God accepts weak faith. See below, the seemingly trivial story of a Gentile official who came to Yeshua looking for a miracle. It is the second of seven signs in the Fourth Gospel. The first sign, water to wine, was a major revelation of Yeshua’s veiled identity (more than a man, more than a prophet, more even than a messiah). The second sign is equally important, showing us the nature and meaning of faith.
God accepts weak faith. That’s because really faith is not a test, a prerequisite for God’s love. Faith is something we need. God’s love is already given. That’s what is difficult for many religious people to understand.
The Gentile official, who comes to Yeshua, does not have to do a thing to earn God’s love, not even believe. He already has it. God is already working in this official’s life.
God has a plan for the ages, “a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him” (Eph 1:10), including a plan to unite this Gentile official’s heart with the divine will. God will “reconcile to himself all things” (Col 1:20), even this Gentile’s soul.
Some begin the journey in this life. Some make little or no progress at all, progressing toward God only in the time beyond death.
Faith opens our intellect and emotion and will to a new realm. A hidden universe becomes available to us. Even weak faith is a beginning.
Yeshua Heals an Official’s Son, John 4:46-54
46 So he came again to Cana in Galilee, where he had made the water wine. And at Capernaum there was an official whose son was ill. 47 When this man heard that Jesus had come from Judea to Galilee, he went to him and asked him to come down and heal his son, for he was at the point of death. 48 So Jesus said to him, “Unless you see signs and wonders you will not believe.” 49 The official said to him, “Sir, come down before my child dies.” 50 Jesus said to him, “Go; your son will live.” The man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him and went on his way. 51 As he was going down, his servants met him and told him that his son was recovering. 52 So he asked them the hour when he began to get better, and they said to him, “Yesterday at the seventh hour the fever left him.” 53 The father knew that was the hour when Jesus had said to him, “Your son will live.” And he himself believed, and all his household. 54 This was now the second sign that Jesus did when he had come from Judea to Galilee.
-John 4:46-54, NET Translation
ἐὰν μὴ σημεῖα καὶ τέρατα ἴδητε, οὐ μὴ πιστεύσητε, “unless you see signs and wonders, you never believe.” Although Yeshua castigates sign-seeking, regarding it as weak faith, he nonetheless accepts it as a beginning. To become real faith, it must grow and deepen into knowledge and experience.
We and all our fellow human beings are on a timeline toward eternal happiness. Some see it early. Others see it late. Some have a strong ability to see it and live for it here and now. Others weakly imagine it and struggle to believe it.
We move further down the road, like this Gentile official who went home after asking the Master for a miracle. “Further down the road” for us could mean many different things. A loss. The aftermath of a painful event. An experience. It could even be an epiphany too wonderful for words. Yes, it could even be experiences that come to us after we die.
When we do find ourselves further down the road, here is the guarantee: Yeshua. It is not in us, does not depend on us, is not conditional.
The Gentile official asked, “At what hour did he recover?” He tested the word of Yeshua. He found what we will all find. The one truth we can count on is God’s answer to humankind’s dilemma. Yeshua, though all other things will fail us, is the one true hope that never disappoints.
“Your son will live,” said Yeshua. So will we.
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