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Midweek Devotionals

Published weekly on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursdays.

Midweek Devotional 3/3/2015

Robert Chen

Dear Church:

 

http://www.presbyterianmission.org/devotion/daily/2015/3/3/

JOHN 4:43-54

43When the two days were over, he went from that place to Galilee 44(for Jesus himself had testified that a prophet has no honor in the prophet’s own country). 45When 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.

46Then 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. 47When 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. 48Then Jesus said to him, “Unless you see signs and wonders you will not believe.” 49The official said to him, “Sir, come down before my little boy dies.” 50Jesus said to him, “Go; your son will live.” The man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him and started on his way. 51As he was going down, his slaves met him and told him that his child was alive. 52So 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.” 53The 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. 54Now this was the second sign that Jesus did after coming from Judea to Galilee.

The miracles of Jesus in the Gospels work at two or more levels. The first level is the wondrous phenomenon itself -- healing, multiplying food, raising the dead, etc.

The second level is what these miracles tell us about Jesus (that He is Healer, Deliverer, Redeemer, Savior, etc.). A possible third level of these miracles tells about the Kingdom of God and at times about ourselves as those who inhabit the Kingdom of God in the Name of Jesus.

 

In the scene above, Jesus returns to the site of His first miracle, that of turning water into wine during a wedding feast. This miracle shows us who Jesus is: the Messiah who comes as the Groom who will one day celebrate His marriage to His Bride, the Church. A Messianic Wedding Feast presaged by this miracle of water turned into (the best) wine. The miracle is also the counter-miracle of Moses' first miracle of turning water into blood. Whereas the miracle of Moses is "bad" (directed against Pharaoh), Jesus' miracle is "good" (directed to all).

 

Jesus' second miracle recorded here is the healing of an official's son. The royal official's name is not given, nor is his son's name given. Who they are specifically is not that important to the story here. The important elements are the repeated elements of Jesus' speaking and the official's believing. Repetition in a biblical passage usually indicates significance ("pay attention").

 

The fact that Jesus speaks three words, "your son lives" [translated into four words in the above passage, "your son will live"], is powerful enough. What's implied as being important as well is the official's faith or belief in Jesus' words. The man's belief is not the determining factor in the healing; the determining factor is Jesus' words. But the official's faith -- we might say -- is not insignificant. The importance of the hearer's faith is implicitly alluded to in the parenthetical comment of verse 44 (that a prophet has no honor in the prophet's own country). And we know from Matthew 13:58, that Jesus in his hometown "did not do many miracles there because of their lack of faith."

 

What can we infer from this passage? Perhaps the following:

 

Jesus' word + hearer's belief = powerful result

 

A corollary:

 

Jesus' word + hearer's lack of belief = less (?) powerful result

 

Really? You mean our lack of faith in Jesus' ability to do something has the power to make Jesus "less powerful"? Strange as it may sound, well, yes, sort of.

 

There are times when Jesus just does what He sets out to do, whether or not people around Him believe Him or not, like raising Lazarus from the dead. No one could have possibly thought or even anticipated that Jesus would perform such a miracle, for the simple reason that no one had ever seen such a miracle.

 

But passages like the one above and Matthew 13:58 which clearly states that miracles were few in Nazareth because of the townspeople's lack of faith point to the incredible but true conclusion that our faith or lack thereof has some role to play in the outcome of a healing or miracle.

 

It's like your power to stop traffic by getting into an auto accident on 495. A negative power! Or, better put, a negating power.

 

Conversely, we can exercise positive power by having faith in Jesus' ability to do what He wants to do.

 

Like being given keys to an automobile. Our faith is able to turn on the starter which in turn gets the engine going. 

 

What a gift and a privilege! What a responsibility! What little we might contribute -- our faith -- may spell the difference between a good outcome or no outcome.

 

Let's exercise our faith today, in Jesus' name.

 

Let's pray: Father God, we thank you that all things are possible with you in Jesus' name. And you invite us to believe that all things are possible in Jesus' name, for our trust in you brings proper glory to you and Christ. We lay before you all our challenges and obstacles of today and whichever area needs your miracle, we believe that you are more than able to deliver in these areas. So, in Jesus' name, we say, we believe. In Jesus' name, Amen.

 

Blessings,

pjohn