Summary: A family needs to see a father’s faith in action. As his faith grows over time, many answers will come to pass.
A Father’s Faith
INTRODUCTION: There are times when a father’s faith makes requests of the Lord in the interest of his family. This happened in today’s scripture reading. The nobleman had evidently heard of the miracles that Jesus had performed at other places. When he heard that Jesus was only 20 or so miles from his home, he rushed to Him to ask Him to heal his sick son. At the outset his faith was only that Jesus could work a miracle and save his son’s life. But under the skillful hand of Jesus his faith developed more completely.
When we seek faith for critical times in our life, we need an example of faith. We need to know that in our own experience at least one other person had expressed faith. On Father’s Day there is no better place to turn for an example of faith than to this nobleman’s faith. Let’s see how this father’s faith worked to bring about healing for his son’s life at this critical time.
1. A Father Approaches the Lord in Faith: At the beginning, the nobleman’s faith was not spiritually motivated. He was not especially wanting to become a follower of Jesus. He was making a desperate plea for help. He had an urgent need, and he asked Jesus to go to Capernaum to heal his son. The significant thing here is that this father “besought him”--he DID approach Jesus. Too many times we don’t bother to approach the Lord for one reason or another. Even when we have desperate needs, we drag our feet and hope; but we really don’t move out to seek the Lord. Our approach to the Lord for help may not always be properly motivated, but God can take an imperfect approach and turn it into a perfect blessing. The Lord starts at our point of need. It might be for an urgent request for healing or some disaster in our life rather than for spiritual renewal or salvation. But this need was the starting point as seen by the nobleman. Do we even approach the Lord?
He believed God’s power when he approached Jesus. This man also showed that he approached the Lord believing in God’s power. He didn’t know a lot about Jesus, but he did have confidence in His power. Belief in the power of God may be the greatest thing we have in life. Moses believed in the power of God in the seemingly unconquerable obstacles. Through God’s power he led the children of Israel out of Egypt. It is difficult for the Lord to do anything for us if we can’t believe. If we say, “I don’t know if he will do it for ME.” “I don’t know if he does it today.” “I don’t know if he will do this particular thing.” We’ve got to believe in His power. This nobleman did.
Jesus gave him the opportunity to exercise his faith. The approach of faith accepts God’s opportunities. After hearing the nobleman’s plea for help, Jesus said to him, “Go thy way; thy son liveth” (verse 50). Jesus knew that the man wanted a miracle, the healing of his son, but he also gave him an opportunity to act in faith. The opportunity was to “go thy way.” It’s done. Had the father not turned around and gone home believing that Jesus had taken care of the problem, he probably would not have seen the answer. This father was very much ACTING in FAITH. I had never noticed this before. He didn’t continue to worry, wring his hands, or feel upset about it--he turned around and went home in faith knowing that the emergency was taken care of.
2. The Father’s Faith Grows: Faith begins at the miracle level (verse 48). At first this father only wanted a miracle. He would believe if Jesus would heal his son. Jesus chided those who would not believe without a sign because this was the lowest level of faith. This is the faith that must have proof through a visible sign or miracle. The faith that demands a guarantee is really no faith. But that is the point this father was at during this emergency. He did not have a really strong faith at that point. He was still struggling.
Faith began to grow, and it got to the place where the nobleman “believed His Word” (verse 50). The faith that can just accept Jesus at His word is a higher level of faith. At this point the nobleman didn’t know all about what happened or what would happen. He didn’t have a full blown faith for his son’s healing, but we see in the later part of the story that he was able to take Jesus’ word for it. He didn’t have to “see” the miracle. He accepted what Jesus said--Your son is OK. We don’t know if the nobleman thought that Jesus understood that the son was better through some kind of knowledge of how it occurred, but he did BELIEVE the Word that the Lord gave him.