Summary: Why are you believing Jesus? Are you believing Him only for the miraculous things He is able to do for you? That’s why the Galileans welcomed Him and He marveled at their unbelief.
This morning we have reached a transition text. These three verses mark a transition from the wonderful revival that just happened in Samaria… to the time when Jesus went back home to Galilee. In one way, you can think of what has happened in chapter four up to this point as a stopover. Remember back in verse 3, the Bible laid out the itinerary. Jesus and the disciples were heading from Judea back home to Galilee. In Judea they had been baptizing people right down the river from John the Baptist. That happened after a time in Jerusalem where Jesus cleansed the temple and performed many miracles. Right before that, Jesus performed the first miracle of his ministry when He turned the water into wine at Cana of Galilee. So if you were to plot Jesus’ movement so far through the book of John, it would look like this. His first miracle was at Cana of Galilee. Then He went down to Jerusalem in Judea. Then He went up a little bit to a more rural area of Judea just south of where John the Baptist was, where his disciples baptized. Then, 4:3 says that they left Judea and headed to Galilee. But verse 4 says that they went through Samaria, which specifically was the town of Sychar. Now, our passage this morning says that they spent two days in Sychar. Then they continued their journey on to Galilee. I have to admit that the temptation is to breeze right past this transition passage and tack it on to the upcoming miracle. But that wouldn’t do the Text the justice that it deserves. This transition isn’t just here to add fluff to the passage or make the reading flow better. Some liberal scholars have even said that somebody came in and added these after John originally wrote it. That’s not true. As you study this book, you begin to see these wonderful transition passages in several places. And each one provides a key to seeing the events the way they’re supposed to be seen. We talk all the time about the danger of pulling Scripture out of context. Seeing these transitions in this book will help keep us from doing that. They’ll keep us from doing that because we will see the purpose John has in including the events that he does in the order that he does. Do you remember the reason that the Holy Spirit inspired John to write this book? Even though it’s historically accurate, it wasn’t written to give us a complete blow-by-blow historical account of Jesus’ life. John himself said as much in the last verse of the book. He said, “And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written.” The Holy Spirit didn’t inspire John to write the book as a comprehensive history. John says that wouldn’t have been possible. He didn’t even attempt to include all of Jesus’ miracles. Instead, he chose a handful of events and miracles and linked them together to prove a point. And he told us what that point was in 20:30-31. “And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.” Every event, every miracle, every transition is meant to point to the fact that Jesus is the Christ. Every event, every miracle, every transition is meant to point to the fact that Jesus is the Son of God. And every event, every miracle, every transition is meant to point you to belief in Him. So the question for us this morning is, How does this transitional passage do that? It does that by showing us two contrasting gospels. It shows us the gospel of wonders that people were eager to accept. And it shows us the gospel of Word that the people rejected.
Why did Jesus do miracles during His ministry on earth? All too often, Jesus is portrayed as having come to earth to heal everybody of all sickness and diseases. When Jesus came, did He give sight to the blind? Yes. Did He make the lame to walk? Yes. Did He cause the deaf to hear and the dumb to speak? Yes. But think about this. How many more blind people did Jesus not heal? How many more deaf people still couldn’t hear after Jesus walked by? Did Jesus heal everybody? No. But we know that Jesus is the almighty, all powerful creator and sustainer of the universe. So if that’s the case, and He still didn’t heal everybody, there had to be a reason that He didn’t. There had to be a reason that Jesus healed some and didn’t heal others. The healing that Jesus did was to show that He is the Christ, the Son of the living God. The healing that Jesus did not do was to show that He is the Christ, the Son of the living God. That’s hard to understand, isn’t it? Because the first thing that we want to say is, “If Jesus wants people to believe that He’s God, all He has to do is show everybody.” “All He has to do is do miracles and everybody will believe.” Don’t we hear the same argument today? If there really is a God, why doesn’t He just come down and stop all war and strife and disease and poverty and crime? If God is all good and all powerful, why do all those bad things happen? Why doesn’t He just come down and make it all good. He will—just not yet. And when He does, there will be millions of people who will want Him to stop. The book of Revelation says that they will try to hide themselves in caves and under rocks. They will beg for the mountains to fall on them so they don’t have to endure the cleansing wrath of the Lamb of God. There will be a time when a holy Jesus makes all things right. It’s just not now. Jesus did not do miracles in order to fix a fallen and cursed world. Sickness and sin and disease and death are a result of the curse. The curse is a result of Adam’s original sin. Jesus didn’t do miracles to lift the curse. He did miracles to show people that He is God in the flesh. He did them to demonstrate His power. They weren’t a side show designed to attract a crowd. He performed the signs to show the divine authority behind His words. Did the miracles that Jesus performed save people? No—people were saved when they believed His words and trusted Him as their Lord. When He said, go and sin no more—those that were saved, obeyed. Those who didn’t believe left and were not even thankful. Faith was not required for Jesus to heal people. Some had faith, some didn’t. Most didn’t believe until after Jesus healed them. They saw the power of God on display and were saved when they believed His Word. Look at the Galileans in our passage. Galilee was Jesus’ own country. It was His hometown. Even though He was born in Bethlehem down in Judea, He grew up in Nazareth which is in Galilee. Remember what Nathaniel said when Philip first told him about Jesus back in chapter 1? Philip introduced Jesus to him as Jesus of Nazareth and Nathaniel said, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Galilee was Jesus’ hometown. That was where He and the disciples were heading. And when they got there, verse 45 says that the Galileans received Jesus. The word for received literally means to eagerly welcome someone. When Jesus came to town, they eagerly welcomed Him. But why did they roll out the red carpet? Did they fall down and worship Jesus as their Lord and Master and King? No. They rolled out the red carpet and welcomed Jesus because He was their homeboy who had done some really cool things. Remember that it was a requirement for all good Jews to go to Jerusalem during the Passover. So most of the Galileans had been in Jerusalem when Jesus did what 2:23 says He did. John 2:23 says, “Now when he was in Jerusalem at the passover, in the feast day, many believed in his name, when they saw the miracles which he did.” After Jesus cleansed the temple, He did a lot of miracles. John doesn’t bother to tell us what all they were. He doesn’t tell us, because that wasn’t the point. But the folks from Galilee thought they were the point. They saw all that really cool stuff that Jesus was doing and wanted Him to do the same thing in Galilee. So they rolled out the red carpet. They “received” Him. But what happened when Jesus got there? Turn over to Mark 6.