Summary: The development of faith in Christ is examined in the light of this father’s experience. His feeble faith moved to firm faith and full faith through this crisis.
A Father’s Faith
Fortifying the Foundations #11
Our text this morning is from John 4:43-5:1
43After the two days he left for Galilee. 44(Now Jesus himself had pointed out that a prophet has no honor in his own country.) 45When he arrived in Galilee, the Galileans welcomed him. They had seen all that he had done in Jerusalem at the Passover Feast, for they also had been there. 46Once more he visited Cana in Galilee, where he had turned the water into wine. And there was a certain royal official whose son lay sick at Capernaum. 47When 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 miraculous signs and wonders," Jesus told him, "you will never believe." 49The royal official said, "Sir, come down before my child dies." 50Jesus replied, "You may go. Your son will live." The man took Jesus at his word and departed. 51While he was still on the way, his servants met him with the news that his boy was living. 52When he inquired as to the time when his son got better, they said to him, "The fever left him yesterday at the seventh hour." 53Then the father realized that this was the exact time at which Jesus had said to him, "Your son will live." So he and all his household believed. 54This was the second miraculous sign that Jesus performed, having come from Judea to Galilee. NIV
I love stories with a happy ending and this is certainly one—a dying boy is healed,
a father commits his life to Christ, and his whole household (servants as well as family) all become believers. That is what Christ can do in people’s lives. Jesus took this man from tragedy to triumph—from a crisis to a victory. Can you imagine the joy this father must have felt the moment he heard those servants tell him his son was well.
Many of us here are parents. And nothing touches us like pain in one of our children.
When Katie, our youngest daughter, was born we thought she was an extremely passive baby. Those of you who know her know that she is not by nature passive. But what we did not know was that she had a dangerous blood disorder that left her unable to fight off infection. As a baby she was sickly and often listless. Because of her frailty we nicknamed her “Delicatessen”.
When she was about eighteen months old we rushed her to the hospital because she had a high fever and was having trouble breathing. Her lungs were very infected and her tonsils were so swollen that she could barely breathe. The doctors could not get her lungs cleared up but decided to operate on her tonsils to open up the air passage.
Some of you parents know what its like to watch the nurses try over and over again to get an I.V. in your baby’s tiny vein. As I watched the process I so wished that needle was going into me instead of her. I think that must have been something like what this father in our story was feeling.
When the doctors began to operate on Katie she died on the operating table. They revived her but abandoned the operation. That was the crisis point because the doctors told us she could not survive an operation. But they also said at any time her air passage could swell completely shut and if it wasn’t caught immediately she would die.
It was a very hard experience –but shortly after that God completely healed Katie and for about four years she never even got a cold. I know by experience that God answers prayer—that He still does the kind of thing He did for the royal officer’s child. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
In this father’s experience we see the development of his faith in Christ.
I. He comes to the Lord with a Feeble faith. He has a problem only Jesus can solve. He is in a crisis. This man is a person of significant wealth and influence. He is a royal official, basilikos (bas-il-ee-kos)-which simply means “connected to royalty.”
We don’t know exactly what that relationship was. Some have speculated that this was Chuzas, Herod’s Administrator, mentioned in Luke 8:3. But we really don’t know. He probably was an official under Herod the tetrarch of Galilee.
He was a man of means and has no doubt tried every other solution money can buy. But we all know there are some problems money can’t solve. Money can buy medicine. Money can hire doctors. But money cannot necessarily heal a dying child.