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Twenty-First Sunday after Trinity
“Light vs. Darkness”
St. John 4:46-54; Gen. 1:1-2:3; Eph. 6:10-17
22 October 2018
Seminarian Simeon Cornwell, Vicar
+ In the Name of Jesus +
Unseen in our Gospel text for today is the battle between Light and Darkness. Good and Evil. God and Satan.
This battle manifests itself in the fact that the official’s son is at the point of death, which is the work of Satan.
And due to this, the official begins his journey from Capernaum to Galilee, approximately 17 miles. Not an insignificant distance to walk.
Just think about the traveling of this official for a moment, along with his circumstances. He had to travel first from his hometown to Jesus, and this because his son was about to die. There were most likely doubts arising in his head as he journeyed.
“Will this Man actually heal my son? What if all this is for nothing? What makes this Man so special?” Nevertheless, he journeys on.
At the official’s request to heal his son, Jesus responds to him by saying: “Unless you see signs and wonders you will not believe.”
This is not a rebuke of Jesus, but rather a factual statement. For although the official trusts the words of Jesus, “Go; your son will live”, he does not yet believe the Jesus is the Messiah. Sent to save the world from its bondage to Satan.
And so as he journeys back home and is met by some servants, he is told that his son is recovering. Still seeking a sign, he inquires at what hour his son began recovering.
It is when he realizes that this is the very hour that Jesus spoke the words, “Go; your son will live”, that the official believes in Jesus. Namely, that He is the Son of God, come to defeat this enemy of mankind, Satan. The official’s gaze is now directed at Jesus. Not only at His words, but also at every one of His actions.
For Jesus was still to journey on towards Jerusalem. To be falsely accused and sentenced to death. To suffer and die and there upon the cross, finally defeat Satan and his forces of evil. And on the third day to rise triumphant over death, sealing not only this official’s, but also our own redemption.
A real sign was given to this official as Jesus battled against the forces of darkness and overcame them. Healing his son who was being put to death by Satan and his army.
So it is not the trust in the words, “Go; your son will live”, per se, that create faith in this official and his family. Rather, it is the Incarnate Word of God.
For faith must always have an object. The healing of this official’s son was given so that he might believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of the living God. It was to direct his gaze at Jesus, in Whom alone is life. Who alone can fight and prevail against the evil one.
And these things have been recorded for us, not as fanciful stories or great tales, but rather as St. John describes later on in his Gospel, “so that you might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God and that by believing you may have life in His name” (Jn. 20:31).
This official is saved, having seen this sign from Jesus, because it directs him to look at Jesus. Jesus, the Word of God Who created the heavens and the earth. Who gives and sustains all life.
Who spoke the words from our Old Testament reading: “’Let there be light’, and it was so.” Just as we confess every week in the Nicene Creed, “being of one substance with the Father, by Whom all things were created…”
He alone can fight and defend us from the schemes of the evil one. But we are not merely passive in this battle. We are urged by St. Paul in our Epistle reading to take up the sword of the Spirit, that is the Word of God, so that we might be able to stand and fight against the schemes of our enemies.
So that by taking up the shield of faith, we might be able to extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one. Not because faith is powerful in and of itself, but because faith looks only to Jesus, the living, busy, and active Word of God Who defends us from Satan.
So take up these weapons, dear Christians. Not only once on Sunday, but every single day. For Satan is not an enemy that takes rest. Rather he is a lion, seeking at every second whom he may devour. If you do not take up these weapons, you will be left defenseless and be overtaken.
But as we read and meditate upon the words of Scripture we are directed to Christ, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. We are drawn to Him, in Whom alone is life everlasting.
“Lord, keep us steadfast in Your Word. Curb those who by deceit or sword, would wrest the kingdom from Your Son and bring to naught all He has done.”
May God continue to strengthen us in Christ and draw us ever closer to Him, who is the object of our faith and its sustainer and who will defeat all our enemies with the breath of His mouth.
+ In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.