The royal official in John 4 orders Jesus to do what he wants. He commands Jesus. This ruler has a sick son, a son who is dying in Capernaum, and he tells Jesus, “Come down before my child dies.” He’s ordering Jesus. He’s telling Jesus what to do.
And Jesus complies.
Ah, see, you didn’t think it was going this way, did you?
This royal official is a man of means and a man of power. This man is well connected. He’s got pull. This man spends most of every day ordering people around. And when he finds out there’s a healer out there who can take care of his boy, he rushes to command Jesus to do just that.
And Jesus agrees. He does it. Boom! Right there on the spot. The boy is healed immediately.
The royal official had no idea who Jesus really was. He didn’t know. He had completely misunderstood Jesus’ mission, his purpose for living on earth. Jesus was a man who could meet the ruler’s immediate and personal needs. This person was only thinking of himself and his family.
And it seems that Jesus was OK with that.
Please know that people are going to come to you, also, to command you and order you around to meet their own felt needs. People are going to misunderstand you and your mission. They’re not going to care a whole lot about your call to ministry or your obligations to our Lord and the big picture concerns of his Kingdom. Your Kingdom priorities and your Kingdom goals won’t matter to some of the people who will direct you to do what they want you to do no matter what. Sometimes people will approach you in order to use you; they will come to you intent on exploiting you so they can continue living their comfortable lives.
Our job, as I understand it, is to show them the love of Christ and share with them his compassion. We’re called by our Savior to give these people his blessings and his mercy and grace. We offer to them out of the abundance of what we’ve been given by God. Jesus loves people. And his greatest desire is to help them, to take care of them, even when they come to him to misuse him.
This is not a call to promote unhealthiness or immaturity in God’s Church. Sometimes the people who have been disciples of Jesus the longest are the very ones who will exploit you and your ministry in their own selfish interests and for their own self-serving purposes. Catering to them is not what I’m talking about.
The story at the end of John 4 is about compassion and the love of Jesus for those who don’t know any better. Jesus took orders from a guy who didn’t even know who he was. I suppose I can, too.