Summary: Two CHARACTERISTICS of faith that will keep you on solid ground even when the rest of the world has turned upside down.
When the two days were over, he went from that place to Galilee (for Jesus himself had testified that a prophet has no honor in the prophet¡¦s own country). When he came to Galilee, 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.
Then he came again to Cana in Galilee where he had changed the water into wine. Now there was a royal official whose son lay ill in Capernaum. When he heard that Jesus had come from Judea to Galilee, he went and begged him to come down and heal his son, for he was at the point of death. Then Jesus said to him, ¡§Unless you see signs and wonders you will not believe.¡¨ The official said to him, ¡§Sir, come down before my little boy dies.¡¨ Jesus said to him, ¡§Go; your son will live.¡¨ The man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him and started on his way. As he was going down, his slaves met him and told him that his child was alive. So he asked them the hour when he began to recover, and they said to him, ¡§Yesterday at one in the afternoon the fever left him.¡¨ The father realized that this was the hour when Jesus had said to him, ¡§Your son will live.¡¨ So he himself believed, along with his whole household. Now this was the second sign that Jesus did after coming from Judea to Galilee. John 4:43-54 (NRSV)
To believe is to place or entrust something you have in someone else¡¦s care. To say ¡§I believe in believing¡¨ however, places me dangerously close to some who place their belief or faith at the center of Christianity. It also then places me in the center of my belief system, and not Christ. It is as if the amount of my faith is the determining factor.
Rather, my statement I believe in believing says I hold it as a good thing to place myself entirely at God¡¦s disposal¡Kmy faith is IN Christ. I am not counting on my faith to do something; it is my Lord who acts according to his will. I am simply trusting that his response, seen as good or bad by others, or even me, is good! I believe that it is good to believe in Christ.
Faith is a part of everyday life. If I told you there¡¦s a city called Paris and it has this thing called the Eiffel Tower would you believe me? Why? Because you believe the testimony of those who have been there, 5.5 million of whom have posted pictures of themselves in front of the thing on their personal web sites. Some people even doctor their wedding photos to make it look like they were married there.
Now, what if someone told you there was a place in Wurzburg that¡¦s identical to an Outback Steakhouse? It would depend who told you and how much you trust their authority. Whether or not you made the trip would depend not only on how much you believed but also upon how much you wanted a "Bloomin¡¦ Onion."
C.S. Lewis wrote "I have to believe that Jesus was (and is) God. And it seems plain as a matter of history that He taught His followers that the new life was communicated in this way. In other words, I believe it on His authority. Ninety-nine percent of the things you believe are believed on authority... The ordinary person believes in the solar system, atoms, and the circulation of the blood on authority--because the scientists say so. Every historical statement is believed on authority. None of us has seen the Norman Conquest or the defeat of the Spanish Armada. But we believe them simply because people who did see them have left writings that tell us about them." (C.S. Lewis "A Grief Observed"). (1)
This morning¡¦s text follows the encounter Jesus had with the woman of Samaria, the woman at the well. Those ¡§two days¡¨ were that which Jesus stayed in the community to teach people about God after the woman¡¦s telling the townspeople about Jesus got them all stirred with interest. Jesus had said to the woman that there wouldn¡¦t be so many questions in the future about how, where or Whom to worship ¡V but people would just worship in spirit and truth.
In our text which follows, the arrival of a Gentile official who doesn¡¦t worry about appearances, but simply recognizes Jesus as the one who could do something about his dying child. He places his entire faith in Christ to heal his son. He worships in spirit and truth. And THAT is exactly what the Father seeks in our hearts this day!
And without faith it is impossible to please God, for whoever would approach him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him. Hebrews 11:6 (NRSVA)