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Healing the royal official's son by Joseph-Marie Vien, 1752.

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

Encounters With Jesus - Available Now
Encounters With Jesus - Available Now

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,

Ben

A royal official hears that Jesus is back in Cana. Perhaps he had been at the wedding, or met someone who had been. In any case, he comes to Jesus because his son is sick and near death.

Not only had he likely heard of Jesus’ turning the water to wine, by now, news was spreading across all Galilee that Jesus was healing the sick.

A man’s love for his son makes him so some things that he might no normally do. In this case, we can assume that the man has exhausted his natural resources to save the life of his son. Hearing that this miracle worker is in town, he heads to Cana. From the way the story is told, it seems he may have had to travel a day’s journey.

At first Jesus makes a comment that might put many off.

So Jesus said to him, "Unless you people see signs and wonders, you simply will not believe." - John 4:48

It seems as though Jesus is bemoaning the fact that people want to see signs, and other wise will never believe. But is that wrong? Is it a bad thing? Isn’t that the premise for John’s gospel?

Therefore many other signs Jesus also performed in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name. - John 20:30-31

And, in fact, Jesus doesn’t begrudge this man his sign. Those standing by would not see this one, but the royal official would experience God’s power and glory first hand. Not only that, we would get an understanding of the power of the kingdom of God over space and time.

But, as I mentioned in the first installment of this series, Mary told us to do whatever He tell us. So let’s check out the imperative in the story.

The royal official said to Him, "Sir, come down before my child dies."

Jesus said to him, "Go; your son lives." The man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him and started off. - John 4:49-50

Just before we look at the red letters, notice that the man’s request pulled on Jesus to work in a way the man could understand. How often do our prayers try to pull God into the box we’ve created for Him?

He says, “Sir, come…” In this royal officials mind, Jesus needed to be present in the flesh to “fix” his problem, to deal with his issue.

What was he expecting? He wanted Jesus to come to his son’s bedside and pray, or touch him, or speak words of life, or perhaps like Elisha did lay on the child, mouth to mouth, eye to eye and hand to hand.

I’m not sure what he was expecting, but Jesus didn’t even pray. The truth is, you never see Jesus pray for the sick. You see him heal the sick. But, that’s a message for a different day.

What did Jesus do? No matter how you search you’ll be hard pressed to find him doing anything in this story. He just tells the man to go.

Jesus said to him, "Go; your son lives." - John 4:50

At this point we see some remarkable faith in the royal officials life. I want you to get this. Jesus is the truth. When He said “your sone lives,” that was not a wish, or a hope, it was true. Jesus, said it and the royal official believed the word.

The man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him and started off. - John 4:50

This Word from Jesus was a seed, and the man’s heart was good soil, prepared to receive the word with gladness, and move in faith at that moment.

He did not come back with any BUTs.

I might have. How about you?

Jesus, are you sure you can’t come with me. I want you to touch my son, I want you to pray for my son, lay hands on him, cast his demons out, hold him, coddle him. Why won’t you come?

We learn the mans son was healed right then, at that moment. With the word spoken and received, the healing, a days’ journey away, was already manifest. “Your son lives!”

What Jesus speaks comes to pass.

What has Jesus spoken life to in your world?

What have you laid before Jesus hoping for Him to come and touch and heal?

Have you heard Him say, “Go?” Has He already released the answer?

Your son lives.

Hallelujah!

Thanks for stopping by today!

Keep shining,

Ben

When did I know for sure?

I can still remember the day—the day my suspicions about Jesus shifted to confidence—the day the light dawned in my heart and I knew that I knew God’s chosen Messiah stood before me.

My name is Andrew and I’d been following Jesus for a few weeks. One morning He woke us early and told us we were going to a wedding. It was before Matthew joined our group so there were only six of us then. It was early in the spring. I remember how crisp the air seemed as we packed up and headed to Cana. Mary, Jesus' mother, had some family in Cana. She told Jesus there was room for all of us to stay for the full week to enjoy the festivities.

That was a particularly rainy spring. When we arrived in Cana, we were a mess. At Mary's urging we found the stone pots set aside for washing. They were massive stone tubs filled with water. When we found them, there was a line at each one. Many others arrived as we did all caked with dust and mud from their travels. Each of us took care to get the mud and filth off our feet, hands and faces. Then Jesus led us off to present ourselves to the wedding party.

On the second day of the wedding celebration, John and I began wondering why we were spending the week here. Usually our days consisted of gathering groups to hear Jesus teach. Sometimes we’d go to a synagogue in a small town. Afterwards, Jesus would walk us through the passages they read in the meeting and share His amazing insights. It always seemed to me that He knew the scriptures far better than the local rabbi. He wouldn’t talk about some ancient rabbi’s thoughts, like they do in the gatherings. He would compare scripture to scripture. He’d point out the similarities in the messages of Jeremiah and Ezekiel, or the final outcome for Nineveh in Nahum. I could never keep all those prophets straight in my mind, but it was as though He knew them—personally. For Him the history of our people, Israel, seemed to be recent memory, as if He lived through it with them. When I learned those old stories as a boy growing up, it all seemed so long ago and far away—like a story-book. When He taught us, it played out like He was in the middle of each event. He would bring the scriptures to life for us.

It is was mid-afternoon that second day when John said, “I thought He wanted us to see something. So far He hasn’t even done one of His—Let’s talk about…—things in the evenings. He just seems to be enjoying the wedding.

That’s when things started to get interesting.

One of Mary’s relatives and I sat not far from the cooking tent as she told me her story. She and Mary had been pregnant at the same time. I came to find out later that this was, in fact, the mother of John the Baptizer. He mentored me before Jesus came on the scene.

That’s when one of the waiters approached Mary. He looked nervous. I couldn’t hear what he said, but she went right over to Jesus. She started talking with Him, gesturing toward the waiter.

She seemed agitated when she approached Him. At first He turned away, as if ignoring her panic. She turned to some waiters who stood with her. At this point she was facing us, and I could hear her say, “Whatever He says to you, do it.” They followed Him.

That’s when He gathered us together and said, “They’ve run out of wine.”

Peter started right in. “What can we do about it? Do any of you know Cana? Is this even our problem?”

Jesus silenced Him with a turn of His hand and went on, “Help the waiters. They’re filling those stone washing tubs we used when we arrived. That should be plenty.”

Nathaniel, a little confused, asked him, “Plenty of what? What are you going to do with those filthy pots?”

Jesus moved on as if He hadn’t heard him.

In short order we brought Jesus over to 6 of those basins, full to the brim. These water pots—tubs, really—were used for the ceremonial washing before each meal and as a place to clean up after a journey as we had done. This washing was more than a practical cleanse. It indicated setting aside the spiritual filth we’d been walking in. We Jews like to keep short accounts with God. We wash before every meal to remind us of our need to stay in good standing with God. It keeps the corrupting nature of the world in the foreground of our hearts and minds.

There we all stood looking at those filthy tanks of water. I didn’t know what to expect next. Would He have us scrub them out, or dump them. What was He thinking.

But He didn’t do anything. He stood there quietly looking into one of the pots, and then looked up and said to one of the waiters, "Draw some out now and take it to the headwaiter."

The two waiters who were there with us looked at each other, as if to ask why. Nothing had changed. We were still looking at one hundred eighty gallons of water sitting in six filthy tubs.

They stood there for a few beats. Jesus gave a sharp nod toward the water, and the server to the right reached over for ladle. He filled it with the water, and two of them turned and started walking toward the headwaiter. They went about three steps and paused to look back at Jesus. He motioned them on with a gesture. They again started toward their employer. One of them sniffed at the liquid in the ladle, hoping for something more, but disappointed. He shrugged and went on.

From where I was standing, I couldn’t see what was in the spoon. What I could see was the two men look at each other with a start, just as they reached their master. Then they held the ladle up to him, and pointed back to the water pots. That’s when I realized the pots that stood before us no longer contained water. They were brim full of deep rich wine, gallons and gallons of beautiful red liquid.

The headwaiter took a sniff, then a sip, then he swallowed the rest of the wine in the spoon. He started back toward us. It was then I realized the father of the bride, our host, stood beside one of the tubs. The waiter came to him and said, “Every man serves the good wine first, and when the people have drunk freely, then he serves the poorer wine; but you have kept the good wine until now.

The waiters began to fill bottles from the tubs so this new wine could take its place at the tables.

When I finally got a taste of the miracle wine, tears came to my eyes. Standing in the midst of these festivities I saw the picture He had painted for us, for me. Most of the guests enjoyed this good wine, but I saw the source. I knew this wonderful vintage, transformed from that vile water, looked a lot like my life. If He could make this water, contaminated with the offscouring of life’s filth, into this fine wine, couldn't He transform my life too? Couldn't he take the filthy water of my sin crusted past, and turn it into something beautiful and full of joy?

I wanted to tell everyone that it was Jesus, my mentor, my friend, who made this wine, but He pulled us aside. He did not want to make a big deal of this with the people.

I knew then. Jesus is the Messiah for whom we've waited.

~~~

To read the original story, see John 2:1-11.

 

Copyright - Benjamin Nelson - 2017 all rights reserved.

Encounters With JesusIf you enjoyed this brand new Encounter With the Jesus, you might enjoy my book, Encounters with Jesus. It is a collection of forty stories told in similar fashion, from the conception of Jesus through His resurrection. It's available now in paperback or kindle versions.

benheadshot1Thanks for coming by

See you again soon.

Ben

4

Coming Clean

Zaccheus

“What are you doing here? We paid your abusive fees just two weeks back. You can’t possibly want more already.”

This is not the first time I received this reception. I may be the most hated man in all Jericho—maybe all Israel.

“Please let me in. I’m not here to take, I’m here to give—no—to return what is rightfully yours.”

Finally, the door cracks open.

“May—may I come in?” I ask.

Slowly the door swings a bit wider and Ethan, a well-to-do businessman, allows me to step inside his home. We stand in his foyer. He invites me no farther.

I understand. I’ve been collecting his taxes since he moved here from Jerusalem eight years ago. Truthfully, it’s men like Ethan who have made me the rich man I am today—or should I say, I was yesterday. The tax Rome requires of Jewish businessmen like Ethan is high to begin with, but I didn’t become rich taking just what Rome demands. I am allowed to take as much as I can get, and that’s what I’ve done—for years.

Ethan, and others like him, filled my accounts.

He broke the awkward silence. “What do you have to give me, Zaccheus, next month’s tax bill? Why not send one of your lackeys with it, like every other time?”

“Ethan,” I began, “It’s not like that. Today, I’m here to make things right.”

Ethan chuckled, “How could you possibly do that?”

I’ve found, in the past week, the best way to fix all these broken relationships in my life, is to come right out with it. It’s on me, so best to just get it off. Since the day Jesus came through Jericho, I’ve spoken with a dozen local businessmen. It’s always the same.

“I’ve been stealing from you,” I said.

“What?” he replied.

“I’ve been taking far more from you than Rome requires,” I continued.

“You’ve been what? You’ve been robbing me? And now you stand right here in my home, for what? Are you here to mock me?”

As his anger mounted, he yanked open the door and motioned for me to leave.

“Get out!” He was shouting now. From the corner of my eye, I noticed that his wife sidling up to hear what was happening. I stood my ground. This was not the first angry man I faced recently.

“I’m here to make it right,” I repeated.

He stopped pushing but did not close the door.

“I’m here to return what I’ve stolen, and to ask you to forgive me. I’ve grown rich through over taxing men like you, honest hard-working businessmen, who have earned their wealth through hours and days of planning and hard work. I’ve slithered in and taken every penny I could manage.”

As I spoke the truth He seemed to be softening.

“So how can you make this right?” he asked.

“I keep meticulous records,” I said. “I know exactly what I’ve taken, and today, I’m returning four times as much as I have over taxed you.”

I handed him the bag of coins.

“It’s all there,” I said, “6,400 denarii. Eight years worth of my dishonesty in a bag. I pray you’ll forgive me.” I said. He opened the bag and ran his hand through the coins.

“I-I don’t understand,” Ethan said, quietly now. His wife approached. He showed her the bag.

She looked at me, head shaking.

“Why are you doing this?” she asked.

I answered with a question of my own.

“Have you heard of Jesus the Nazarene?”

“I’ve heard the name, one of those Messiah pretenders, isn’t he?” Ethan replied.

“I saw him the day He came through town,” Ethan’s wife said. “I needed a few things and went down to the market. As I shopped the square filled with people, and a procession flooded the streets. The man you mentioned, Jesus, walked in the center of it all. Crowds of His followers filled the streets in every direction. People pressed toward him, calling out. People all around me told the most unbelievable stories. Healings. Miracles. I heard one person say He raises the dead. I didn’t know what to think about all of it.”

I say, “He picked me out of the crowd, or should I say, out of a tree.” I stifle a laugh as I remembered how strange it all seemed at the time. “The day He came through town, I too wanted to see Him. The crowds, as you say, were such that I couldn’t see anything past the second or third row. I looked farther down the path He was walking and noticed a sycamore tree, and had an idea. I ran ahead and climbed the tree to gain a vantage point.

“I thought I was hidden there, but as He approached my perch our eyes locked. He saw me. And this was no glance. His eyes seemed to be calling me, and not just down from the tree. His eyes were calling me out of my past, out of all the lies and cheating, out of my very identity. It unnerved me.

“The next thing I knew, He was actually calling me.

“Zaccheus, hurry and come down, for today I must stay at your house,” Jesus said.

“At the sound of His voice, I scrambled down the tree, and we headed off to my home. Once inside, away from the eyes and ears of the crowd, He sat with us. He had me call my whole family in. He asked if we had any bread and wine. He broke the bread and we shared the wine. It felt like the Passover festivities of my youth. We have not celebrated Passover since we have been here in Jericho.

“My childhood rushed back to me as I ate the bread He offered. In my father’s house, we always celebrated Passover and every other feast and fast of our people. I can remember hearing the story of the slaughtered lamb and the night our people ate in haste and fled Egypt before Pharoh’s army. My love for the Almighty grew in those years.

“As I took the cup from His hands and touched it to my lips, I heard my own voice, forty years earlier, calling out to the Almighty, and promising to walk in His ways all the days of my life.

“With this memory came a flood of shame for all that I’ve become. I sat there, surrounded by all the things my lying and thievery had won me and began to weep. It was then our eyes met once more.

“Drink,” He said. “Drink and be clean. This cup is redemption for you and your household. You can be pure again. That’s what my name means—pure—Zaccheus and that’s when I broke down.

“I wept there for what seemed like an hour, and He gathered Himself, and started to leave. We walked out the door together, and the crowd was still there. I gripped His arm and looked up into his eyes one more time.

“I said, ‘Behold, Lord, half of my possessions I will give to the poor, and if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I will give back four times as much.

“His face seemed to say He knew I would. Then He turned to the crowd and said, ‘Today salvation has come to this house, because he, too, is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.’

“Since that day I’ve been making things right. It seems I owe almost everyone in Jericho something. At first, I was afraid to approach those I had cheated. I thought I would find hostility. But it has been the most freeing thing I’ve ever done. I didn’t know the strength of money’s hold on my heart. The more money I had, the more fear surrounded me, and the more greed grasped at my heart. Once I broke the hold riches had on my heart, it changed everything.

“Now these visits fill me with life. Giving back what I have taken from folks like you brings joy and freedom. I never would have imagined giving could be so fulfilling.”

As I finish my story, I can see that Ethan and his wife are both on the edge of tears. I turn to leave and Ethan approaches and embraces me. “We do forgive you, Zaccheus, and I will be looking into this Jesus. If He can change you, He might just be the Messiah.”

His wife touches my hand and says “Thank you,” and the door closes behind me.

There is nothing more satisfying that walking in His ways.

~~~
To read the original story, see Luke 19:1-10.

Copyright - Benjamin Nelson - 2017 all rights reserved.

Encounters With JesusIf you enjoyed this brand new Encounter With the Jesus, you might enjoy my book, Encounters with Jesus. It is a collection of forty stories told in similar fashion, from the conception of Jesus through His resurrection. It's available now in paperback or kindle versions.

benheadshot1Thanks for coming by

See you again soon.

Ben

12

Healing the royal official's son by Joseph-Marie Vien, 1752.

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

Encounters With Jesus - Available Now
Encounters With Jesus - Available Now

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,

Ben

4

It's here - it's finally here!

I'm so excited to announce the release of my new book:

Encounters With Jesus.

Encounters With Jesus - Available Now
Encounters With Jesus - Available Now

This book was birthed right here at Another Red Letter Day. My interaction with this wonderful community of faith has encouraged me to write, and keep writing. So I want to say a huge thank you to all of you.

It is available in both Kindle and paperback editions.

I'm hoping that you'll share it with your friends.

If you have not been following my blog, let me bring you up to speed.

Encounters is a collection of forty stories from the life of Jesus. What is striking about these stories is the way they look through the eyes of the people He touched.

What would it have been like to be on the boat when Jesus calmed the sea?
How would it feel to see your son raised from the dead?
How would you react if Jesus asked you to sell all that you have?
Can you imagine standing at the foot of the cross?

I walk through the life of Jesus from before His conception to His resurrection speaking in dozens of voices.

To those of you who have shared life with me the last few years as a blogger, I hope you will join me in praying that this simple approach to the life of Jesus will draw men and women to Him. Will you pray with me for the impact of this book?

If you’re on the fence, here are some reviews and such:

A Must Read! by Debby Maciorowski

Encounters with Jesus by Felecia Clarke

Encounters With Jesus  by Kristyn Mogler

Encounters With Jesus | Book Review by Steve Bremner

An Interview with Benjamin Nelson by Felecia Clarke

Ben NelsonThanks so much.

Remember: Shine where you're plugged in.

Ben

7

I'm just one short week away from the release of my new book

Encounters With Jesus

Encounters With Jesus Full Cover

The current plan is to have the kindle version will be available for purchase NEXT MONDAY!!

I can't tell you how excited I am about the book's release.

Here is an excerpt from one of the stories...

Crumbs for a Dog

---

He spoke again.

“It’s not right to take bread out of children’s mouths and throw it to dogs.”

If anyone else had said that to me, it would have hurt. Another slap in the face. But coming from Him, I knew I had no right, no entitlement, to special treatment. And yet there was compassion in the air, drawing me in, bidding me come and ask again.

“You’re right, Master, but beggar dogs do get scraps from the master’s table.”

All was silent for a moment, and then He laughed. He wasn’t mocking me. It was more like my words found their way through a crack in a wall. Not a wall of His making or mine, but a wall that separated us nonetheless. My humility mingled with His compassion dissolved the boundary that seconds ago stood as a roadblock to my salvation.

His laughter was infectious. Soon I was laughing, too, as were all the men who stood with Him.

“Oh, woman, your faith is something else. What you want is what you get!”

There was a glee in His voice, a delight, as though granting my deepest need gave Him His deepest joy.

---

Thanks for poking your head in

See you again soon

Ben

a Roman Legion

Yesterday in my narrative stemming from the encounter Jesus had with the centurion actually focuses more on Luke's account of the meeting in Luke 7 starting in verse 2 than from the Matthew 8 account.

The big difference in the accounts is that in Matthew’s telling Jesus meets the centurion, and in Luke, He meets the centurions friends.

You know what – I really don’t let that kind of stuff bug me. I don’t try to hide it, but by the same token it just does not bug me. I guess it could, but it doesn’t. So, blatantly ignoring that fact, I move on.

Let’s take a little time contrasting these three types of relationships the centurion is maintaining.

He has soldiers under his command.

He has servants or slaves (at least one) at his beck and call.

He has friends who will drop their agenda and help when he is in need.

It is interesting to me that these are all types of the Christian in relation to Christ as well.

I know I get over on this a bunch, but our identity in Christ is really important. If we see ourselves in an unhealthy light, we can not help but get our signals crossed in how we relate to our Lord and Savior Jesus.

Some believe it can only be one way – for example, there are many in Christ who believe the only way we can ever relate to Jesus is as slave to master. If you have followed me for any length of time, you may have picked up the fact that I endorse the idea of walking as the servant of Christ. This is an identity carried by almost every writer in the New Testament. I have written extensively about this, so I won’t take the time to elaborate further today – though you might like to check out one of these articles:

Servanthood

Jesus, What Are You Doing?

By the same token there are those who demand that we leave the life of the servant behind and live the life of friend, or better bride! I take up, on a weekly basis, in my Song of Songs teaching series this part.

I don't believe that we must leave one to have the other.

I believe Jesus chooses to reveal our identity to us line upon line, precept upon precept.

We enter the kingdom as servants, but we are not supposed to stay there. The life of the growing Christian is one that progresses from the fundamentals of servant hood, becoming a soldier of the cross, to friend, then son, and even bride. But these are not total transformations like caterpillar to butterfly, but rather greater levels of intimacy and proficiency.

Think of any sport, or any activity you might apprentice for. You start with the most basic practices. In baseball for example, it is throwing and catching. Long before you learn strategy, you learn how to throw with accuracy and catch anything close.

You progress to the basic rules of the game. Next, how to react in situations so as to best use the rules to your advantage. The rules protect you from unfair play, and limit you from taking unfair advantage.

Soon you’re learning “plays.” These plays combine the fundamentals of throwing and catching with logical application of the rules.

You learn to throw a double play because 1) you know how to throw and catch,  2) you know the rules and what must happen in case of a hit with a runner on first base.

Later in your career you may come to a time when you can coach or manage a team. You begin to use strategy to choose which players should play which positions. You are having a huge impact on the game with out even stepping on the field.

This does not mean you no longer can throw or catch.

So it is with us. We never leave off servant hood, but we grow in trust and intimacy.

Back to our centurion. I love that he is so devoted to his servant that he involves his friends to rescue this one.

In this encounter, I find the centurion is actually acting as a type of Christ. Christ leaving his 99 soldiers who are safe and warm in the barracks and recruiting His friends to help Him save the one slave that is in trouble.

Great picture isn’t it?

BenSee you tomorrow

Ben

 

Oh yeah, don't forget to leave your questions about the Bible or Christian life here:

Another Red Letter Day Q&A

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