Jesus’ first miracle is in a town called Cana where he turns water into wine. The people of that town, his own hometown in Galilee, accept this party trick but reject him as a prophet and savior. I think in this passage, Jesus is coming in to this next scenario with his guard up. He may even be jaded:
When this man heard that Jesus had come from Judea to Galilee, he went to him and asked him to come down and heal his son, for he was at the point of death. 48 So Jesus said to him, “Unless you see signs and wonders you will not believe.”
That’s what everyone else needed to believe. That’s what was prophesied about the rejection of Galilee. That’s what prevents Jesus from showing up and doing miracles. The “see it to believe it” mentality.
But that faith that the man had to heal his son was not that of the typical Galilean.
He retorts back:
“Sir, come down before my child dies.”
If you don’t even try, my son’s life is at stake. I don’t need to see your resume to believe that you can do what others say you can do. All I know is that if you can’t, my son will die.
Jesus sees this man’s faith; his determination—and heals his son.
How often does my disbelief prevent Jesus from acting?
It’s not that Jesus isn’t able. It’s not that Jesus isn’t willing. He wants to bring healing, he wants to do miracles. But miracles in the presence of disbelief create callous.
Jesus wants to do his work in the hearts of the truest believers. Those who will not be denied, give up, or waver.
Lord I believe—help me in my unbelief.