Let’s dive straight into our encounter for today.
43 Now after two days he departed thence, and went into Galilee. 44 For Jesus himself testified, that a prophet hath no honour in his own country.
Jesus is leaving Samaria and especially the city of Sychar where he met the woman by the well. But He comes into His own place and He is met with unbelief! That’s why He says that the prophet does not have honour in his own country. It is contrasted with those that met Jesus in Samaria where they all believed – not just the woman’s word but also the words of Jesus.
Then when he was come into Galilee, the Galilaeans received him, having seen all the things that he did at Jerusalem at the feast: for they also went unto the feast.
- Why did the Galilaeans believe? Because of the miracle that Jesus did there at the wedding feast where He turned the water into wine. They believed because of the miracle, not because of the words of Christ.
What miracle was this?
- John 4:46
So Jesus came again into Cana of Galilee, where he made the water wine.
- It was the miracle of turning the water into wine. Their belief was dependent on the miracle.
So Jesus came again into Cana of Galilee, where he made the water wine. And there was a certain nobleman, whose son was sick at Capernaum.
- So the nobleman that came was among the number that believed because of the miracle, not because of Jesus’ words.
When he heard that Jesus was come out of Judaea into Galilee, he went unto him, and besought him that he would come down, and heal his son: for he was at the point of death.
- This man was desperate! His son was sick, to the point of death. Any father would be desperate in this sort of situation. So he comes seeking for Jesus, seeking for help, that Jesus would come and heal his son.
Then said Jesus unto him, Except ye see signs and wonders, ye will not believe.
- Jesus looks at the man and reads clearly the thoughts of his heart. This man has unbelief. He doesn’t really believe that Jesus can really heal his son. He does to a certain extent because that’s why he is there asking Christ for help. But he won’t believe fully on Christ until Jesus can heal his son. He won’t accept Him fully as Messiah unless Jesus could help him. It was conditional on the granting of his request.
- This was not an isolated incidence. Many were there that were thinking this way. They were interested in Jesus from selfish motives. They hoped to receive some sort of special benefit from his power and the working of miracles (like what happened at the wedding feast in John 2), and they staked their faith on the granting of this temporal favour.
- Doesn’t that sound like many of us today?
- We believe in Jesus because we want His blessings. We want His power bestowed upon us to work a miracle for us, to bless our lives, to enrich us, to give us all these worldly temporal blessings. A job. A spouse. Money in the bank. The list is as long as our arm. And if Christ doesn’t grant it to us, we won’t believe in Him. We claim that because of our harder life of toil, we don’t have time to worship God. It’s like we have to work it out on our own and God didn’t help us even though I prayed so hard, so I don’t want to follow Him.
- That’s what the prosperity gospel is all about! God’s blessings!! Bless me, bless me, bless me! I worship you, you bless me! I give tithe and offering, you bless me! I read my Bible, you MUST bless me!
- But how would you react if God doesn’t help? What if He doesn’t help to keep a spouse or loved one safe? How would we react if God doesn’t help us with our financial problems? How would we react if we failed our exam even though we studied so hard and prayed so hard? How would we react when it seems like God doesn’t bless us even though we give tithe and offering and are so faithful to Him?!
- The all important question is this. How would we react if God doesn’t give us what we want?
- The nobleman, he came to Christ for help, but he didn’t totally believe until he could see with his own eyes how Jesus had performed this miracle and helped his son!
Could it be that much of our faith today is tied up with signs and wonders? Jesus worked with humanity and did His best to convince them. His greatest miracles were found in the gospel John
- Turning water into wine.
- Walking on water.
- Feeding the 5,000 (found in all 4 gospels).
- Healing a man that was born blind.
- Resurrection of Lazarus.
Remember, this nobleman was a Jew. He might have been at the wedding where the water was turned to wine! Yet you contrast it with the woman of Samaria that we studied about last time. She believed simply from the conversation that she had with Jesus.
- John 4:28-29
28 The woman then left her waterpot, and went her way into the city, and saith to the men, 29 Come, see a man, which told me all things that ever I did: is not this the Christ?
- After that she went and told the whole town and they believed on her word and then came and heard Jesus for themselves and they believed too!
- John 4:41-42
41 And many more believed because of his own word; 42 And said unto the woman, Now we believe, not because of thy saying: for we have heard him ourselves, and know that this is indeed the Christ, the Saviour of the world.
- But this nobleman, a Jew, from the nation of Israel, having seen (or at least heard) of this miracle working man, refused to believe until Jesus would heal his own son. “Except you see signs and wonders, you will not believe.”
There is a danger of relying on signs and wonders to uphold and strengthen our faith, especially in the times that we live in today. Why?
- Revelation 16:14
For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty.
- At the end of time, there will be miracles. But not miracles that are done by God’s people in this context. It is the spirits of devils that will perform miracles!
- Revelation 19:20
And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone.
- Here we are told that there will be false prophets who will perform miracles! Just because you can read my mind, or heal a person with your touch, is not evidence that you are sent from God! False prophets will perform miracles to the extent that people will be deceived!
- Revelation 13:13-14
13 And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men, 14 And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live.
- In the end times, those that rely on signs and wonders will be deceived! Fire will come from heaven! Something so miraculous that it will deceive people to think that God is with this group of people who are doing such things, when in fact God is not with them at all! The people will be swept away with emotions and with the senses of everything that they see. They will be caught up with the hype!
- It’s not every day that we see miracles. But these miracles would lead them to do what? Make an image to the beast and eventually worship that over God.
- The issue at the end of time is over miracles vs His word! The Mark of the Beast vs the Word of God.
- So just because you can work signs and wonders, it doesn’t mean you are sent from God. Yet many today are relying on that alone to test if a person is sent from God or not!
Today many people are still relying on signs and wonders to make it the basis of their belief. We ask for signs about whether we think this is the person God wants us to be with instead of turning to the pages of scripture to seek counsel from the word of God itself. We ask for signs about whether God wants us to take this job, even though it means we have to violate one of His 10 commandments rather than just turning to the 10 commandments itself to see if the job falls within the boundaries of His law.
We ask for signs about everything, even though the word is so clear. Not because we are unsure about what the bible says, but because we want it fulfilled our way and we’re just looking for a sliver of hope that God is going to actually approve, so the easiest is to ask for a sign.
So Christ says to us, except you see signs and wonders you won’t believe.
Did you know that Jesus called John the Baptist the greatest of all prophets? Yet look at what Jesus said about this prophet whom He considered the GREATEST!
- John 10:41
And many resorted unto him, and said, John did no miracle: but all things that John spake of this man were true.
- He didn’t perform a single miracle – YET God called him the greatest of all prophets. We must be careful to rely on miraculous, supernatural phenomenon’s. For sure, the devil will easily deceive us if that is all we make as the basis of our belief system.
But coming back to the story. How did the nobleman respond?
- John 4:49
The nobleman saith unto him, Sir, come down ere my child die.
- He understood now that Jesus had read the thoughts of his own heart. And so all he could do was just to simply cry out in desperation. It was all that he could simply do. Jesus help! In his desperation, his faith began to strengthen. He clung all the more to Jesus and believed more!
How does Christ respond?
- John 4:50
Jesus saith unto him, Go thy way; thy son liveth. And the man believed the word that Jesus had spoken unto him, and he went his way.
- Christ gives the word of assurance. He doesn’t work any miracle He doesn’t snap His fingers. He does what He has been trying to teach everyone – just trust His word. His word is that which will accomplish what He pleases. It is His word that will strengthen faith. It was His word that hung the worlds in space. And it would be through His word that he would heal this man’s son.
- And so the nobleman takes hold of that word, because that’s all he has left! He takes hold of it and he chooses to believe it.
- That’s how we are in desperation isn’t it? When there’s nothing left to hold on to, THEN only that we come and cling to the word of God. How many heartaches might be spared if we just learnt that lesson from the beginning. How our lives would be different if we learnt to trust God and His word from the very start of our Christian journey.
- It was at his most desperate point that he only then learns to trust God and to believe Him. And Christ doesn’t turn him away. He rewards his faith as He will reward anyone who believes in Him.
- Christ doesn’t hold grudges. You didn’t believe in me?! No – I won’t heal your son! No, Christ shows him that He knows the thoughts of his heart. Not to humiliate him and leave him there, but to help him to understand his need.
- And Christ accomplishes that and helps the man to believe!
- John 4:51-53
51 And as he was now going down, his servants met him, and told him, saying, Thy son liveth. 52 Then enquired he of them the hour when he began to amend. And they said unto him, Yesterday at the seventh hour the fever left him. 53 So the father knew that it was at the same hour, in the which Jesus said unto him, Thy son liveth: and himself believed, and his whole house.
- On his way home, the father receives news that his son is healed! The father has such strong faith now that he doesn’t rush home. It’s the next day only that he receives news that his son is better. It is because he has trusted the word of Christ. His faith took hold of what Jesus said and it gave him peace in his heart, it gave him assurance that what He had promised, that also would He do it!
You know it says in Luke.
- Luke 18:8
Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?
- When Christ comes back for a second time, the question is asked us – Will He find faith?
- The fact that Jesus Himself asks this question is evidence enough to know that there will not be many people with a faith that will take hold of God’s word at the end of time. Meaning, there may be a lot of Christian’s but there will be many who just have the form of godliness, but not the true power of a Christian. They’re probably looking for signs and wonders, miracles. Something to stir their senses and emotions.
- But when Christ comes back will He find faith on the earth? Will there be a people who will take God at His word and His word only? Not looking for signs and wonders. Not looking for a miracle. But willing to live by every word and every word of God ONLY. Not by sight, not by feelings, not by our senses. But only by what we see in God’s word and nothing else.
- Romans 1:17
For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.
Christ sets the standard. Unless we learn to live by faith today and not by sight, we will fall infinitely short of Christ’s righteousness and infinitely short of heaven.
So let’s come back to what matters today. Let’s give more attention to our faith.
So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
We need to come back to God’s word as our sure foundation again! Let’s make faith our focus. More of the Word of God. More of the Bible. Let it be written on our hearts and minds. Saturated thoroughly and fully with God and His word!