Complete: Sick people need Jesus
Complete: Sick people need Jesus
Healing; Faith; Jesus: Divinity; Belief; Obey; Sickness
John 4:4–54; Hebrews 11; James 2:14–26; Galatians 4:4–7; Philippians 2:13
Faith is taking and acting on the words of Jesus at his word.
Child sick…out of my mind.
I wanted to believe that God was going to heal. I wanted to be confident.
Do you know anyone who faces life and death issues with divine confidence?
Today we have a passage in the closing section of Chapter 4 of the Gospel of John.
Lynn: I remember a lady early on in my faith who had breast cancer. She was my daughters Sunday school teacher so I interacted with her fairly regularly “God is good and he loves me…”
It’s what we call faith. Believing what we can’t yet see. Was it a foolish faith? No, she had a mature faith, she wanted to be healed of cancer. She wanted to avoid the sickness and the pain. She wanted family to avoid the grief and sadness, but she knew that her worst problem, her sin problem, had been healed 100%. “God is good and he loves me!”
So today we hear of someone facing a similar situation…but harder because we have a sick Child in need here. But lets start from the beginning.
Jesus leaves Samaria after a couple of days with them. Remember the Samaritans were outsiders…they were the rejects. Jesus was in Jerusalem and got run out of town by the Pharisees only to be accepted in Samaria. He’s on his way home, not expecting to be welcomed as v44 tells:
John 4:44 NIV
44 (Now Jesus himself had pointed out that a prophet has no honor in his own country.)
This is remarkable when you read the next verse…When he arrived, they welcomed him. It’s confusing, but Jesus is getting used to making confusing statements…like when he told his mom he didn’t’ care about the wine at the wedding, then go and make gallons for them.
This one makes a bit more sense when we read the context…they had seen the miracles Jesus performed in Jerusalem. Before that they had heard about the wedding.
There was excitement when Jesus showed up because people knew what all he had done.
Into this fan party, comes a man in desperate need. Not for himself, but for his son. His son is sick…on his death bed. He needs Jesus.
Sick People need Jesus…because Jesus has the power to heal…everyone knew this.
Now you know what it was like for him before he left home. He thought….or more likely, his wife thought he should go…he wanted to stay with his son…but she said you better go and don’t come back without that man. No matter how powerful he was, his response was just like ours…yes dear.
He had come from Capernaum…which probably made him an official of Herod. Now the only thing worse than a Jewish tax collector was a Jewish hand of Rome…an administrator/an enforcer of Roman rule…a true sell out…had come from Capernaum, probably 20 miles away. If he walked it would take all day, but he wouldn’t walk – probably a 3 hour ride.
As soon as he gets there he begins to beg Jesus to come to heal his son because he’s about to die. He begs, pleads.
And what does Jesus say? It’s sort of rude, but he’s not talking to the man as much as he is everyone else…
John 4:48 NIV
48 “Unless you people see signs and wonders,” Jesus told him, “you will never believe.”
I don’t’ think Jesus was tired, He was just pointing out the fault in their belief. They believed – they were excited about what Jesus could do.
But Jesus had all along been teaching…if you believed you would really see. It’s what he told Nathaniel, it’s what he told Nicodemus, it’s what he told the woman at the well.
The man just went right on…please come to my son.
Jesus responded….go, your son will live.
But the man didn’t go right home. The text doesn’t explain why, but I think I can understand. He knew Jesus could heal, but it had never happened like this before. He needed to be with his son….how could dad go home without an answer, he needed to do something.
The next day he gets back in his chariot and on the way home servants come meet him on the road and tell him that his son is healed. That his son had been healed at the same hour that Jesus had said his son would live.
He told his family all that had happened and they all believed. They all believed.
This is a sign. A sign means it’s not the point, but it’s directing us to the point. And the point it’s directing us to is that we can believe that Jesus shows that He is God because he has the power to heal just by speaking the words and because of that, we can believe everything else he says. We are not limited to believing because we see…rather when we believe we will truly see.
This second sign is a sign of Jesus’s divinity.
The official and his family believe…do you believe?
Let’s talk about belief for a minute. Scripture describes faith in some unique ways.
In Luke 7,
Luke 7…Jesus has dinner with some pharisees and they don’t recognize him. Men who knew every prophecy in the OT that told of the Messiah….yet when he was at the dinner table with them, they didn’t recognize him.
They had dead faith.
Pharisees, new about the messiah…but they didn’t recognize Jesus as the messiah. They knew about him but didn’t really know him.
Faith you see is a gift. It’s God’s gift to heal us from the worst sickness of all…sin. The way we receive this gift is to take Jesus at his word, Believe in him, let him work in us, we will be healed.
James the brother of Jesus wrote in the book James that faith is much more than knowing about Jesus. He says that the devil has dead faith…simply believing in Jesus…healing faith, living faith is more than this.
Living faith he says requires action. You can read it for yourself in James 2:14-26
James 2:26 NIV84
26 As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.
The writer of Hebrews in trying to communicate this idea described it this way…
Hebrews 11:1 NIV84
1 Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.
He described living faith as the way their ancestors lived, Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Jacob, Moses. They lived by faith and we know it because of the way they lived their lives.
You see, faith isn’t just this internal quality…it’s visible, and it shows up in different ways.
John Wesley referred to these as servant faith and childlike faith.
CONVICTION to obedience
Scripture talks about fear of God leading to obedience, and we usually think of fear as a bad thing. But a servant of God, fear is about respect,
The bible talks alot about this being a good and healthy thing. I know in culture today, Christianity gets grief because we believe in a god who wants us to fear him….But fear can be a good and healthy thing.
It protects us. It can direct our lives in very healthy directions.
But if we are not careful it can lead us to malnourished faith.
Wesley and his friends visited the inmates of the prisons and work-houses of Oxford. They took pity on the slum children of the city, providing them with food, clothing and education. They observed Saturday as the Sabbath as well as Sunday. They went to church and to Holy Communion. They gave alms, searched the Scriptures, fasted and prayed. But they were bound in the fetters of their own religion, for they were trusting in themselves that they were righteous, instead of putting their trust in Jesus Christ and Him crucified. A few years later, John Wesley (in his own words) came to “trust in Christ, in Christ only for salvation” and was given an inward assurance that his sins had been taken away. After this, looking back to his pre-conversion experience, he wrote: “I had even then the faith of a servant, though not that of a son.” Christianity is a religion of sons, not slaves….John Stot
God isn’t looking for servants…he is looking for sons and daughters.
How do we develop this child of God faith? A deeper understanding of grace. What John Wesley referred to as the second sort of level of faith…childlike faith.
You see as UMs we understand that salvation isn’t a moment…but a journey. Its not an event, but a way of living. Living in relationship with God where we learn and grow. Learn more about his promise for us and grow deeper in love with God…the more we learn the more we grow, the more we seek him.
This refers to living in confidence of the promises of God.
OC Pyramid pool…I remember teaching our kids to jump in the deep end when they were little. Oh my they had a blast…over and over…again and again.
At first we were worried that they might just jump in without us because it is fun, you know what happened? They never jumped in, not because it wasn’t fun, but because it was fun because they were doing it with us. For a child, everything is about relationships.
When it comes to faith, we should look to not grow up…but grow deep in God’s love for us. The more we are fascinated with God’s love for us, the more natural obedience becomes.
That’s what Jesus offers us.
Matthew 11:28–30 The Message
28 “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. 29 Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. 30 Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”
That’s what Jesus wants to do for us – in us.
If you have a servant faith and want to develop a confident faith like my friend had…
Philippians 2:13 NIV84
13 for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.
God is at work…so I can grow
God is at work…so I must grow
We need not settle for obedience, when confidence is waiting for us.
This is what we all want when it comes to our relationship with Jesus. Like the dad in our story today, he was confident that Jesus could heal….he wasn’t so confident Jesus would heal his son.
As his faith grew, his confidence in the promise of God grew, and he found what my friend found… God is good and he loves me.
I don’t mean that you have to believe enough to be healed of your disease. Many of the people Jesus healed didn’t seem to have faith at all…the boy in this story for instance.
But you see healing from our sickness isn’t the point…no more than his healing was the point of this sign.
You see every person Jesus healed, died. Some though died to rise again…because they had been truly healed.
I’m talking about the spiritual healing that we all are dying for. Faith heals our sin sickness.
But beyond that, faith solves our purpose problem too.
Faith is a gift We will all face circumstances in life where we will long to have the faith to endure, overcome. The question is, do we trust Jesus enough to do what he tells us to see it happen? Do we believe that sort of faith is possible…do we believe it enough to grow that faith?