-building verification. And it was so….
It was so….
It was so…
He son was alive…
It was so…
Nothing else is written about this man and his family, but one can well imagine his responses to anyone who asked, “So, how’s your boy?”
He had set out to find and meet Jesus.
He did, and he made his heart-filled plea to him about his son.
Jesus healed this man’s son. No doubt about it. Even checked the time, just to be sure…
He became an intentional witness to the power of God and his mercy.
So, as you consider your life and those things through which you’ve lived, can you identify those times when you specifically set out to meet God with an urgent plea? In His response, you experienced God in a way that was real…maybe not quite what you expected, but totally real. This has become part of your story and has further established you as a witness. Consider this witness as you approach God in trust for other requests and as you are given the opportunity to companion others in their journey to find and meet God in ways that are life changing.