Rev. James K. McKnight (Courtesy photo)

Scripture: John 4: 46-54
Brothers and sisters, Father’s Day is here. What a blessing it is to have a day where fathers are honored, respected and celebrated! Let’s pause and give thanks for dads, step dads, foster dads, godfathers and all manner of folks who have been fathering.

Not only is a good time to honor dads, it is a good time to encourage some fellas who are being fine fathers and help some of us like me who could benefit from a timely reminder.  I have found a story in the Gospel of John that features a fine father.  Let’s look at it together and see if we can learn and grow.

John 4: 46-54 tells the story of a fine father whose story and actions can be a blessing to us today. Jesus comes to Cana and a father who has a son who is sick in a neighboring area called Capernaum approaches him.  The father informs Jesus of the situation and asks that Jesus would go about 17 miles to Capernaum and heal his very sick son.

A conversation ensues, which might have caused the father to conclude that Jesus was not going to do what the powerful man wanted Jesus to do. Jesus then tells the father to go on home because the boy lives.  So the man took Jesus at his word and started on his journey home.

While he was a ways off, his servants met him with some great news. The son was well. The father, likely elated with the good news, got himself together and asked when his son got well.  After learning that the boy got healed around the time that Jesus has pronounced the healing, the father put “two and two together” and concluded that Jesus did a long distance healing.

Hallelujah!  The story then tells us that father believed on Jesus and so did the rest of the family.  What a great story!  I see something that blessed me and I hope it blesses you.  Notice how the father is described. Most translations call him a nobleman or a royal official.

He certainly is a man of influence, likely a high-ranking Roman government official.  He is a workingman.  Yes, he is. He is the kind of father I want to honor today. Fathers, thank you for the work you do to provide for your child or children.  Fathers, thank you for modeling a strong work ethic.  Fathers, thank you for working, in some cases, more than one job to provide for those you love.

Notice something else in the story. This father, though busy with his work life, knows what is going on in the life of his son.  I like that. He is out of town, away from home, yet he knows that his child is very ill.

Let me say thank you to fathers like this one, who make it your business to keep up with what is going on in your child’s life.  Yes… with all of the temptations that are designed to ruin our children’s lives, we can’t afford to be “too busy” for our loved ones.
How many of you had a dad like my dad who did room inspections looking for evidence that I had lost my way?  How many of you had a dad who picked up the phone and listened to your conversations when you were so caught up with your “boo” that you couldn’t do your homework?  How many of you had a dad who wanted to meet your friends, a dad who cared enough about you to restrict you from hanging with folks who were destined for trouble?  I want to take time out to honor and thank dads who know what’s up and do something about it when something is amiss.

Notice further that this father models persistence.  He asks Jesus for a blessing for his son and then he asks further until Jesus moves on his behalf.  Let me thank fathers like this fine father who show us what it means to be persistent.  Thank you, dads.  You know that for your kids, if at first you don’t succeed, try, and try again.

Last, but certainly not least, notice that this father trusted God when it wasn’t easy and then saw to it that his family started to trust God. Oh, I love that.  Thank you to all of the fine fathers who are walking by faith, praying for and with your family members, sharing your testimonies and making sure that your family members know the Lord.

You fine fathers deserve all the love that is coming your way! Let’s carry on shaping and bettering the lives of those who need what we have to offer.  Happy Father’s Day!

The Rev. James K. McKnight is the senior pastor of Congregational Church of Christian Fellowship in Los Angeles.