Learning to believe without craving for signs and wonders

Posted by admin on 26 February 2023 in John, Matthew |

John 4:45-54 [1]

45 When he arrived in Galilee, the Galileans welcomed him. They had seen all that he had done in Jerusalem at the Passover Festival, for they also had been there.

46 Once more he visited Cana in Galilee, where he had turned the water into wine. And there was a certain royal official whose son lay ill at Capernaum. 47 When this man heard that Jesus had arrived in Galilee from Judea, he went to him and begged him to come and heal his son, who was close to death.

48 ‘Unless you people see signs and wonders,’ Jesus told him, ‘you will never believe.’

49 The royal official said, ‘Sir, come down before my child dies.’

50 ‘Go,’ Jesus replied, ‘your son will live.’

The man took Jesus at his word and departed. 51 While he was still on the way, his servants met him with the news that his boy was living. 52 When he enquired as to the time when his son got better, they said to him, ‘Yesterday, at one in the afternoon, the fever left him.’

53 Then the father realised that this was the exact time at which Jesus had said to him, ‘Your son will live.’ So he and his whole household believed.

54 This was the second sign Jesus performed after coming from Judea to Galilee.

Jesus left Samara (John 4:43) and was in Cana in v46. On the way from Samaria to Cana, there is Nazareth where Jesus found no honour (John 4:44) due to their doubt and demand. 'doubt and demand' are what the Devil wants us to do. Jesus also was tempted to ‘test God, and expect (demand) God to do as we demand (expect)’ during His 2nd temptation (Matthew 4:5-7).

Let us study today's scripture and improve a similar common problem in our faith.

I. Galileans as opposed to Samaritans

Galileans welcomed Jesus (45a). The reason for the welcoming was written in v45b.

They had seen all that he had done in Jerusalem at the Passover Festival, for they also had been there.

The reason was that they had ‘seen’ all he had done (45b).

Jesus leads 'faith in miracles' to 'faith in the word' [2] (John 10:38, 14:11, 15:24). However, He reproves the craving for miracles or miracle mania [2].

Samaritans were spiritually superior because they believed in Jesus for His word [3] (John 4:41-42, John 20:29).

II. Learning to believe without craving for signs and wonders

A certain royal official was in Cana and his son lay ill at Capernaum (46). Capernaum was 26km away from Cana. He begged Jesus to come and heal his son (47) and urged Jesus (49),

‘Sir, come down before my child dies.’ (49b)

Jesus told him in v48.

‘Unless you people see signs and wonders, you will never believe.’ (48a, 48c)

Jesus leads 'faith in miracles' to 'faith in the word' [2] (John 10:38, 14:11, 15:24). However, He reproves the craving for miracles or miracle mania [2]. Jesus knew all people and what was in each person (John 2:24-25). Jesus knew the official’s faith had a problem - ‘not believing without craving for signs and wonders’. How did Jesus help him? See v50.

50 ‘Go,’ Jesus replied, ‘your son will live.’

Jesus asked him to go by believing His word [4].

The man took Jesus at his word and obeyed (50b). Because what Jesus said was the truth and what He did was real (51, 52, 53a), His word eventually led him and his whole household to faith (53b).

This was the second sign Jesus performed in Cana (54).

When Jesus performed the 1st sign in Cana (John 2:1-11) also, the servants obeyed Jesus’ word before seeing the miracle. When Jesus healed a born-blind beggar in John 9, Jesus put mud on his eyes and asked him to go to Siloam to wash his eyes. Why did He not heal him instantly but request obedience before the healing? We can see a similar reason behind it. We need to learn to believe without craving for the signs and wonders! Amen.

References

  1. The Holy Bible: New International Version. Anglicised. Revised and updated. ed. 2011: London: Hodder & Stoughton.
  2. Lange, J.P.S., Philip, A Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: John. Logos Research ed. 2008, Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.
  3. Spence, H.D.M., The Pulpit Commentary - St. John. Vol. 1. 1909.
  4. Borchert, G.L., The New American Commentary: John 1-11. 1996: Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

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