ISSL Reflections July 10 2022 John 4:46–54 Post 2

In the last post I asked you to consider the “social distance” between the “royal official” and Jesus. Jesus certainly was not connected to the royal court or the government the way this official was. Does anything else come to mind?

John 4:46-54 (New Revised Standard Version)

Then [Jesus] came again to Cana in Galilee where he had changed the water into wine. Now there was a royal official whose son lay ill in Capernaum. When he heard that Jesus had come from Judea to Galilee, he went and begged him to come down and heal his son, for he was at the point of death. Then Jesus said to him, “Unless you see signs and wonders you will not believe.” The official said to him, “Sir, come down before my little boy dies.” Jesus said to him, “Go; your son will live.” The man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him and started on his way. As he was going down, his slaves met him and told him that his child was alive. So he asked them the hour when he began to recover, and they said to him, “Yesterday at one in the afternoon the fever left him.” The father realized that this was the hour when Jesus had said to him, “Your son will live.” So he himself believed, along with his whole household. Now this was the second sign that Jesus did after coming from Judea to Galilee.

While some folk regarded Jesus as a prophet and even the messiah, others would only see him as a commoner from a small village, who wandered the countryside with a handful of fellows, apparently attempting to get more people to follow him. He might be teaching but he did not have any training by the leading rabbis of the day. He was certainly not connected to the court of Herod Antipas.

The religious establishment did not trust him and often tried to silence him.

The Roman government worried about anyone who seemed to be gathering a following from the common people.

My impression is that the royal official mentioned here and Jesus moved in separate worlds.

Yet the official leaves his “world” to enter Jesus’s world.

What does it take to cross social boundaries? A son or daughter deathly ill would be sufficient for some (but maybe not for all?). What else?

And maybe we should consider what prevents one from crossing social barriers?

{ubi caritas et amor, Deus ibi est}

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