Summary: This is the 15th sermon in a series we're doing on John's Gospel. In this sermon I discuss what faith is, and how true faith distinguishes itself from a false faith.
True Faith (Gospel of John Part 15)
Text: John 4:43-54
Well we’re back in John’s Gospel this morning, and we’ve got a lot to cover today, so I want us to get right into it. John 4:43 – 54 (READ).
Now remember, John ‘s Gospel account isn’t written in chronological order. It’s written in a way where John places themes together in segments, so that we can understand and see how Jesus is in-fact God, come in the flesh. John wants his readers to believe. And here in our text today, he’s bringing us full circle. Remember; John started out by telling us of Jesus’ first miracle in Cana of Galilee. That’s where Jesus turned water into wine. And now we’re back in Cana, and John is going to tell us about a second miracle that Jesus is going to do.
So really everything from John 2 all the way to the end of John 4, is to be read as one big story, or one complete lesson. It’s grouped together, because John is showing and teaching us something about Jesus. He started out with the miracle of water to wine in chapter two, then in chapter three he tells us about the encounter with Nicodemus, and then in the first section of chapter 4 he tells us about the encounter with the woman at the well, and now we’re back in Cana, and there’s another miracle. And all of these stories are intended to show us our need for Christ… they’re intended to show us that only He can satisfy our deepest longings and needs. It’s like Augustine said in his book “Confessions”, and I’ll paraphrase it for you, “God has made us for Himself, and our hearts are restless until they find their rest in Him.”
So in this group of stories from John 2 to John 4, John has been showing us our need for Jesus, but he’s also given us kind of like word pictures to describe how we can receive Him. We do that by being born again (that’s chapter 3)… we get it by receiving that “living water” (that’s chapter 4). And now he shows us exactly how that works… it’s by faith. We come to Christ by faith, and trust in Him. And that’s what we see in our text this morning.
So think about what’s going on here… John tells us in verse 46 that there was an official in Capernaum, whose son is sick. Now Capernaum was about 20 miles away from Cana… That may not seem like a big deal to you and me, because we can hop in our truck and drive that in just a few minutes. But by horseback, or by foot, we’re talking about a significant distance. However; as soon as this guy hears that Jesus is in Cana, he heads out to meet Him.
Now let’s get what’s going on here. This man, he’s an official. That means he most likely works for Herod Antipas in some way. It also means that he’s a wealthy person. He probably doesn’t want for much, as far as material things go. And I would imagine that he’s probably got plans for his son. He’s made provision for his future. But now his son is sick; and this guy, just like Nicodemus, and the woman at the well, he realizes that the things of this world aren’t what he really and truly needs. I mean; he’s in a desperate situation. I don’t know if you’ve ever been there, but I can tell you it’s a horrible feeling, to see your kids in a life or death situation with their health, and you’re totally helpless and powerless to do anything about it. I know that for a fact…
When Leslie was about 4 years old, she became very sick. We took her to the doctor and they ran some tests, and found out that she had West Nile Virus. Now for a full grown, healthy adult, the odds are good… but for a little toddler, like Leslie was at that time, the odds were not so great. And MJ and I asked the doctor, “What can be done? What do we do?” And I’ll never forget it, he looked at me, straight forward and said, “We’ve done everything we can do. She’ll either live, or she’ll die.” But thankfully, MariJo and I did, exactly what this father in our text does… we went straight to Jesus.
And this noble man… this guy who was probably used to giving orders, and being in charge; he’s been reduced to a beggar. Because he’s reached the point where he knows, there’s nothing he can do. And no amount of money, or power, or human authority is going to help. But really; that’s what prayer is… prayer is when we come to the Lord with empty hands, and we throw ourselves at the feet of Jesus, and plead for His help, and His provision, and His aid.