It is encouraging and
enlightening to examine the lives of men and women
in the life of Jesus and observe His method of
dealing with them. Each situation and method of
Jesus' ministry with them was different. However,
there is also a pattern in how He worked in the
everyday affairs of men to do the Father's will. God
was at work in every one of these individuals'
lives. Every encounter was a God-sized experience.
When God invites us to
join Him in His work it is always too big for us to
accomplish in our own strength. Our response will
always reveal our true relationship with Him. We
will either trust and obey by stepping out by faith
and joining Him, or we will halt and not go any
further in obedience to His leading. How tragic when
we choose to do nothing.
What is our response when
God shows us where He is at work? Do we argue with
Him? Do we drag our feet? Do we make excuses and use
When God shows us what He
wants to do through our church, it will be something
only God can do. We will not be able to stand back
and take the credit for it. We can only bow with
humble hearts and give praise to Him and say, I saw
God do it!
AN ENCOUNTER WITH GOD
REQUIRES FAITH IN HIM.
A man of authority
asked Jesus to heal his son (4:46-47).
At the end of John
chapter four we encounter a royal officer, probably
a Jewish officer of the tetrarch Herod Agrippa,
whose son was sick at the point of death. He lived
at Capernaum about 20-25 miles away from Cana of
Galilee where Jesus was ministering. Jesus spoke the
words of healing in Cana and the boy was cured at
Capernaum. This officer was accustomed to giving and
receiving commands. He was accustomed to being in
charge of government affairs and having things done.
Someone said, when God speaks angels do not question
or argue with Him. They go immediately and do it.
This royal officer heard
that Jesus had returned to Galilee from Judea and
went to meet Jesus. The man appears to be included
in the crowd of miracle-seeking Jews. However, his
need is urgent and he persists in his request to
Jesus. He "was requesting Him to come down and heal
his son; for he was at the point of death" (v. 47).
The boy appears to have been chronically ill. This
nobleman took off at once to find Jesus and when he
found Him he commenced begging Him to come down at
once and heal his son, because he was close to
death. This royal official repeatedly asked Jesus to
come to his house. He went at once to Jesus and
"began to beg and kept it up." He "kept on begging"
(imperfect) Jesus to come to his home and heal his
son (v. 47).
The man was facing
a crisis situation
His son "was at the point
of death." The situation was out of the father's
control. He did not have the resources to resolve
the crisis. All human help had been exhausted. His
son "was at the point of death." Verse 49 reminds us
"Come . . . before my child dies." Only Jesus can
save this child from imminent death.
The Response of
Jesus (v. 48)
The words of Jesus in
response to the request are almost harsh. "Unless
you people see signs and wonders, you simply will
not believe." It is a reflection of the attitude of
the people who had to seek the evidence before they
would believe Jesus. They were insincere and
shallow. Seeing is not believing. Seeing is seeing.
They wanted to see "signs" or miracles that point to
God's glory before they would believe. A. T.
Robertson says it pictures "the stubborn refusal of
people to believe in Christ without miracles." These
were "attesting signs" such as changing the water to
wine showing that only God can do it. The "sign"
always affects the divine purpose and shows God at
work. Give us miraculous signs and then we will
believe. The word "wonders" means something so
strange as to cause it to be watched. It is
something beyond explanation. They are miraculous in
God does not work that
way. He calls us to come and follow and then He
gives the evidence later. Our pragmatic humanism
dictates that we see the evidence and then we will
respond. That is not faith. That is a reaction to
the work of God. When He is going to do something,
He commands that we believe, and this leads to a
crisis of belief. He demands that we take Him at His
word and obey. The evidence will come later. These
people were lacking in a deep commitment to Christ
and were only looking for sensationalism.
The government official
whose son was sick unto death was not arguing with
Jesus. He does not try to defend himself. Basically
he was saying, "Whatever the attitude of my mind
maybe, you are the only chance for my boy, please
come down lest he die." Verse 47 tells us he "was
requesting Him to come down and heal his son; for he
was at the point of death." Verse 49 tells us the
father was persistent in his request. There is the
imperative tone of urgency in his voice, "Sir, come
down before my child dies." It was a crisis. It was
out of control. He was desperate and He threw
himself upon the mercy of Jesus.
The man thinks that
Jesus' presence is necessary to perform the cure.
However, Jesus gives the father only His bare words.
Jesus spoke a word of authority and power. It was a
healing word. That is all that was needed. It never
occurred to the man that Jesus could heal his son at
a distance. The power to heal lies in the person of
Jesus Christ. "Your son lives"––not a word or
syllable more. The man rests his faith in Jesus
alone. He has only the word of Jesus and he rests
his faith on it.
Jesus saw the sincere
faith of the father and said, "Go your way; your son
lives" (v. 50). The word "to live" conveys both the
idea of recovering from illness and return to life
from the dead. In our context, it refers to the
physical recovery from the chronic illness.
How do we respond
when God speaks?
What is our response when
God shows us where He is at work? Do we argue with
Him? Do we drag our feet? Do we make excuses and use
diversion tactics like the woman at the well?
The royal officer saw
himself as a man under command like a military
officer. His attitude was not, "No one is going to
tell me what to do?" He had an attitude of
submission. He was a man under command.
The man said, "Come";
Jesus said, "Go." Without any hesitation the man
went home. He obeyed the command of Jesus.
Do we really believe that
the God who leads us where He is at work will also
provide the resources to bring it to pass? I believe
with all of my heart that when God calls a person to
a ministry He also provides. I have watched Him do
it over and over again to my utter amazement for
fifty years. Often He provides even before we have
time to ask. He leads us to seize an open door and
the timing of His provision is always perfect.
When God tells us what He
wants to do through us, we will face a time of
spiritual testing. Can I trust God to do what He has
said He will do in and through His disciples? How I
walk by faith is a testimony of what I believe about
God. Do I believe that He will accomplish what He
has chosen to do through me? What is my response
when Jesus says, “Come”? Do I follow all the way
God invites us to join
Him in His work. He has an assignment for our church
that only He can accomplish through us. When God
invites us to come and join Him, we suddenly realize
it is not something we can do on our own. If God
does not do it through us, we will fail. This is the
crisis point where many decide not to follow what
they sense God is leading them to do. Then they
wonder why they do not experience God's presence the
way other believers do. Am I ready to trust and
The obedient faith
of the father (v. 50).
The father obeyed the
command of Jesus. Perhaps it was the note of command
of authority in His voice that the man was
accustomed to hearing. He connected with Jesus. "The
man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him, and
he started off" (v. 50). It is instantaneous faith.
"He started on his way." His faith was in action.
The man took Jesus at His
word. There was no hesitation. He surrendered
completely and immediately to the word of Jesus.
Like the angels he does not argue or debate with
God. He immediately did what Jesus told him to do.
THE MAN EXPERIENCED
GOD WHEN HE OBEYED HIM (4:51-54)
"As he was now going down
. . ."
The man walked away
believing Jesus was true to His word (v. 50).
The man did not receive a
word of confirmation of the miracle of healing until
later (v. 51). He did not wait until his son was
healed before he believed Jesus. It was twenty-four
hours later when we later see the man going down the
road headed to his home in Capernaum. The father
apparently delayed leaving for home until sunup the
next morning, knowing his boy was out of danger. Use
your sanctified imagination for a moment and catch
the picture of the man on the road going toward his
house and the slaves running up to him jumping, all
excited and saying over and over again (imperfect)
that his son "lives."
Distance had no bearing
upon the question of the power of Christ to heal the
man's son. Neither distance, nor time has any
negative factor on what God does today.
The confirmation of
his faith (vv. 52-53).
How did the man know
Jesus did it? The timing was perfect. The boy did
not begin to mend; he was healed immediately. The
father was curious about the time when it happened.
"So he inquired of them the hour when he began to
get better." The response of his slaves, "Yesterday
at 7 PM (Roman time, 1 PM Jewish) the fever left
him." It left him immediately when Jesus said to the
man, "Your son lives!" Jesus healed the boy! It was
no accident, or chance occurrence. His timing is
always perfect. Perhaps the father thought the
healing would be gradual when he asked what time he
"began to improve." However, the servants reported a
complete, instant recovery from a distance.
This is one of several
miracles that Jesus performed "at a distance" (Matt.
"So the father knew that
it was at that hour in which Jesus said to him,
'Your son lives'; and he himself believed, and his
whole household" (v. 53). Believing is seeing! It is
not the opposite. God said go; the man went and he
experienced God at work in his life. The
confirmation came after the man believed Jesus. It
is the absolute use of the word "believe" as when a
person believes on Jesus Christ as the Messiah, the
Son of God. Here it is with the idea of becoming a
Christian. We see the father's faith in Christ
growing. God often uses our current need to drive us
to find even more than we ever perceived. It was
true with this man. He was driven to Jesus by his
son’s desperate need. His son needed immediate
intervention, but the father found a greater need
met that only Jesus could meet.
We miss out on the
blessings of God because we wait and look for the
evidence before we will believe. The royal official
believed and experienced God at work in his life.
The results of
seeing God at work in a person's life (v. 53).
"He himself believed, and
his whole household." Here is the first reference to
any whole household believing on Jesus. This man's
faith was contagious. He led his family to faith in
Years ago Arturo Contag
came to know Christ as his savior. This businessman
wanted all of his employees to come to Christ. He
formed a committee of pastors and mission leaders in
Quito, Ecuador, made the preparation, paid all the
expenses and invited evangelist Luis Palau to come
to Quito and hold a crusade. He invited Palau to
come to his fabric plants to preach the good news of
salvation in Jesus Christ. Acts 16 tells us about
the Philippian jailer's family coming to faith in
OF THIS SIGN TO OUR LIVES
always creates a crisis of belief for us.
Have you gone through a
crisis of belief lately? It is impossible to stay
where you are and follow Jesus Christ. If you have
not been challenged, even scolded by the Holy Spirit
to get up and walk by faith, you are probably
staying in your spiritual safety zone and not
walking with Him. Hebrews 11:6 reminds us, "Without
faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who
comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is
a rewarder of those who seek Him." Believing is
seeing. Jesus was looking for faith that was
independent of signs and miracles. Jesus was the
focus of the man's faith.
question for us
The question is not can
God provide to meet my crisis situation. The
question is not can we afford it? The question is
not where we will find the money. The question is
not left up to my finding the solution or the
resources. The question is how big is my God? Did He
call us to come and follow Him?
The critical question is
where is God at work in my life? Where is God at
work in your community? Where is God at work in your
church? Do we have an intimate love relationship
with Him and are we spiritually prepared to join Him
where He is at work? Let's find out where God is at
work and see if He will not invite us to come and
join Him in what He is doing.
God will provide
God will provide because
He is faithful to accomplish His will. He cannot
fail. He has never failed to provide for His people
when He invites them to come and join Him. He will
open the doors. He reminds us that He owns the
cattle on a thousand hills and He will sell the
cattle off when the need arises. God is 100%
faithful to what He is doing. He will always provide
where He is at work. Maybe the real issue is, are we
ready to trust Him fully? If we do not obey He will
go over the railroad tracks and give the opportunity
to those who will trust Him to provide.
Questions to ponder this
When was the last time
God invited you, or your church, to come and join
Him in a ministry that is beyond your ability to
What was your response to
the invitation? What was the response of your
Where is God at work in
your life? Where is He at work in your town,
village, or suburb? Where is He at work in your
When we walk by faith
trusting in the Lord Jesus to lead and provide we
will experience Him and we can honestly say with all
of our heart I saw God do it!
Title: John 4:46-54
Believing is Seeing
Series: People in Life of