Complete: Sick people need Jesus
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:
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...
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 a gift to people with the worst sickness of all…sin. But if we woudl just take Jesus at his word, we would receive this gift.
James the brother of Jesus wrote in the book James that faith is much more than knowing about Jesus. He says that even the devil believes in Jesus…faith requires more.
Faith he says requires action. You can read it for yourself in James 2:14-26
26 As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.
1 Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.
But there are different kinds of actions related to faith.
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,
This was the limit of the Pharisee’s. For all their conviction, they were simply unable to go beyond obedience to grace. That’s why Jesus proclaimed in WOE to you.
Your grave will be gorgeous, but it will be filled with bones...
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.
What’s beyond obedience? 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.
We develop what Wesley referred to as childlike faith.
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. You might fear that they would jump in when you aren’t there because it is fun, but the reality is, they only do it with you…because it is with you that it’s fun. Because 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.
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.
Obeying God is great…and to be honest it can get exhausting. But, we need not settle for obedience, when a relationship is waiting for us.
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.
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.
We simply need to engage our faith to see it grow and mature.
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
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?
Thanksgiving for his goodness...
We thank you Lord God for the gift of faith. You love us…even though we so often rebel against your love.
We thank you for your Son Jesus who came to earth, to be our example, he died to redeem us from our sin, and he rose again to defeat death that we might live life to it’s fullest.
We join the voices of saints across generations and nations as we praise your name and join their unending hymn:
Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might, heaven and earth are full of your glory. Hosanna in the highest.
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest.
You encourage the downhearted.
You lift up the weary
You create beauty for us to enjoy,
You heal the sick,
You provide relief to the anxious
You restore broken relationships.
For these things we praise you.
We remember that on the night before...
And so, in remembrance of these your mighty acts in Jesus Christ, we offer ourselves in praise and thanksgiving as a holy and living sacrifice, in union with Christ's offering for us, as we proclaim the mystery of faith.
Christ has died; Christ is risen; Christ will come again.
Pour out your spirit