I. John 4:43-54 Faith in Jesus
A. There are different kinds of faith, which is going to be the topic that we are going to be looking at today. There is a difference between a faith that believes in the power of Jesus and a faith that believes in Jesus as God. Not only that, faith can grow, it can start out small and deepen through experiencing Jesus.
II. 4:43-45, A Prophet Received, yet without honor.
A. V43, Jesus had just spent two days with the Samaritans who had received Jesus with open arms. We are going to see the contrast of how the Samaritans received Jesus and how the Jews in Galilee receive Jesus. The Samaritans received Jesus just through His Words, being that Jesus did not perform any signs or wonders that we are told of, unlike the Galileans who would not believe until they first could see.
B. V44, Jesus had testified Himself that prophet is has no honor among his own countrymen. The Samaritan’s recognized that Jesus was a prophet sent from God, and more than that that He was the Christ, and they showered Him with honor and begged Him not to leave. The Galileans doubted that Jesus was anyone special, and it was harder for them to believe unless they first saw proof. This was probably because they had seen Jesus grow up as the son of the carpenter.
1. It is true that servants of God receive the least honor among those who knew them growing up, because it is very difficult to learn from someone that was once your classmate, much less worship them as God (as is the case with Jesus and His fellow Galileans). This does teach us though that prophets are worthy of honor, whether or not the world gives it to them is another matter.
C. V45, The Galileans did receive Jesus, but notice it is because of what they saw Him do in Jerusalem at the feast. They did not receive Him because of His testimony. Although God accepts this sort of reception and faith, it is not exactly celebrated in God’s eyes. It is more blessed to believe and to not have seen.
1. Why? Imagine if I were to tell you something and all you ever did was doubt what I said, it would be somewhat offensive since it could imply you thought my character was untrustworthy. When we are overly critical of the Word of God we doubt the Character of the One who wrote it. It is not that we are not to make sure something is true before we believe it, on the contrary this is commendable (I.E., the Bereans), but there comes a point where we just want to see miracle after miracle to keep believing even though God has already given us plenty of evidence to believe.
III. 4:46-48 Crisis Faith
A. V46, Jesus returns to Cana of Galilee, the same place where He did His first Messianic Sign amongst the people in Galilee. Now a Noble man comes to Jesus to implore Him to heal his sick son. This man, being a noble man, was likely high up in the government of King Herod Antipas.
1. We have seen that the gospel is for everyone and Jesus will reach out to everyone, although He does so in different ways. First, we saw Jesus talking to the religious leader Nicodemus the Pharisee. Then, we saw Jesus reaching out to the sinful Samaritan woman. Now, we are going to see Jesus working to produce the right kind of faith in this nobleman.
2. One of the common themes for all three of these people is faith. Jesus was trying to lead them all into faith in Him, and not just any faith but the correct kind of faith. A faith that believes in Jesus as God and Christ is the type of faith that Jesus is looking to produce.
B. V47, We see here some good things about the Nobleman, he obviously cares very greatly for his son and is even willing to go himself when he could have sent a servant, despite the long journey. This shows faith in the power of Jesus, that He could do something about his son being sick.
C. V48, This was both a rebuke to the man, and a general fact about the Jewish people. Jesus knows that this man has some sort of deficiency in his faith, since He declares “Unless you see signs and wonders you won’t believe”. That seems like an odd thing when the man seems to have come so far to ask Jesus to do a miracle, and some would call that faith. This isn’t the type of faith that saves you though. You can believe in the power of God, and still not be saved.
1. An everyday example of this would be of someone who declares not to believe in God and who is driving along then sees themselves about to get into a car accident. Moments before he crashes he calls out to God to save him. He had faith that maybe God could do something about this, but it is more of a crisis type faith. This is the type of faith that calls out to God when we have no other options and is sort of a last ditch effort.
2. Jesus gave signs to prove that He was God and His did wonders to prove that He had the power of God, but it the type of faith that comes to Him only for signs and wonders is not the type of faith He desires to birth in us.
IV. 4:49-50 Saving Faith
A. V49, Here we see the deficiency of “crisis faith”. It puts limitations on Jesus. The man believed that Jesus could heal his child, but he believed that there was only one way for Him to do it and that meant coming down there in person. The man seems to have just ignored what Jesus had previously said to him and blurts out his need. When we are in a crisis we are not always thinking clearly and all we can think about is fixing the problem that is in front of us.
B. V50, Jesus, being God, knows what it is like to have a Father Son relationship. Jesus drops the rebuke and has compassion on this man and tells him to “Go your way; your son lives.” Jesus didn’t have to go down there in order to heal his son, something only God could do. Jesus is not limited by time and space. Amazingly the man believed the word of Jesus.
1. I believe that this is saving faith. The words of Jesus were enough for him, even though Jesus wasn’t going to go down to Capernaum in person. He trusted the word of Jesus that his son would live and he went away in faith.
2. Romans 10:17 “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God”. When we hear the Word of God produces faith in our hearts, just as hearing the word of Jesus produced faith in this nobleman.
3. This nobleman’s faith was shown in that he not only believed but he walked away, he didn’t argue his point that he thought Jesus should be there in person; he just walked away in faith. Faith means you drop your understanding of how you think things should work and you trust in what the Word of God says is true, despite it at times not making sense.
V. 4:51-54, Confirmed Faith
A. V51, His faith was rewarded and he comes to find out that his son lives. His servants came to him and told him the exact words that Jesus had told him. In the following verses we see that this man’s saving faith will become confirmed faith, and will lead to not just him but his whole family believing.
B. V52, The man inquires of the exact hour, so as to see if it corresponds to the moment when Jesus had told him his son lives.
C. V53, He finds out that in fact it was at the same moment in when Jesus had told him his son lives. It says here that this man believes, yet didn’t he already believe before? He had it is just that now his faith has grown.
1. There are times of trials where we have to put our faith in the word of God, despite what we feel and despite what we think God should do in a given circumstance. Yet, it is always so encouraging when we see that putting our faith in God, despite not understanding or despite thinking God should do differently, paid off. We look back and we see the miracle that God did, and our faith grows even stronger. Our faith is confirmed.
2. At this point, not only the nobleman, but the whole family believes in Jesus. It is possible that if Jesus had gone down in person there would have still been doubters amongst the family of the nobleman, but the way Jesus did this sign showed a power that was not limited by physical location. This is something that only God can do, He is the only One who is not limited by time in space. No doubt their faith in Jesus by this time was much more than just a prophet, but as God Himself.
D. V54, This was the second sign that Jesus had done in Galilee. This sign very clearly shows the deity of Christ, in that He did not have to go to Capernaum in person. Jesus gave signs in order to manifest His glory and reveal who He is, but He never commended the type of faith that came to him only for signs or wonders. Yes, God has power to help us, but He would rather we believe in Him for the sake of knowing Him personally instead of just for what we can get out of Him.
A. The story of the nobleman shows a contrast with that of the Samaritans. The people of Samaria gladly received Jesus just based on His Word, and they enjoyed His company just for the sake of His company and not for what they could get out of Him, unlike the typical Galilean.
B. The Nobleman first came to Jesus with “crisis faith”. A faith that only wanted something out of Jesus for the sake of his own needs and a faith that was not exactly what Jesus was looking for, being that Jesus came to save and to have a relationship with us.
C. Jesus drops his rebuke on the nobleman and has compassion on him, telling him that his son his healed. The man then has saving faith in Jesus, based on the word of God. We see this in the fruit of his actions in that he walked away trusting that Jesus did what He said He would do.
D. Lastly, we see the man experience confirmed faith, a faith that grows. This also leads to his entire household believing in Jesus as well.