! The Stages of Faith
(4:46-54) Introduction: this nobleman was a government official, probably holding some high position in Herod’s court.
His experience reveals the various stages of faith, the kind of growing faith that every man should experience.
A beginning faith (v.46-47).
A persistent faith (v.48-49).
A trusting, obedient, and working faith (v.50).
A confirmed faith (v.51-53).
A witnessing faith (v.53-54).
(4:46-47) The First Stage is a Beginning Faith: When Jesus entered the city of Cana, a nobleman (basilixos), an official of the King’s royal court, approached Jesus.
The actions of the man demonstrated exactly what is involved in a beginning faith.
There was A Desperate Need.
The Man’s Son Was At the Point of Death.
/a) //Needs Confront Every Human Being./
Unfortunately it usually takes /“a desperate need”/ for many to come to the Lord.
Eventually the severe needs arising from accident, illness, disease, suffering, and death strike everyone (Heb.9:27)
No one is exempt.
One may be an official in government or even the King himself—it does not matter.
The day eventually comes when every man needs help.
The severe disasters of life are beyond any man’s control.
1) How will we react to such events when they come to us?
2) What will we do, will we be beaten down by them?
Or will we triumph over them in complete victory?
There Was a Hearing About Jesus.
The report that Jesus had healed people in Jerusalem must have reached this man's ears.
Learning that Jesus had returned to Galilee, the man immediately sought Jesus out and urged him to heal his son, who was dangerously ill.
The imperfect tense of the verb /"begged"/ (/erota/, from /erotao/, to "ask" or "request") /implies repeated or persistent action./
The request was not casual but insistent.
There Was A Coming To Jesus.
This man was facing a severe disaster in life, & he came to the only person who can help—Jesus.
Note: he did not go to Herod.
Note what this man had to do in order to come to Jesus.
/a) //The Man Had to Leave the Side of His Dying Son.
The man knew he Would Be Gone for Many Hours.
Imagine the anxiety and fear that his son might die while he was away.
The man would literally have to tear himself away from his son.
Such an act shows how strongly he believed that Jesus could help him.
/b) //The Man Had to Travel Almost a Day’s Journey to Reach Jesus./
Capernaum was about twenty miles from Cana.
Imagine the concern and apprehension gripping the father’s heart every foot of the way, wondering if he should have left his son’s side.
The fact that he /persevered/ and kept his eyes on the hope of Jesus shows the faith of his heart.
Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart, All you who hope in the LORD (Psalms 31:24; 33:18 )
/c) //The Man Did Not Let His High Position Keep Him From Jesus./
He did not wrap himself in pride nor did he allow what others might say keep him from Jesus.
He swallowed his pride and confessed his need in the face of all who ridiculed, and he went to Jesus.
1) Is there anything keeping you from coming to Jesus?
(4:48-49) The Second Stage Was a Persistent Faith:
A Lesson in Faith.
/a) //The Reply of Jesus Seems Like a Heartless Rejection./
/We must understand that a circus atmosphere was developing around Christ.
He was fast becoming a traveling sideshow—“Hurry, hurry, don’t miss the latest miracle!
Get your popcorn!/
1) Jesus seemed to insinuate that the official, like the rest of the Galileans, was only giving an excuse to see a miracle from Him (/Herod /Luke 23:8).
On the other hand, Jesus' words may express his hope more than his exasperation.
He desired a /belief characterized by dedication/ rather than /amazement/, a /genuine commitment/ rather than merely to perform a cure.
/Jesus wanted this mans faith to advance to a higher level./
2) Jesus had to teach the man that /His Word alone/ was enough.
/Belief in His Word/ was what was going to assure the request (/God has magnified His Word above His Name Ps.138:2)/.
His power was at the nobleman’s disposal if he would just believe Him.
Belief is to precede signs and wonders.
/(a) //Note that “you” is plural./
Jesus was addressing both the man and the crowd.
He wanted the crowd to get the message as well.
/(b) //“Seeing is believing”// is not the Christian approach (John 11:40; 20:29).
First we believe then we see./
/(c) //Miracles can only lead us to the Word (John 5:36-38) and the Word generates saving faith (Romans 10:17)/
/(d) //It is one thing to believe in miracles but something else to commit oneself to Jesus Christ & to continue in His word (John 8:30-31)/
/b) //There are four words used in the Bible for miracles or signs./
These words are used to describe the works of God and they show why people believed in Jesus.
1) /Teras/ means the spectacular, staggering, amazing, dazzling.
Many believed in Jesus because of the spectacular signs He performed.
However, such belief made a person only a spectator, not a participant in His life.
The word /teras/ also means the sensational; that is, it appeals to the sensations of men.
Many believed and followed Jesus because it made them feel good and comfortable and secure.
Such belief is weak and often fails.
This word is never used by itself to initiate faith in the Lord Jesus.
If a person is to have genuine faith in the Lord Jesus, he must have some basis other than the spectacular sign (teras).
Some fell on rock; and as soon as it sprang up, it withered away because it lacked moisture… But the ones on the rock /are those/ who, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, who believe for a while and in time of temptation fall away.
(Luke 8:6, 13 NKJV)
But Jesus said to him, "No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God." (Luke 9:62 NKJV)
Now the just shall live by faith; But if /anyone/ draws back, My soul has no pleasure in him."
(Hebrews 10:38 )
2) /Dunamis/ means power—extraordinary power; effective, explosive power.
There were those who were attracted to Jesus because of the unusual power (dunamis) they witnessed.
They believed because of the power.
Such is a legitimate belief and leads to salvation for everyone who believes.
For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.
(Romans 1:16 NKJV)
3) /Ergon/ means distinctive works, deeds, and miracles.
Such works come from God (John 14:10) and bear witness to Christ.
They point men to Christ (John 5:36; John 10:25).
Some men look at the very special works of Christ and believe because of the works (ergon).
If I do not do the works of My Father, do not believe Me; "but if I do, though you do not believe Me, believe the works, that you may know and believe that the Father /is/ in Me, and I in Him." (John 10:37-38 NKJV)
Believe Me that I /am/ in the Father and the Father in Me, or else believe Me for the sake of the works themselves.
(John 14:11 NKJV)
4) /Semeion/ means a sign that characterizes the person, his nature and character.
A few throughout Jesus’ ministry did believe because they saw in the miracles exactly who He was, the very Son of God.
This beginning of signs Jesus did in Cana of Galilee, and manifested His glory; and His disciples believed in Him.