Re: John 4: 46-54
I will confess that these miracle stories challenge me. I just don’t know how to think about them. But here are a few random thoughts…
When Jesus healed a government official’s son, the son was 20 miles away – yet was healed as though distance did not matter. This speaks to the ultimate dimension rather than our usual historical dimension, as Thich Nhat Hanh wrote about. In the ultimate dimension, distance is meaningless. Jesus can be with us, right here, right now.
As time passed in this story, the official’s faith grew. First he believed enough to ask for help. Then “the official took Jesus at his word,” indicating that he believed Jesus’ assurance that his son would live. Then, “He and all his household believed.” This faith is growing in the official, and indeed, spreading. This happens when we involve ourselves in spiritual action.
Re: John 5:1-18
Like Crystal, I was moved by the question, “Do you want to get well?” What is our true desire? Perhaps it is opening ourselves to this deepest desire that God really speaks to within us.
I was confused about the mat dilemma, but learned that carrying the mat would be akin to working on the Sabbath, and thus breaking a rule. However, it was a man-made rule, and did not recognize the need of the individual. Focus on arbitrary rules may hinder our ability to focus on God. This and so many other rules have simply become barriers and distractions between us and knowing God. I remember my early years growing up in an Episcopal church, where females were required to have their heads covered. What we wore on our heads was about fashion, and proved to be a real distraction to spiritual focus.
When Jesus said “My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I, too, am working,” I was very touched. We don’t stop working (to be helpful) on the Sabbath, nor does God. Also, in this statement, Jesus identifies himself with God. Godly works are done through us, with us.