Summary of sermon by Erlo Stegen, 05 Jul 2015
46 Once more he visited Cana in Galilee, where he had turned the water into wine. And there was a certain royal official whose son lay sick at Capernaum. 47 When this man heard that Jesus had arrived in Galilee from Judea, he went to him and begged him to come and heal his son, who was close to death.
48 “Unless you people see signs and wonders,” Jesus told him, “you will never believe.”
49 The royal official said, “Sir, come down before my child dies.”
50 “Go,” Jesus replied, “your son will live.”
The man took Jesus at his word and departed. 51 While he was still on the way, his servants met him with the news that his boy was living. 52 When he inquired as to the time when his son got better, they said to him, “Yesterday, at one in the afternoon, the fever left him.”
53 Then the father realized that this was the exact time at which Jesus had said to him, “Your son will live.” So he and his whole household believed.
Jesus was passing through Judea and then he went back to Cana. An official’s son was ill. Who was this man? He was the official of the king, Herod, who had been appointed to be a king over the Jews by the Romans. It’s not clear whether this official of the king was royalty or not but he was an important and highly respected man. His child was seriously ill. A parent would make any effort for his sick child. Maybe they had been to the medical profession and tried whatever medicine was available but every effort failed until the child was dying. (It’s not wrong to make use of proper medicine, but we should also remember to pray that God blesses it.) When he realized that every effort was useless he decided to go to the Lord Jesus and ask Him. He realized only Jesus could help him. Why did he think of Lord Jesus? It is clear he must have believed in the Lord Jesus, because he said, “If you say the word, my child will be healed.”
This official was from Capernaum, a place where Jesus performed many miracles. We don’t know if he personally witnessed the Lord Jesus doing these things or if it was by hearsay. What he heard directly or indirectly produced faith that the Lord Jesus can do this. Faith comes from hearing. This produced faith that said, “I must now leave and go to Jesus himself.” It is a wonderful thing. The Bible says that without faith you cannot please Him. He left everything and went to Judea. He sought the Lord Jesus till he found him, and asked Him to heal his son.
What was the response of the Lord Jesus? He answered, “If you don’t see signs and miracles you will not believe.” Didn’t this man have faith? Why did Jesus answer in this way? Didn’t he believe? Jesus was answering in the same way as he spoke to Thomas who said, “Unless I put my fingers into the wound, I will not believe.” Thomas had heard but he doubted. In this official we don’t see doubt. He didn’t say, “I will not believe.” He had come but Jesus gave this rebuking answer “If you don’t see signs you won’t believe.” He also said, “Lord, come quickly to pray.” He presumed that if the Lord made haste the child would be healed. This important official had made the presumption that Jesus should come but Jesus just said, “Your son is healed.” The man hadn’t thought of that possibility.
We do the same. We presume that Jesus must work in a certain way and if it doesn’t work accordingly then we have a problem. We have our preconceived ideas. But Jesus says, “Not like that.” We think that things should be a fulfillment of what we think. Maybe you ask something of the Lord and you think you will feel something and won’t believe until you feel it. Then you’re still a baby in Christ. The good thing is when the official heard what Jesus said he accepted it. The official did well in believing what the Lord Jesus said. Perhaps you say, “Lord, work in a wonderful way.” and then it didn’t happen the way you thought. You expect signs and wonders according to your preconceived ideas. Blessed is the one who doesn’t see or feel and still believes.
You must rest on God’s word alone. An immature Christian has to see signs and wonders and rely on feelings to believe. You must go according to God’s word. If you think you will have a feeling or see an angel then you are not mature. This man had done a lot and travelled to Jesus but he still had his presumptions about the Lord’s method – perhaps presuming that Jesus must lay hands on his son before he can be healed. Rest rather on God’s word. It is a rock. Otherwise you miss out on His blessing. He was on his way home when his servants met him and said, “Your son is healed”. And it was the precise time Jesus told him that his son was healed. He heard the word of the Lord Jesus and his son was healed.
Dear Christian, let us learn from this. You will miss out if you don’t rest your faith on what God has said in His word. Put your faith in the word of God. Don’t think you must experience some feeling. No, believe in God’s word. His illness was cured at that very time even though it didn’t happen as he thought it should happen.
We also see in this story the good relationship between him and his servants. The servants came to him with the good news that his son was healed. This shows how an employer and employee relationship is important. They shouldn’t say that it is good when you get sick. There should be love and unity. Living faith is infectious as a disease. This spread to his whole household. The unity between those who believe will be sweet. Faith is not private. You will want to spread the good news. If you are witnessing but nobody gets influenced, you need to ask yourself what kind of faith do you have?
To conclude: You might be struggling with some sin. You confess it and you think that you will have a marvelous experience full of feeling – perhaps the sensation of floating on air. No. The Bible promises that “if we confess our sins He is faithful to forgive and cleanse from all unrightousness”. God said it and that’s enough. Let it be sufficient for you. Don’t presume God must perform His promise in the way you think. Otherwise you will miss out on the blessing because Jesus said to Thomas, “Blessed are those who do not see (or feel) but believe”.