Summary: Why do we not trust God's word when he says we are forgiven?
You Have (just) My Word
Sept 18, 2011 John 4:43-54
What would you accept from someone else at just their word? A promise to meet up for coffee? – probably yes. A friend who needs $50 to make it to payday, but will pay you back as soon as he gets paid? – maybe yes, if you know they are genuinely in need and have honored their commitments well in the past; but maybe not if you have reservations. What about a promise to keep a trust in confidence? A marriage vow? What if a life hangs in the balance, then would you accept someone’s word at face value? What if it were your little child whose life hangs in the balance? None of us can really answer that question until we answer another question: who is it giving us their word? If a known gossip promises to keep a trust, we hesitate. When a man and a woman exchange vows of lifelong love and fidelity in front of God, family, and community, we believe. And if a respected medical expert says the disease is life-threatening but easily treated, and our child will be fine, we rejoice.
So then why is it difficult to take God at His word?
The man’s wife called to him from the other room. Their young son, a boy of about 5, had woken up not feeling well. His head feels warm, don’t you think?
Yes, the father agreed, it does a little. Let him rest, I’m sure he will be fine. The father’s assurance helped the mother’s worry, a little. He finished getting ready for work and left, off to put in another day. He had a good job, a respected advisor in policy and finance. Although the decisions weren’t his to make, his opinions carried weight with those who did.
He checked in around lunch time, but the news was not good. The boy was getting worse, and the mother more concerned. Still, it was too soon to worry; the boy would recover. By dinner time the fever had set in, and now both parents were concerned. They did their best and made it through the night, but early the next morning sought medical attention.
The doctors had a look, and their level of concern heightened the parent’s anxiety. They conferred in hushed tones, and their prescription of we’ll monitor closely didn’t help. The father pulled some strings with those for whom he worked, and got some more doctors involved, but it made no difference, the answer was the same: keep the boy cool as possible, monitor closely, wait and see…
Days went by, the fever wouldn’t break. The two parents stood helplessly by, as did the doctors, but no improvement. The boy slept more and more, and during the few moments when he was awake lay there listless. Deep down, the parents knew he was dying. No matter how they begged, pleaded, prayed, the answer was the same: we are doing all we can, I’m sorry. It was time for desperate measures.
John 4:43-54 (NLT):
43 At the end of the two days, Jesus went on to Galilee. 44 He himself had said that a prophet is not honored in his own hometown. 45 Yet the Galileans welcomed him, for they had been in Jerusalem at the Passover celebration and had seen everything he did there.
46 As he traveled through Galilee, he came to Cana, where he had turned the water into wine. There was a government official in nearby Capernaum whose son was very sick. 47 When he heard that Jesus had come from Judea to Galilee, he went and begged Jesus to come to Capernaum to heal his son, who was about to die.
48 Jesus asked, Will you never believe in me unless you see miraculous signs and wonders?
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 what Jesus said and started home.
51 While the man 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 get better, and they replied, Yesterday afternoon at one o’clock his fever suddenly disappeared! 53 Then the father realized that that was the very time Jesus had told him, Your son will live. And he and his entire household believed in Jesus. 54 This was the second miraculous sign Jesus did in Galilee after coming from Judea.
What if it was your son?
I told the story I did because of the question, what if it were your little boy? Would you walk 14 miles uphill on the basis of a rumor that a teacher who had once turned water into wine at a wedding in a remote village, and then made a big impression in Jerusalem, was back in town? Was it faith, or desperation?