Summary: The object of faith will determine whether we experience God. Do we put our faith in the bank account or in the creator of wealth?
According to our passage for tonight, John says that this healing of the nobleman's son was the second sign of Jesus. It was further testimony to the fact that Jesus was the Son of God. It is quite obvious that Jesus is the star of the story. But, I want you to look with me tonight... not at the star of the story but at the man who played the supporting role, the nobleman himself. When we focus our attention on Jesus, we are reminded of His power. But when we focus our attention on the officer of the court, we are given a beautiful picture of faith.
"Faith" is one of our most common religious words. It appears over 550 times in the New Testament in one for or another. In primitive Christianity, faith became the leading term to describe the relation of man to God. Even today, we refer to ourselves as "believers" or we say that we are "men and women of faith." What does the word mean? What is faith?
Critics of the church would define faith as "belief without evidence in something said by one without knowledge of things without parallel."
Martin Luther said, "Faith is a living, deliberate confidence in the grace of God, so certain that for it, one could die a thousand deaths."
F. B. Meyer, one of the finest biblical expositors of the past, said that, "Faith is the open hand receiving Christ ... the golden pipe through which His fullness comes to us."
More recently faith has been defined as "facing the unknown future and the uncharted journey with an unfailing friend."
What is faith?
Sometimes it is easier to demonstrate a word that it is to define it.
This is what we have in our text.
We have a living demonstration, a portrait in flesh and blood, of what faith is.
Our Lord continued His journey to Cana of Galilee and came again to Cana.
It is not apparent from Scripture why Jesus returned to Cana.
Maybe He wanted to cultivate the "seed" He had planted there when He attended the wedding feast.
Nathanael came from Cana, so perhaps there was a personal reason for this visit.
Jesus was met at Cana by a nobleman from Capernaum, some twenty miles away.
The man had heard about His miracles and came all that distance to intercede for his son who was dying.
The first miracle came at Cana at the request of His mother, and the second miracle at Cana at the request of a father.
Was this man a Jew or a Gentile?
We do not know.
Nor do we know his exact position in the government.
He may have been a member of Herod's court;
but whatever his national or social standing,
he was clearly at his wit's end and
desperately needed the help of the Savior.
He begged Jesus to travel to Capernaum to heal his son.
John 4:48 was not a rebuke of this nobleman.
Rather, it was our Lord's lament at the spiritual condition of the people in general, both in Judea and Galilee.
"Seeing is believing" has always been the "pragmatic" philosophy of the lost world, and even the religious world.
The nobleman believed that Jesus could heal his son, but he made two mistakes in his thinking:
1. He believed that Jesus had to go to Capernaum
to save the boy.
2. He also believed that if the boy died before they
could get there, there was nothing left that
Jesus could do.
We must admire this man's faith.
Jesus simply said,
"Go your way; your son lives."
And the man believed Jesus and started to return home!
The action. What you do next after Jesus speaks determines what you actually believe.
Both this anonymous nobleman and the Samaritan woman that is mentioned earlier in this chapter must have rejoiced the heart of Jesus as they believed the word and acted on it.
The boy was healed the instant Jesus spoke those words; so the man's servants started out to find him so they could share the good news.
The boy had been healed at the seventh hour, which, in Roman time, would be 7 o'clock in the evening.
The father certainly would not have traveled at night, for that would have been dangerous; nor would the servants have taken that risk.
The father's faith was so strong that he was willing to delay going home, even though his heart yearned to see his beloved son.
When the father and the servants met the next day, their report confirmed his faith.
Note that the father thought the healing would be gradual (when did he begin to get better?);
but the servants reported a complete, instant recovery.
This man began with crisis faith.