The Gospel reading this morning is about a nobleman 2000 years ago, and it is about us.This nobleman was probably somehow connected to the royal household, and in a way pretty much like many of us. He had heard of the power of our Lord according to John 4:45, / just like many of us here today.
And the nobleman had some faith, just as many of us, for he did make the “day” trip to where Jesus had earlier turned the water into wine. This nobleman sought out our Lord, because he had a need and wanted something, just as many of us do, when we are down, depressed and needing something (nevertheless this nobleman came, and so may we do the same, for whatever reason.)
But we hear that the nobleman’s faith was not as strong as it should be, for Jesus says: “Except ye see signs and wonders, ye will not believe” – so how strong is our faith? A key point for us to remember, even without a strong faith, God still loved the nobleman, just as he loves each one of us … even though our faith is imperfect, His love is not.
The story continues as He cures the nobleman’s son – and He does so, not by going there, but simple by His word. His word healed 2000 years ago, and it does today. This nobleman came to Jesus, just as we this morning. This nobleman’s son was healed by Jesus word, and this morning Jesus will heal us by his Word and His Sacrament, as He will turn bread and wine into His Body and Blood … just as He turned the water into wine 2000 years ago. This nobleman then believed and “went his way” and his faith was strengthened when he hears and sees the sign and wonder (the miracle) that his son was healed. How about us? Are we to just leave here today and “go our way?” How will we proceed after we encounter our Lord through His Body and Blood? How will we use the gift that we will receive?
Let us examine what Abraham did, in The Book of Genesis, 18th chapter, after he did eat with the Lord … You remember the story, as three men appeared before our Father Abraham. After “fetching a morsel of bread” and fetching a “calf” (“tender and good”), Abraham did eat with the three men, of which one, He did call “Lord.” And now the plot thickens as the three arise and began to walk away from Abraham – and in a very strange twist in the story the Lord says: “Shall I hide from Abraham that thing which I do?”
Our Lord next informs Abraham that he had heard “the cry” of Sodom and Gomorrah (just as He had heard the cry of the Jews in Egypt…) then two of the three begin making their journey down from the mountains to the city. Whose cry had the Lord heard? – was it of evil and sinful man? – no, but of the righteous! The righteous had He heard!
And here is now Abraham, standing with the Lord, as he begins to basically barter with the Lord, as he, in his own way he is praying inter-sessional prayers for the righteous in the city. For he pleads what if there are 50 righteous in the city…what about 40…what about 30…what about 20, And finally, what about 10, and finally the Lord says “I will not destroy it for ten’s sake” Do you see it? Do you see the loving God’s compassion?
We are gathered together this morning seeking to become more righteous, by establishing a right relationship with Jesus. Abraham is a good example for us…as down the street from us, is a city… A city which seems to be crying out – just turn on the news anytime and you can hear them, if you can bear it. We know that private prayer life is important, as told in Matthew 6:5, and we also know that corporate prayer is shown within the church family and practiced for 2000 years.
And yet, many of us just sit by, and worry and complain about the city – down the street. How many of us pray for its people and the city. Are we just waiting to see with our eyes some miracle(?) or do we see as a Christian should see, through our actions of prayer?
Do we pray, and pray often, to save the righteous…or do we simply sit upon our own thrones, placing ourselves above others and condemning (even-though we are sinful, ourselves.)
After the Lord heard their prayers in the Genesis story, He did separate the righteous from the sinful as He brought judgement, just as will be done on the day of our Judgement.
I urge all you to join The Church as its prays together during the Morning and Evening Prayer offices. It is sad when we gather for prayer, and often the Eucharist, and no one is present. Are we just too busy? or too lazy … to pray for the city and the world, if so, then we should pray for God’s forgiveness, for we are placing ourselves above his Will.
I am concerned for the upcoming year as we begin pouring the passion of politics upon our city, as we hosts a Political Convention. Christians must place Jesus above all the emotions that are about to be unleashed upon our people – those fellow sinners, who are just as us (for we are the image of God.)We need to pray for hearts to softened(all of our hearts, even those with whom we disagree) and we need to pray that God will send His Holy Spirit upon us and enter into our midst.
We must remember we all are made in the image of God, and that the disease of sin can be overcome, But only if our hearts and minds are open to Jesus. Prayer is a much more effective means of change than that of emotions and feelings.
The prayers of the righteous will be heard if His Will is prayed, and not ours.
The nobleman needed to see with his own eyes, let us see witness our Lord’s grace through our prayers for the righteous of our city.