A Royal Official
“Just go, and go now before it’s too late,” my wife said when she realized Jesus was our only hope.
My son was sick—dying really—and the doctors gave us no hope. They couldn’t even give a name to his malady. He couldn’t keep his food down, and breathing caused such pain it made him shudder. For the last week, he’d had no more than a few cups of milk. He was dying. My little Marcus would leave this life as a twelve-year-old, and leave his mother and me broken.
It came on him suddenly, just three months ago. At first, we thought he had the flu. There were times we thought he would melt from the heat his body produced. Food was harder and harder for him to hold down. The doctors tried everything. I called in doctors from all the neighboring towns. Each one had the same advice. “Try to keep him comfortable.”
I’m a Roman, noble by birth. I’m part of Rome’s occupying force here in Galilee. I’m not military. There are many of Rome’s military forces spread over the region, but I’m here to create Roman culture. My counterparts and I come to these satellite conquests and live Roman lives. This way the people of our new territories can see what Roman life looks like. We live in relative luxury when compared to the rest of Capernaum. This luxury includes the servants we brought with us from Rome. I miss my homeland, though, and have wondered more than once if Roman doctors could heal my son.
My butler brought his family with him from Rome when we moved here four years back. They lived together in a suite of rooms in the servants quarters, off the main house. He is my most trusted confidant. I speak with him about things I would not even share with my wife.
Three days back, my butler mentioned that Jesus, the healer, was back in Galilee—in Cana. We had talked about taking my son to him a few weeks ago, but the reports had him in Jerusalem and around Judea. My son was too sick to travel that far. But Cana—Cana is only a few hours from here.
We first heard of this healer a few months back, when my butler took his wife to find him. It was one Saturday night after the Jew’s Sabbath was over, right here in Capernaum. He told me, the next day, there had been dozens of people waiting outside the home where Jesus spent his Sabbath. When He emerged He healed every one of them. Not one person went home without a touch from this healer, including my butler’s wife. She had been suffering from vision loss since he came into my service. In any practical sense, she was blind. But when he came back in that night, there was a ruckus in the servants quarters. I went to see what was going on and found a full-blown party going on. When he saw me, he didn’t even apologize for the noise or seem concerned. He ran over and gave me a hug. His eyes were wet with tears.
“She can see,” he said through his tears.
I looked at her across the room and our eyes met, and she was nodding. It was true. She was completely healed. She could see.
So when he told me Jesus was back in the area, I told him to get my horse and carriage ready. Then I ran to my son’s bedside. I found my wife holding him, tears running down her cheeks.
“What is it?” I asked.
“He’s gone,” she said.
“Dead?” I asked.
“No,” she answered, “but close. He’s not responding to anything anymore.”
“I want to take him to see the healer—up in Cana,” I said.
“He can’t travel. He’ll be dead before you get him in the carriage.” She said.
“But the healer is back in Cana. He can save him, I’m sure of it.” I urged.
“No. I won’t let you take him,” she insisted.
“Well, I’m going anyway,” I told her.
I threw on my cloak and rushed for the door.
“You’re leaving now?” she asked. “It will be nightfall by the time you reach Cana.”
“Look at him,” I said. “He’s at death’s door. I must see this man as soon as possible.”
“Just go, and go now before it’s too late,” she finally agreed.
I ran out the door and found the horse and carriage ready for me in front of the house. I briefly explained I was going alone. We separated horse and carriage and saddled him. I was off for Cana.
My last look at my son panicked me. His body seemed limp, his color, gray. I couldn’t get the image out of my mind. I had to find this healer and all I knew of his whereabouts was Cana.
When I got to the town, I headed toward the magistrates building near the town center. But before I got there, I saw a crowd gathered in the square. In the center was a man who seemed to have everyone’s attention. As I approached I began to understand why. His words drew me like a bee to a blossom. The sound of His voice seemed to exude peace if that’s even possible. After two hours riding in panic, a calm from without began to press its way into my soul.
When the crowd saw the royal insignia on my horse, they made room for me. I dismounted and walked through the assembly to Jesus.
He stood before me in silence.
“My son is at the point of death,” I began. “He may be dead already, but I’m sure if you will come with me to Capernaum, you can make him well.”
Jesus turned from me to address the crowd.
“Unless you people see signs and wonders, you simply will not believe.”
“Sir,” I almost barked, feeling the panic rising again. I gathered myself and started again, this time with a forced calm. “Sir, come down before my child dies.”
Jesus said, “Go; your son lives.”
The confidence in His tone—in His words—banished my fear and I believed Him. Three words turned my fear—panic—into peace. I turned and headed back toward my horse. I stopped. I realized I hadn't thanked Him. I turned to go back but He had His back facing me, holding another man in the crowd who knelt before Him.
As the evening hurried toward night, I found an inn at the side of the road. I slept well all night long, and that surprised me. I hadn’t slept that well since before my son fell ill.
I started awake, disoriented, forgetting where I was. For a split second, worry pressed upward from the depths. Then I saw my cloak and gear and remembered everything.
Only minutes after I left the inn, my butler and I met in the way.
“Master, master, your son lives!” he was calling as he ran to meet me.
We rejoiced for no short time, and then I asked, “When? When did things change?”
“Yesterday at the seventh hour the fever left him,” came his answer.
“It was Jesus!” I said with confidence. "That’s when He spoke the words."
“Words?” he asked.
“Your son lives,” I answered. “Those three words saved Marcus’ life. Three little words. Your son lives.”
We would be a few more hours on the road, but there was no gap in our talk of this fellow, Jesus. My servant told me of the things he had seen in Capernaum, and I told him my story again, and again, and once more.
“Your son lives.” His words resound in my mind.
When we arrived at home, my son greeted me at the end of the walk. He started telling me what happened at home, while I tried to tell him what Jesus had done. In the end, I told my story to everyone in the household. I told my son, my wife, my other children. I called all the servants together and told them to bring their families. I then recounted the miracle for them as well.
All who heard believed in this Healer from Nazareth.
To read the original story, see John 4:46-54.
Copyright - Benjamin Nelson - 2017
If you enjoyed this story you can find forty more like it in my book Encounters With Jesus. It takes you, as you read, from Christ's conception to His resurrection through the eyes of dozens who were touched by His ministry.
You can get your copy today in paperback or kindle on Amazon.
If this story encouraged you, would you do me a favor? Would you share it? It would be a great honor to me and would get the word out about the book.
Thanks so much for taking the time to spend here with me.
Walk with Jesus,