Homily for Monday of the 4th Week of Lent
Theme: AT GOD’S TIME
By: Fr. Karabari Paul
Homily for Monday March 28 2022
“Sir, come down before my little boy dies ”
The above request from the Gospel of today (John 4:43-54) sounds desperate right? Surely, it does. Desperate condition sometimes requires desperate step of faith. The boy’s father was a nobleman, a ‘big-man’, yet the son was sick. Honours and titles are no security from sickness and death. Nature has decreed that the greatest men must go themselves to God and must become beggars. The nobleman did not stop until he prevailed. But at first he discovered the weakness of his faith in the power of Christ.
There are great lessons here. Let us fix them in our hearts, and use them continually as we journey through life.
We learn, firstly, that the rich have afflictions as well as the poor. We read of this ‘big-man’ in deep anxiety because his son was sick. We need not doubt that every avenue of restoration was used that money could procure. But money is not almighty. The sickness increased, and the nobleman’s son was at the point of death. There is no more common, or more mischievous error, than to suppose that the rich have no cares. The rich are as liable to sickness as the poor; and have a hundred anxieties beside, of which the poor know nothing at all. The dwellers in palaces often sleep more uneasily than the dwellers in poor thatched houses. Gold and silver can lift no man beyond the reach of trouble. They may shut out debt and rags, but they cannot shut out care, disease, and death. The higher the tree, the more it is shaken by storms. David was a happier man when he kept his father’s sheep at Bethlehem, than when he dwelt as a king at Jerusalem, and governed the twelve tribes of Israel.
We learn, secondly, in this passage, that sickness and death come to the young as well as to the old. We read of a son sick unto death, and a father in trouble about him. We see the natural order of things inverted. The elder is obliged to minister to the younger, and not the younger to the elder. The child draws near to the grave before the parent, and not the parent before the child. This won’t be our lot by the grace of God. The lesson is one which we are all slow to learn. We are apt to shut our eyes to plain facts, and to speak and act, as if young people, as a matter of course, never died when young. And yet the graveyard would tell us, that few people out of a hundred ever live to be fifty years old especially now in Nigeria, while many never grow up to adulthood at all. The first grave that ever was dug on this earth, was that of a young man. The first person who ever died, was not a father but a son. Aaron lost two sons at a stroke. David, the man after God’s own heart, lived long enough to see three children buried. Job was deprived of all his children in one day. These things were carefully recorded for our learning.
He that is wise, will never consider long life as a certainty. We never know what a day may bring forth. The strongest and fairest are often cut down and hurried away in a few hours, while the old and feeble linger on for many years. The only true wisdom is to be always prepared to meet God, to put nothing off which concerns eternity, and to live like men ready to depart at any moment. So living, it matters little whether we die young or old. Joined to the Lord Jesus, we are safe in any event.
We learn, thirdly, from this passage, what benefits affliction can confer on the soul. Because of the other side of Christianity often preached to us in this country, many have come to believe and accept as a life’s guide that pain has no benefit. But we read, that anxiety about a son led the ‘Big-man’ to Christ, in order to obtain help in time of need. Once brought into Christ’s company, he learned a lesson of priceless value. In the end, “he believed, and his whole house.” All this, be it remembered, hinged upon the son’s sickness. If the nobleman’s son had never been ill, his father might have lived and died in his sins! Affliction is one of God’s medicines. By it He often teaches lessons which would be learned in no other way. By it He often draws souls away from sin and the world, which would otherwise have perished everlastingly. Health is a great blessing, but sanctified disease is a greater. Prosperity and worldly comfort, are what all naturally desire; but losses and crosses are far better for us, if they lead us to Christ. Thousands at the last day, will testify with David, and this official before us, “It is good for me that I have been afflicted.” (Psalm. 119:71.)
Let us beware of murmuring in the time of trouble. Let us settle it firmly in our minds, that there is a meaning, a needs-be, and a message from God, in every sorrow that falls upon us. There are no lessons so useful as those learned in the school of affliction. There is no commentary that opens up the Bible so much as sickness and sorrow. “No chastening for the present seems to be joyous, but grievous–nevertheless afterward it yields peaceable fruit.” (Heb. 12:11.) The resurrection morning will prove, that many of the losses of God’s people were in reality eternal gains. From this Lent we are going to Easter.
We learn, lastly, from this passage, that Christ’s word is as good as Christ’s presence. We read, that Jesus did not come down to Capernaum to see the sick young man, but only spoke the word, “Go your son will live.” Almighty power went with that little sentence. That very hour the patient began to amend. Christ only spoke, and the cure was done. Christ only commanded, and the deadly disease stood fast.
The fact before us is singularly full of comfort. It gives enormous value to every promise of mercy, grace, and peace, which ever fell from Christ’s lips. He that by faith has laid bold on some word of Christ, has placed his feet upon a ROCK. What Christ has said, He is able to do; and what He has undertaken, He will never fail to make good. GOD IS STILL ON THE THRONE. May God never deprive us of his grace and blessings. Speak, Lord to every situation that troubles us, every comfort that is dying, every blessing that is fading and give us life again through Christ Our Lord Amen. Good morning.
Fr. Karabari Paul