St. John 4:46-54 The Third Sunday after Michaelmass, 2016 A.D.
October 16, 2016
Passage: John 4:46–54
In the Name of the Father, and of theSon, and of the Holy Ghost. We do not wrestle against flesh and blood. It may seem like it. It may seem like the sinfulness of the world, the fallenness of all that we see and hear and touch, it may seem like our war is with men. The Christian is scandalized when he hears talk of the killing of the unborn. In the Old Testament the most cruel and horrible violence was to rend the womb and put the child to death. And yet today many promote the exact same violence. The one who believes in God, the God that made them male and female, is ashamed that among us male and female are now confused. It is a rejection of the very created order. It is a sinful disorder, a perversion of what God made. So too the derision and hatred, the mockery of and disdain for the Christian that is at work all around us – in our government, in our schools, in our society. It certainly does seem to be a war waged by men, and yet it is clear that no man is worthy of our hope. It can seem hopeless. But the Apostle helps us to understand that men are just the foot-soldiers in the battle. We wrestle not against men, not against flesh and blood. We wrestle against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness. Dark and powerful forces war against us. Men are just pawns in the battle. And against such, against principalities and powers and spiritual hosts of wickedness, we do not have a chance. Our weakness is our flesh. Our weakness is the sin we have inherited. Our weakness is the sin that each of us has committed. The enemy has his hooks in our flesh. It is a war, a war for hearts and souls, a war for minds, a war for the eternal lives of men. And we are outmatched. According to our flesh the war is already won, and we are the spoils of the enemy. Indeed we cannot even truly conceive of the spiritual realms that St. Paul describes. We are fleshly people. Seeing and touching are proof. The unseen for fallen men is a source of doubt. And so it made sense to the nobleman that Jesus would have to be physically present to heal his son. He would have to leave Cana and travel to Capernaum to be of any help. Any good doctor would have to. He would have to see the boy, diagnose the illness, and prescribe a cure, if it were possible. Or he might have to tell the nobleman that there was no hope. Even a charlatan or a so called “faith healer” would need to be in the presence of the son to do what they could do. So the nobleman, wracked with concern for his dying son, begs the Lord “Sir, come down before my child dies!” And any of us would do the same. Many of us have done the same – prayed fervently that God would heal one that we love, spare them from death. For that, death, is the just consequence of sin. And death touches every sinner. “Sir, come down before my child dies!” What he did not know is that the Lord to whom he prayed had already come down. He came down from heaven and was incarnate of the Virgin Mary and was made Man. He had already brought heaven to earth. He had already brought life to the dying. He had already brought forgiveness for the sinner. He came to redeem fallen men body and soul. The Man the nobleman begs for healing is God. And with God, there is always hope.