Summary: Belief is not a product of ’signs and wonders’ it is a product of faith.

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PENTECOST SUNDAY -- 05-03-01 -- John 4:43-54 / Isaiah 43:1-9a


I. Are you confused yet? (You’re probably not alone -- if you’ve given up --

on tracking Jesus’ whereabouts.)

1. You aught to be confused -- because I have found that many commentators --

who study this stuff are very confused --

1) about where Jesus is coming from -- and going to.

2. There seems to be little consistency among commentators --

when talking about cities -- or regions. And often, their lack of a map --

leads to misgivings -- about the intent of the scriptural message. 1) One of the misgivings about this particular passage of scripture --

seems to be Jesus’ comment that a prophet has no honor --

in the prophet’s own country.

2) To help us get a handle on this problem --

I want to ask you to imagine in your mind today -- a very simple map.

1- Begin by imagining a rectangle -- on end –

2- then divide the rectangle horizontally -- into three equal parts.

1] The top section is the region called Galilee,

2] the middle section is the region called Samaria,

3] and the bottom section is the region called Judea.

3- In the top region there are three cities that are important to our story: 1] Nazareth is in Galilee;

2] Cana is in Galilee;

3] and Capernaum is in Galilee.

4- In the middle region there is one city that is important:

1] Sychar is in Samaria.

5- And in the bottom region there is one important city:

1] Jerusalem is in Judea.

II. With that in mind, let’s take the tour with Jesus -- over the last couple of chapters:

1. Jesus is at the festival in Jerusalem (the [bottom] region of Judea) --

when he decides to go to Galilee the top region.

1) To get to the ‘top region’ --

he must pass through the middle region (Samaria).

2) It is in the middle region -- that he stops on the outskirts of the town

know as Sychar and meets the women at the well --

we talked about two weeks ago.

1- He is then invited into the town of Sychar --

where he spends two days with the people of that town

2- (and many of them become believers).

2. After the two days, Jesus left the middle region --

and went to the (top of your rectangle) -- region of Galilee.

1) When Jesus first arrived in Galilee -- we don’t know --

what town He went to -- because the text does not say.

2) What we do know -- is that Nazareth is in the region of Galilee.

1- And, if you take a real map of the region --

and you drew a straight life from Sychar to Cana

1] (where we know Jesus is headed)

2- you will find that that line -- passes right by --

the western side of Nazareth.

1] Since roads are not straight lines -- and since

there are no other major cities between Sychar and Nazareth --

it is highly likely that the road went through Nazaraeth.

3- So, we know that Jesus is in his own country,

we know from the text that the Galileans welcomed him,

since they had seen all that he had done in Jerusalem –

at the festival, for they too had gone to the festival.

4- And we know, that John, (the author of this gospel,) –

wanted to remind us -- that Jesus himself had said --

that a prophet has no honor --

in the prophet’s own country.

3. Now, some see a problem here.

1) If Jesus is being welcomed by the Galileans, --

how can Jesus say -- that He is without honor?

2) I think, -- the answer to that question -- is the point of this passage:

4. You see honor is not the willingness to observe.

1) These people are here because -- of the things they have seen --

or heard about Jesus --

1- They are curiosity seekers -- not believers.

1] They may have heard John the Baptist’s witness about Jesus. 2] They have heard the stories -- from Jesus’ last visit to Galilee

when Nathaniel became convinced --

that Jesus was the Son of God.

3] They may have seen Jesus turn over the tables --

at the festival in Jerusalem.

4] They surly heard the rumors -- that came out of Cana --

when He turned the water into wine.

2- They are here for the same reason -- that you go to a carnival --

to watch the rubber man twist himself into a knot --

or the snake lady shed her skin.

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