Summary: While the crowd was waiting for signs and wonders the nobleman believed the word.
Faith is Just Believing What God Said
It seems that down south, some recent excavations for a new highway had contributed to causing a flash flood.
Volunteers risked their lives to rescue victims stranded in the deluge. One old man was up to his knees in the fast-rising waters when a rowboat came. “Hop in, we’ll save you!”
“No thanks, the Lord will provide.”
A short while later, a motor boat was sent to save him. By this time the swirling waters were over his waist, but again he declined: “No thanks, the Lord will provide.”
Soon the water was up to his chin, so a helicopter was dispatched at the last minute. “Climb aboard, this is your last chance!”
“Thanks anyway, but I don’t need you, the Lord will provide.”
Before the helicopter returned home, the old man was mad as a hornet, banging on the Pearly Gates. He bitterly complained to St. Peter, “The last thing I remember I was in trouble, praying up a storm, so why did you let me drown?”
St. Peter looked at him, shook his head, and explained: “We sent you two boats and a helicopter. What more do you want?”
47 When he heard that Jesus was come out of Judaea into Galilee, he went unto him, and besought him that he would come down, and heal his son: for he was at the point of death.
His plea received and instant challenge. Jesus looked at the man and ignored his request, and challenged the ground of his faith. “Except ye see signs and wonders, ye will not believe.” These words were also meant for the bystanders.
The nobleman was seen by Jesus as a representative of the kind of people whose faith has to be constantly bolstered by miracles; this, in contrast with the Samaritans who believed without having their faith thus propped up.
48 Then said Jesus unto him, Except ye see signs and wonders, ye will not believe.
The nobleman was obviously irritated by what seemed to him an unnecessary discussion of the niceties of faith. His boy was dying. You can almost hear the exasperation and desperation in his voice.
49 The nobleman saith unto him, Sir, come down ere my child die.
50 Jesus saith unto him, Go thy way; thy son liveth. And the man believed the word that Jesus had spoken unto him, and he went his way.
The Word is superior to signs!
The term the Third Wave of the Holy Spirit also called the Signs and Wonders movement was coined by C. Peter Wagner, professor of church growth at Fuller Theological Seminary School of World Mission. Third Wavers are persuaded that miracles, visions, tongues, prophecies, and healings are essential supplements to the gospel. They view Christianity without those things as impotent, adulterated by the Western, materialistic mind set. Some Third Wavers even say that unbelievers must experience the miraculous to be brought to full faith. Merely preaching the gospel message, they believe without seeing miracles, they say, and those who do will be inadequately converted and therefore stunted in their spiritual growth. Wimber believes that those who simply preach the gospel message fall short of true evangelism. He dubs their approach “programmatic evangelism.” What is needed instead, he says, is “power evangelism.”