Summary: Positive precepts for hearing from God in a crisis based on Christ’s healing of the nobleman’s son.
John 4:46-54 (NLT) In the course of his journey through Galilee, he arrived at the town of Cana, where he had turned the water into wine. There was a government official in the city of Capernaum whose son was very sick. 47 When he heard that Jesus had come from Judea and was traveling into Galilee, he went over to Cana. He found Jesus and begged him to come to Capernaum with him to heal his son, who was about to die.
48 Jesus asked the man, "Must I do miraculous signs and wonders before you people will believe in me?"
49 The official pleaded, "Lord, please come now before my little boy dies."
50 Then Jesus told him, "Go back home. Your son will live!" And the man believed Jesus’ word and started home.
51 While he was on his way, some of his servants met him with the news that his son was alive and well. 52 He asked them when the boy had begun to feel better, and they replied, "Yesterday afternoon at one o’clock his fever suddenly disappeared!" 53 Then the father realized it was the same time that Jesus had told him, "Your son will live." And the officer and his entire household believed in Jesus. 54 This was Jesus’ second miraculous sign in Galilee after coming from Judea.
We’re in the series, "The Encouragement of Talking With Jesus", and we’re looking at seven different conversations Jesus had with people that led to miracles in their lives.
This man heard from God in a crisis, and since we too faces crises in our lives, we too need to hear from God. As this story unfolds it suggests several positive precepts for hearing from God in a crisis.
1. Focus on listening to God. (Not just looking for a miracle.)
We’re used to the adage, "Seeing is believing", but this story suggests a better precept: "Hearing is believing." We’re often looking for a miracle when God wants us to be listening to His Word!
After the official stated his problem Jesus continued the conversation with a question in verse 48, "Must I do miraculous signs and wonders before you people will believe in me?"
The question goes to expectations. At first, this royal official thought Jesus had to travel back to Capernaum with him, a distance of approximately twenty miles over the Judean hills. He believed Jesus must physically touch his son in order to heal him.
Jesus wanted to know if the man would have to see a miracle in order to believe in Him - or, would he take Jesus at His word? Would he hear and believe, or did he have to see to believe?
Don’t overlook the fact that Jesus’ question was plural: "Must I do miraculous signs and wonders before YOU PEOPLE will believe in me?" He was speaking to more than just this one individual. He was lamenting the spiritual condition of His own people, the Jews, specifically the citizens of Galilee, where He grew up. We know this because of something else the Bible reveals just before this conversation between Jesus and the offical.
John 4:43-45 (Msg) After two days he left for Galilee. Now, Jesus knew well from experience that a prophet is not respected in the place where he grew up. So when he arrived in Galilee, the Galileans welcomed him, but only because they were impressed with what he had done in Jerusalem during the Passover Feast, NOT THAT THEY REALLY HAD A CLUE ABOUT WHO HE WAS OR WHAT HE WAS UP TO."
Jesus was born in Bethlehem, in Judea, but He grew up in Nazareth, in Galilee. As He returns to His home turf He’s keenly aware of the barrier he must breach to get these people to believe in Him. They watched Him grow up, and during all of those years He hadn’t performed any miracles.
Of course, the reason for not having previously performed any miracles was, "His time had not come". This fact was mentioned by John concerning Christ’s first miracle and he mentions it seven times all together in his Good News account.
Up until this time Jesus was just the son of a carpenter to the Galileans, not the Son of God. When Jesus was growing up He purposely operated under the radar. So the Galileans didn’t understand who Jesus really was. Like many people today, they dismissed Jesus because they really didn’t know Him.
This story is about getting to know Him - not just getting something from Him. It’s about hearing from Him in a crisis - but many of the Jews thought that the only way they could hear from God was through a "sign" - through a miracle.
Paul later reiterated this problem.
1 Corinthians 1:21-23 (LB) For God in his wisdom saw that the world would never find God through human brilliance, and then he stepped in and saved all those who believed his message, which the world calls foolish and silly. 22 It seems foolish to the Jews because THEY WANT A SIGN FROM HEAVEN AS PROOF THAT WHAT IS PREACHED IS TRUE; and it is foolish to the Gentiles because they believe only what agrees with their own philosophy and seems wise to them. 23 So when we preach about Christ dying to save them, the Jews are offended and the Gentiles say it’s all nonsense.