Sermon: Believing God as He Speaks Through His Word John 4:46-54

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Believing God as He Speaks Through His Word

John 4:46-54

Primary Truth Taught- Saving faith is made manifest when we believe God’s Word resulting in action.

Introduction

If you remember back when we started Chapter 4, we read that Jesus departed Judea and was going to Galilee because He did not want the Pharisees inventing ways to put His people and John the Baptist’s people at odds with each other over the issue of baptism.

John 4:3–4 (ESV)

he left Judea and departed again for Galilee. And he had to pass through Samaria.

So, after an amazing two day stop in Samaria He begins His journey on to Galilee.

This is where we pick up our text today.

Human Need Met

We have the great need to believe God. Sometimes we’re tempted to think that if we saw some great miracle then we would really believe. Our great need that this passage addresses is our need to believe God because He tells us something in His Word without requiring we first get a miracle.

Reading of God’s Word

By God’s ordained providence this is His Word for us today. As we are confronted with His Word today, may He change us more and more into the image of Christ.

This is God’s Word…

John 4:43–54 (ESV)

43 After the two days he departed for Galilee. 44 (For Jesus himself had testified that a prophet has no honor in his own hometown.) 45 So when he came to Galilee, the Galileans welcomed him, having seen all that he had done in Jerusalem at the feast. For they too had gone to the feast.

46 So he came again to Cana in Galilee, where he had made the water wine. And at Capernaum there was an official whose son was ill. 47 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.” 49 The official said to him, “Sir, come down before my child dies.” 50 Jesus said to him, “Go; your son will live.” The man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him and went on his way. 51 As he was going down, his servants met him and told him that his son was recovering. 52 So he asked them the hour when he began to get better, and they said to him, “Yesterday at the seventh hour the fever left him.” 53 The father knew that was the hour when Jesus had said to him, “Your son will live.” And he himself believed, and all his household. 54 This was now the second sign that Jesus did when he had come from Judea to Galilee.

  1. Those Who want Miracles and Not Jesus

43 After the two days he departed for Galilee. 44 (For Jesus himself had testified that a prophet has no honor in his own hometown.) 45 So when he came to Galilee, the Galileans welcomed him, having seen all that he had done in Jerusalem at the feast. For they too had gone to the feast.

The sad but true irony is very plain here in this passage. Strangers and Samaritans would believe and receive Jesus as the Messiah but His own people, His Jewish people did not receive Him. Now we know there were a few, but by in large, His people rejected Him. They had the Messiah, the Savior of the world, as the Samaritans proclaimed and yet all His people wanted from Him was another magic trick. They, if you remember, were simply after more miracles.

Jesus had no honor among those in the region of Galilee, especially in His hometown of Nazareth. John uses this proverb in a very broad way here. When he writes, a prophet has no honor in his own hometown, he does have in mind that He was without honor in His hometown of Nazareth but in the context, it seems that he may also mean among the entire Jewish nation of Jesus’ own people. He just left Samaria where there was a massive awakening among those the Jews hated. They heard Him and believed. They did not ask Jesus for signs and miracles. They wanted eternal life not a magic show.

Back home in Galilee He was welcomed of course but not in a good way. Notice what John tells us…
45 So when he came to Galilee, the Galileans welcomed him, having seen all that he had done in Jerusalem at the feast. For they too had gone to the feast.

They welcomed Him back home because they remembered the miracle He performed turning the water into wine. They wanted more. They didn’t want Him or eternal life; they wanted more magic and more wine. It’s a very sad tragedy when they had Jesus Christ right in their own town and failed to see Him for who He really is.

How many people today miss Jesus when He’s available for them. Many today don’t realize their need for Christ. Like the Jews who either thought they were ok in their own religion and good deeds many today think the same way. Then there’s the other issue they exhibited. They only wanted Jesus for what He could give them. They didn’t love Christ they loved what Jesus could give them. Why are you a Christian? Do you only love Jesus for what He gives you. If that’s true then you are like what Satan told God about…Does Job serve God for nothing? In other words, Satan thought that Job only loved God because of all the blessings He gave Job.

There is an infinite difference between loving Jesus alone and loving Him for what He gives you.

This first group, those who want miracles and not Jesus are consumers. They are only in it for the miracle and what Jesus can give them.

Why are you a Christian? Do you serve Christ so you’ll have a better marriage? Better well behaved children? So He’ll bless you somehow? More money, peace in this world, or so you’ll just feel better about yourself? These motives are idolatrous. These motives are what you’re really after. You are like Job’s wife. Should these things be removed then your love for Jesus will also cease and you would curse God.

  1. One Who Saw Miracles and Believed

 

46 So he came again to Cana in Galilee, where he had made the water wine. And at Capernaum there was an official whose son was ill. 47 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.”

John mentions the first sign, turning water into wine and the location Cana of Galilee to help us see what is transpiring. This official in the Greek means a royal official or one of royal descent.

There is a difference between the larger crowd who simply wants to see more miracles and this man. The miracles did not instill faith within them because they simply saw the miracle as the end in itself. This man, however, saw or heard about the miracle or turning water to wine and saw past the act to the One who accomplished it. He saw that this sign pointed to One who was great and One who was the Messiah.

His thought process was probably something like this: if Jesus can turn water to wine and that proves He’s the Messiah and when the Messiah comes part of His ministry will be to heal the sick, then if Jesus is the Messiah then, He can heal my son. So the miracle this man sought was driven by his hope that Jesus is the Messiah.

“Unless you see signs and wonders you will not believe.”

Here’s where a little understanding of the original language comes into play. It sounds like Jesus is rebuking this man for his request. It also sounds like he is also a sign-seeker. However, the “you” is in the plural. It means you all are seeking signs. Jesus is not addressing the man whose come to ask him for help but rebuking the crowd who would love to come and watch Him heal this man’s son.

Jesus will never forsake His own who come to Him for help. He is our brother who will always hear our cries and pleading and will never forsake us.

I’m reminded that Jesus’ ministry was, in many ways, on a smaller scale than we might think. When He came to Galilee, the masses rejected Him. Here, it was this one man who had heard about the sign Jesus accomplished with the water and believed. The crowd did not believe only this one man.

  1. One Who Heard God’s Word and Believed

49 The official said to him, “Sir, come down before my child dies.” 50 Jesus said to him, “Go; your son will live.” The man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him and went on his way.
Here’s the response that shows this man is different than the sign-seekers. He didn’t see an additional sign but he believed the word Jesus spoke. Do you see the difference?
The first miracle, the water to wine, jumpstarted this man’s faith. God used that sign to instill belief within this man. God brought him to life from his spiritual deadness. Once life enters the human heart then belief occurs through the Words of Christ. He did not need to see another miracle but believed based on the source. When Jesus speaks His words are true… The man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him and went on his way.
Do you see how this man’s actions show his faith? This is a concise example of true saving faith…At first, he searches for Jesus so He can heal his son. Once Jesus speaks a word, Go; your son will live and that is all it took for him. He didn’t beg Jesus to heal him or come to his house, but simply went his way. He believed without seeing a sign.

I want to think through this with you for a second. The crowd saw a sign but didn’t believe. They wanted more miracles and signs not Jesus. Here, this man saw or heard of the first miracle and he believed, then he further believed based solely on Jesus’ Word. So, sometimes miracles can cause us to want more miracles and not the Miracle-Worker. The safest route for our faith is to believe based on God’s Word whether miracles occur or not.

Here’s what it comes down to, would you rather have a miracle or the Bible?
2 Peter 1:16–21 (ESV)

16 For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. 17 For when he received honor and glory from God the Father, and the voice was borne to him by the Majestic Glory, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased,” 18 we ourselves heard this very voice borne from heaven, for we were with him on the holy mountain. 19 And we have the prophetic word more fully confirmed, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts, 20 knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. 21 For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.
Never forget, just as the miracle originates with God, so too the Word comes from God as well. His Word is eternal. God’s Word stays with us when a miracle comes and goes.

  1. One Who’s Belief is Confirmed
    51 As he was going down, his servants met him and told him that his son was recovering. 52 So he asked them the hour when he began to get better, and they said to him, “Yesterday at the seventh hour the fever left him.” 53 The father knew that was the hour when Jesus had said to him, “Your son will live.” And he himself believed, and all his household. 54 This was now the second sign that Jesus did when he had come from Judea to Galilee.
    Tucked away in this section is something that we might overlook if we don’t take the time to read this slowly. Here’s the context…Jesus has spoken the words that his son is healed. However, the next day at the 7th hour (1pm) the nobleman is still in the region of Galilee and has not returned home. So sure of Jesus’ words that he did not even rush home to see if his son had been healed. His anxiety over his son’s illness was relieved. He believed Jesus and his actions show it.
    We should also notice that his faith was made even stronger as he inquired as to the time his son began to recover…“Yesterday at the seventh hour the fever left him.” 53 The father knew that was the hour when Jesus had said to him, “Your son will live.”
    Faith is strengthened as we live by faith. When we trust Christ with each and every part of our life our faith is made stronger. Faith grows strong by the experience of grace. This nobleman already believed but his faith is now even stronger. We believe and then our belief is confirmed.
    Jeremiah Burroughs, one of the great Puritans wrote this,

Every time a godly man reads the Scriptures…and there meets with a promise, he ought to lay his hand upon it and say, this is part of my inheritance, it is mine, and I am to live upon it.[1]

Or as Charles Spurgeon in his devotional, The Checkbook from the Bank of Faith. Tells us that when we read a promise of God and see it as ours, it’s as if we just wrote a check and made a withdraw from our inheritance in heaven.
When this man’s faith was confirmed his faith was made stronger.
Not only was his faith strengthened but his family heard that the time Jesus declared that his son would live was the exact time the fever left and they believed.
54 This was now the second sign that Jesus did when he had come from Judea to Galilee.
What makes this healing miracle a sign?

John 20:30–31 (ESV)

30 Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; 31 but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.
I think there is at least two reasons…
Signs result in belief

The first sign Jesus accomplished in Cana of Galilee brought forth faith in His disciples. Do you remember how that section ended?
John 2:11 (ESV)

11 This, the first of his signs, Jesus did at Cana in Galilee, and manifested his glory. And his disciples believed in him.

Now, this second sign as Jesus manifested His glory through His Word resulted in the nobleman and his family believing.
Signs display Jesus as the Messiah
To see the Messiah at work we look to the obvious first. We first see the miracle of healing for the nobleman’s son. When the Messiah comes, He will heal the sick.
Isaiah 35:5–6 (ESV)

   Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened,

and the ears of the deaf unstopped;

   then shall the lame man leap like a deer,

and the tongue of the mute sing for joy.

       For waters break forth in the wilderness,

and streams in the desert;

Matthew 11:2–6 (ESV)

Now when John heard in prison about the deeds of the Christ, he sent word by his disciples and said to him, “Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?” And Jesus answered them, “Go and tell John what you hear and see: the blind receive their sight and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up, and the poor have good news preached to them. And blessed is the one who is not offended by me.”

We see clearly that Jesus proved to be the Messiah by His acts and His words.
Look quickly with me to the other side of the story. This is the one often overlooked.
The father’s fear and anxiety was also immediately removed at the 7th hour. By Jesus speaking the words, your son will live, was all the father needed to be whole again as well.

The same is true for us. When we believe God based entirely on His Word we are made whole our faith soars to the heavens and all our fears and anxiety and worry leave us. This father believed God and he acted on that belief. Do you believe God?

When times of struggle and stress come do you still believe God? If you should be like Job and loose everything would you then still believe God?
Isaiah 61:1–3 (ESV)

61 The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me,

because the Lord has anointed me

       to bring good news to the poor;

he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,

       to proclaim liberty to the captives,

and the opening of the prison to those who are bound;

   to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor,

and the day of vengeance of our God;

to comfort all who mourn;

   to grant to those who mourn in Zion—

to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes,

       the oil of gladness instead of mourning,

the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit;

       that they may be called oaks of righteousness,

the planting of the Lord, that he may be glorified.

Jesus heals the son, strengthens the father and saves the household.
He is our Lord, Savior, and Messiah
Praise be the name of Jesus Christ!

 

 

Declaration of Grace

In the mercy and grace of Almighty God, Jesus Christ was given to die for us, and for His sake God forgives us all our sins. To those who believe in Jesus Christ He gives the power to become the children of God and gives to them the Holy Spirit. May the Lord, who has begun this good work in us, bring it to completion in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen

 

[1] John by Richard Philipps, 287

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