Memphis Belle

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John 4:43-54  


“Now after two days he departed thence, and went into Galilee.  For Jesus himself testified, that a prophet hath no honour in his own country.  Then when he was come into Galilee, the Galileans received him, having seen all the things that he did in Jerusalem at the feast: for they also went unto the feast.  So Jesus came again into Cana of Galilee, where he made the water into wine.  And there was a certain nobleman, whose son was sick at Capernaum.  When he heard that Jesus was come out of Judea into Galilee, he went unto him, and besought him that he would come down, and heal his son: for he was at the point of death.  Then said Jesus unto him, Except ye see signs and wonders, ye will not believe.  The nobleman saith unto him, Sir, come down ere my child die.  Jesus saith unto him, Go thy way; thy son liveth.  And the man believed the word that Jesus had spoken unto him, and he went his way.  And as he was now going down, his servants met him, and told him, saying, Thy son liveth.  Then inquired he of them the hour when he began to amend.  And they said unto him, Yesterday at the seventh hour the fever left him.  So the father knew it was at the same hour, in the which Jesus said unto him, Thy son liveth: and himself believed and his whole house.  This is again the second miracle that Jesus did, when he was come out of Judea into Galilee.”  (John 4:43-54)


“You know, I’m thankful that you all worked together to get up here, because if we were still downstairs this morning, we’d be miserable without the air-conditioning.  And that was one of the goals to get up here at the beginning of summer.  These thermostats that we have just come on automatically, and we arrive on Sunday mornings and this place is nice and comfortable.  I thank God for that.  So, thank you for being so diligent in helping the work get done….If you can’t go [to the Festival of Life which was about to be held down in NYC], one way you could be part of it, is I do know of some that are trusting the Lord for their support and finances to get down there.  If you’d like to be part in that way, you’re welcome to.  You could be part in sponsoring some the people.  Now [he says this] for some of the newer people on offering, you know, we don’t pass any trays around.  We don’t do that for a reason.  We want people to come here and realize that we are about giving as a church.  We don’t want to take anything from anybody.  But giving is an act of worship, and it’s such a privilege to even be able to be used in that way.  So if you would like to do that [i.e. contribute], and even related to the Festival of Life, there’s an Agape box in the fellowship hall as you head out, a little box with the word Agape on it.  And that is used for folks who that like to tithe, and see it as a privilege.  You can use that box for that….it’s used for tithes and offerings and things like that.  Just so you know about that….[Comment:  I included this to show how one denomination deals with the subject of gifts and giving, and tithing.  It’s what I’d call a very gentle approach.  Jesus was never into demanding that we give, and nor does this fellowship.  Jesus inspires us and moves us with a whole standard of giving when he comes into us and indwells us through his Holy Spirit.  Being a Christian or Messianic believer is living and being motivated in the Way of Give, you might say.  It comes from the heart and should never be demanded of us by others.]     

          Let’s say a word of prayer.  We’re going to be picking up in our Bible study in John chapter 4, that’s where we left off last week, John chapter 4, verse 43.  And we’re going to go on a little bit into chapter 5, the first part of chapter 5 if we have the time to do so this morning.  So let’s say a word of prayer and we’ll pick up with our Bible study.  ‘Lord as we once more have gathered this Sunday morning, I thank you Lord that we can be up here, we can have cool air, even now.  And we have your Word especially, that we can study you Word.  And as we’ll see even in the text that we’re going to study this morning, Jesus when you spoke, spoke to hearts, and people responded in faith, there were things that drastically happened in their lives.  And we understand that’s exactly what you want to do again this morning as we come together.  You want to speak to our hearts.  In some cases it’s just saying something very simple to us, maybe truths we already know, maybe things we’ve already considered, but it needs to be applied again in our life, even this week, even today.  And maybe there are even people this morning that have come here that have heard very little about your Word, have heard you speak very little.  And today maybe you will even, I guess, surprise them as you speak to their hearts, and you reveal yourself to them.  We thank you for that.  And Holy Spirit, simply we’d ask even now that you’d speak to our hearts.  And Lord I recognize as a man, I have nothing even of myself to offer anyone.  But your Word is powerful, and we thank you that your Word doesn’t go out void.  So we ask Holy Spirit that you’d be upon all of us, and upon even myself now as we go through your Word, in Jesus name, Amen.’ 


Jesus goes to his home territory


So let’s begin in verse 43 of John chapter 4.  “Now after the two days, he departed from there and went to Galilee.  For Jesus himself testified that a prophet has no honor in his own country.  So when he came to Galilee, the Galileans received him, having seen all the things he did in Jerusalem at the feast, for they also had gone to the feast.”  (verses 43-45)  Now if you remember from last week, Jesus is ministering, as you noted “after two days”, Jesus was minister two days in the area of Samaria amongst the Samaritans, which was a radical thing to do as we talked about last week.  There was a group of people, we’re told many people that believed in his name, put faith in him.  So he stayed there two days, and he ministered to them.  It started with a single lady by a well, and with her witness, and the witness of others I’m sure, there were a lot of people that Jesus was ministering to.  But now he moves on, we’re told in these verses.  And he heads up to the area of Galilee.  Now when it says Galilee here, it’s referring to an area, this region, basically what would be the size of Worcester County, similar in size to that.  So this area of Galilee.  Now within this area was the town of Nazareth, which was the town Jesus was raised in, he grew up in, and the area of Cana, which is just a short ways from that.  So in verse 44 we have this term “his own country”, and “his own country” would refer to the area specifically of Nazareth and that area there, not necessarily the entire region of Galilee.   We know that there’s parts of Galilee where Jesus wasn’t known very well as a young boy.  In fact, in Luke chapter 4, while he’s in Nazareth, Jesus says to the people of Nazareth, he says this, “You will surely say this proverb to me, ‘Physician, heal yourself.  Whatever we have heard down in Capernaum do also here in your country.’”  Referring to Capernaum as not his country, they’re contrasting Capernaum and Nazareth, they’re both part of Galilee, but Capernaum is down by the Sea of Galilee, on the shores.  Nazareth and Cana are about twenty miles away.  Kind of being up here in the twin cities here, you might be from this area, it’s amazing to me how many people are from this area, it’s a unique community in our country today, a nation where a lot of people travel, but there’s a lot of people I meet that are from this area, and because of that you know a lot of people from the area.  But you don’t necessarily know a lot of people from Worcester.  Worcester is in the same county, a short distance away, you might have a lot of relationships here, but not there.  And it’s the same with Jesus.  So in verse 44 when it says “his own country” it’s the area of Galilee, but especially it’s this area around Nazareth.  In that particular area, there would be plenty of people who knew Jesus as a young boy. 


The problem they had with Jesus,

the problem we have with our friends and relatives


There’d be some that maybe even had him as a young boy on their knee, they bounced him, they burped him as a baby maybe, they saw him growing up, they played with him in the school-yard.  They knew Jesus, and therefore they knew he was very much a man, they knew he wasn’t a phantom as some people would say later.  Some people would say later, that Jesus, you know they saw him, they weren’t from that area, they saw him do mighty things, and they said he was just a spirit, a phantom.  These people would say this guy, this Jesus [Hebrew: Yeshua] was a man.  So their struggle was, in seeing him as the Son of God, they grew up with him, they saw him as very physical, very real, they had stories, they knew his family, they knew the in’s and out’s of his life growing up.  So therefore they had a harder time in seeing him as the Messiah.  So hence you have that commentary there that John includes, “For Jesus himself”, he says this on several occasions, John notes it here, but “Jesus himself testified that a prophet has no honor in his own country.” (vs. 4)  They had a hard time seeing him as from the Lord.  Greatness, we have a hard time accepting greatness from somebody in our own neighborhood.  If you come from out of town, well maybe, yeah you’re great.  But ‘Hey, I knew you growing up.’   So it’s that same thing with us.  Well certainly as Christians too, this morning, it’s often the case with us too, in our own homes, our own neighborhoods, people we know really well, close relatives, close relationships, people that know us have a harder time too, receiving our message, the message of the Gospel.  I mean, they know the in’s and out’s, they were there to see us do some of the things that we’ve done, they saw us maybe in our weaker moments when we were in our youth.  They have these thoughts of us.  So now as a Christian you go to your mom and dad, or you go to your teenage child, or you go to a relative, and they have a harder time hearing your word, you have that experience.   I mean, I have that experience.  It’s hardest to minister to the close people in my family.  And certainly I can relate, ‘A prophet has no honor in his own country.’  But you know, if that’s your experience, maybe you’ve had that experience recently.  You’re like, ‘Man, it is so tough, I am praying, I am burdened for my parents, but man, they just won’t listen to me.’  Maybe you are even having an experience like that.  But be encouraged, that’s often where the most effective ministry takes place.  They say statistically 85 percent of the people that come to Christ, those that make a decision to follow Christ, come to Christ because of a close relative, or a very close relationship.  So you’re thinking ‘This is the hardest to minister in’, but at the same time be encouraged, it’s the most effective.  Because those people that are looking real close, and they’re scrutinizing you, and they’re saying ‘I remember then’ at the same time are the most likely to say ‘You know, there is a change.  There is something supernatural taking place in your life.  Man, you’re nice now.  And the last thing before was far from nice, but you’re not selfish anymore, you’re actually thinking about other people.  There’s something that’s gone on in your life.’  And there’s people that have seen you fall over and over into that pattern of sin, and now you’re in Jesus Christ, and the cycle has stopped.  So they are noticing.  Maybe it’s hard to talk to them because they’re close to you, and there’s that whole relationship, that relative type of thing, but yet at the same time be encouraged as you go.  Maybe you’re a prophet who doesn’t have honor in your own country, but be encouraged because that’s often the most effective ministry is those really close relationships. 


“Friendly fire”---When crisis comes into our lives, into the church---what does it mean?


Verses 46-54, “So Jesus came again to Cana of Galilee where he had made the water wine.  And there was a certain nobleman whose son was sick at Capernaum.  When he heard that Jesus had come out of Judea into Galilee, he went to him and implored him to come down and heal his son, for he was at the point of death.  Then Jesus said to him, ‘Unless you people see signs and wonders, you will by no means believe.’  The nobleman said to him, ‘Sir, come down before my child dies.’  Jesus said to him, ‘Go your way, your son lives.’  So the man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him and he went his way.  And as he was now going down his servants met him and told him saying ‘Your son lives.’  Then he enquired of them the hour when he got better, and they said to him, ‘Yesterday at the seventh hour the fever left him.’  And the father knew that it was at the same hour in which Jesus had said to him ‘Your son lives.’  And he himself believed and his whole household.  This again is the second sign [King James Version: miracle] Jesus did when he had come out of Judea into Galilee.”  So, traveling through Nazareth, his own country, to Cana, just a few miles away, Cana was north of Nazareth about seven miles.  They both are about 20 miles from the Sea of Galilee.  This community of Cana we saw just a little bit ago, it’s the place where Jesus performed his first miracle and turned the water there into wine.  And we’re told in verse 46 he came to Galilee and there’s this certain nobleman whose son is sick.  And because his son is very sick, even at the point of death, this man comes imploring, comes requesting Jesus himself.  Now when he says nobleman, in the Greek the word would indicate that there’s potentially a tie whether through blood or through his own office, he’s got a connection with a government in one way or another.  Maybe he’s a steward of Herod the tetrarch of the area of Galilee, he’s a person like that.  We know in the New Testament there are a couple people that we’re told that were stewards of Herod.  One is Chuza, in Luke chapter 8 [verses 1-3], maybe it’s this man.  Another in the book of Acts, Manaen, in Acts chapter 13 [verse 1], this is the man later we hear about him in Acts.  But because of the Greek, this man, there’s power in his life, there’s prosperity in his life, there’s position in his life.  This guy’s a guy of privilege.  His a nobleman.  But that doesn’t make any difference at this point, does it?  This guy has a crisis.  In fact, one of the greatest crisis that you could ever go through is being a parent and having a child [your child] suffer, having a child suffer tremendously.  That can be some of the hardest things you can go through in life.  This man has a tremendous crisis that he’s going through.  So his power, his prosperity, his position doesn’t mean anything at this point.  In fact, the picture I get in my mind is this man is on his knees, this man is broken, this man is humble, and he’s petitioning Jesus for his help because his son is near death.  Now, he’s begging.  The word “imploring” in the Greek is in the ingressive eras indicative tense, which means that he started to beg in a sense, and he continued to do that.  I mean he was really, there was passion, there’s an earnestness in his pleading before Jesus.  But this crisis has come into his life, and because of a crisis this man has this sense of ‘I need God’s touch in my life.’  And that is true, so often, man even recently looking through my prayer-journal, it is those times of crisis, it is those times of struggle, that man, I begin to see God.  It is in those times that, it’s amazing, that I really can hear the voice of God all of a sudden.  My journal just fills with Scriptures, where God is ministering to me, or I quote this ‘Streams in the desert’, man all these things are coming to me, ministering to me in those seasons.  But in the real successful seasons, in the quiet seasons, in the good seasons, you look in my journal, there’ll be ‘Praise the Lord, had a good day today’….but man, I could write volumes because I’m wrestling day after day, wrestling, wondering, struggling, seeking, crisis, ‘God I’m on my knees before you.’  It so often works with us individually, maybe that’s the situation in your life, there’s crisis right now in your life.  And crisis means bitter, it’s hard.  But God will use it to good.  And there’s that bitter-sweet thing, it’s bitter, but in the end there is a sweetness that comes.  There are times, I look back going ‘Man, I would almost like to go back to that bitter experience.’  Some never, but some yes, to get that sweetness of what God did in my life.  So be encouraged in that.  Yeah the time is hard, yeah, you wish it wasn’t happening.  But you can know that God is using it, maybe there’s an ember in your life, maybe once there was this flame and passion for Jesus Christ, and for whatever reason, now there’s this little ember, barely going.  God doesn’t want it that way, so he comes, man, he starts to flame that fire again.  And when the season ends, you can know.  If it’s people treadin’ over your head, Psalm 66, if you’ve been pulled into the net by God, you’ve been beaten up, going ‘Man’, you will come out to rich fulfillment, the psalmist says in Psalm 66, you can know it.  And that’s something maybe you can take courage in, in this time you’re in.  God does it individually, but he also does it corporately.  God will do that same to a church corporately.  I see him at times do it to this congregation.  There are times where our prayer-meetings are full, there are times where there’s a passion in this church, and with that comes blessing, with that comes success.  We ride these waves of success, we have these stories, ‘Look what God did!’  Then in the human heart what begins to happen is you see less people coming to the prayer-meetings, less passion, then sometimes I begin to hear, ‘This person is concerned now about this issue in this individual’s life, ‘Steve wore shorts to church this week, can you believe he wore shorts to work this week,’, I mean, they’re all ripped off because I wore shorts.  Or there’s an issue with a family, and these people are all caught up with this family, or they’re all upset about the worship [service], ‘What’s going on with the worship?’, or ‘Steve’s teaching, the guy is dull now.  I used to enjoy his teaching, the guy is just dull.’  You start to hear stuff like that.  That says as a church, it’s lost its focus.  It’s a church that’s maybe been in a season of success and is forgetting what it’s all about.  It’s about Jesus Christ.  So you know what God does?  He begins to bring us through those seasons of testing.  You know I heard David Jeremiah and I thought of that, and it really ministered to my heart.  But David Jeremiah, I was coming in this week, and he was sharing [on his radio broadcast] about Solomon in the temple in the temple dedication, and he was using it to talk about the church.  But there’s times he called it friendly fire in the church, where a church, this church should be a place where people come and they’re loved.  People come with all kinds of struggles and issues in their lives, some people wearing shorts maybe, come with whatever.  Not that anybody said that, I’m just using that as a silly example.  You might be thinking it though, I hope not, [laughter].  But sometimes, you know, a church should be full of love, but sometimes people come with different struggles, and people get criticized.  And that just says you’re losing the focus, man.  Man, the focus is Jesus Christ, the focus is prayer, it’s reaching out to the community.  [Comment: I’m thinking, as I’m transcribing this, of that homophobic church out in the Midwest that said it was going to picket Heath Leger’s funeral because he stared in Brokeback Mountain.  That’s not love, that’s not reaching out to the gay community in love.  Btw, that particular church has been classified as a hate-crime group.  This particular church via it’s Christian radio is reaching out to that same community in love instead of hate.  That’s Jesus’ approach, man, love, grace, mercy, and let Jesus change their hearts from the inside out.]  Yeah, they got issues, love ‘em man, encourage ‘em.  When there’s criticism we’re losing our focus, and the focus is Him, it’s him, it’s loving him, and it’s loving others….He shared that when this friendly fire comes, I mean, God will work crisis in God’s people, the people of Israel, Solomon there, and he’ll term them again towards the temple.  [By the term “friendly fire”, he means it in the military sense]  Sometimes God would dry up the rain, so then the farming would go bad, so then their finances would dry up.  Sometimes God does that in your life, he does it even in the church.  ‘Man, where is the money?  What’s going on, where’s the money?’  God uses it.  I remember Don McClure sharing in a study, that finances is a symptom, God uses it to purify.  We think money in our culture is the issue, you know, right there at the front of the news, money, money, the stock market, we’re all about money.  In God’s kingdom it’s just a symptom, and God uses finances even to purify our lives.  He’ll do it in the church and he’ll do it in your own life.  But God will do that, he’ll do something in the congregation to start getting us a little nervous as leadership, get us a little nervous as a congregation, just wondering.  And then somebody will come up with an idea, ‘Hey maybe we should have a prayer-meeting.’  So you come together, people start seeking God, and then the spirit of renewal starts to take place.  It’s amazing, in the nation of Israel it happened repeatedly, it happens with us individually, it happens with us corporately.  So you step into this church, you step into another church, and maybe there’s these seasons of discomfort, don’t be discouraged, God may actually be allowing that.  Crisis, to get people going.  Hey, it’s about me man.  It’s about prayer.  You know, our prayer-meetings, if our prayer-meetings are passionate and successful, that just says later where this church is going to be.  If our prayer-meetings are dry, you come together, nobody’s praying, or there’s few in number, that tells us, that’s indicative of where we are now, and where we are going to be in the future.  Well, spiritual renewal, God uses these things, crisis, to do it in your life.  He does the same even in the church.  And just so you know, I say these things, I’ve been thinking of these things, I sense even in our congregation the need for spiritual renewal.  So I’ve been praying about that, and I wonder if God has not been doing things [because of that], and a few of us were even talking this week, we’ve decided some of the things we do as a congregation, we had a couple of events planned, we’ve decided just for now to stop them.  We had Potter’s Field coming on Friday night, we’ve decided to stop that, Michael Souwell, we decided to stop that, Friday morning men’s study, we decided to stop that, the women’s study in September if we go that long, we decided to stop that, just as a season, we’ve got things that we do, we’ve got parenting classes some of you are in and things like that, and that’s fine.  But the things we do enlarge, we’re just going to keep it simple for awhile, Wednesday nights and Sunday mornings, and the rest is prayer….But we’re going to try to focus again as a congregation.  Let’s get back to just the basics, and especially prayer, prayer.  I encourage people in this church, I know life is full and busy, if you can make it to Sunday morning, I would say of all the services, come on Sunday morning.  [But] if you can make it to anything else on your schedule, come once a month on Sunday night to prayer.  Prayer is so key.  It says ‘We’re a people about Jesus.’  That’s what it says.  We’re a people that want to petition and seek him.  This man, he has crisis.  Where does he go?  He goes to Jesus, and he seeks him out. [see]


We walk by faith, not by sight


Verse 48, “Jesus said to him, ‘Unless you people see signs and wonders you’ll by no means believe.’” This man is imploring him. Interesting response, Jesus does that a lot.  He’ll respond in a way that doesn’t seem to directly fit what just happened, what the person said.  But he responds in this way.  Now the New King James that I’m reading, maybe you have the NIV or another translation, you have the word “people”, “unless you people”.  The King James says “unless you” [literally, “unless ye”], it doesn’t have the word “people”, and in the Greek “people” is not there.  It just says “unless you see”.  It’s possible Jesus is responding to an issue in this man’s heart, that maybe he wants God to work in a certain way, he’s constraining him, he needs to see something, it’s possible.  But I think some of the compilers of the translation have indicated, like in the New King James, it seems he is referring broadly.  He’ll do that, he’ll be ministering to one, and he’ll make a statement for all.  Especially this region of Galilee.  These people are looking, they’re people that have got to see signs and wonders.  Simply hearing the Word of Christ, hearing the Word of God isn’t enough, they need to see something, something happen, some kind of miracle.  [Comment:  That’s not necessarily wrong, if it’s coupled to the Word of God.  As a new believer, getting into the Word of God, and even before, I experienced miracles of God’s protection on my life, which led me to believe more in God and his Word.  But as indicated in the Old Testament instructions for the proof of a prophet, if a prophet has miracles but does not adhere to the Word of God, he is to be considered a false prophet, even if he’s working signs and miracles.  In Revelation the great false prophet, working with the ‘Man of sin’, the Beast personage, will work great miracles and deceive many.  Satan works many miracles, and has the whole world deceived (Rev. 12:9).]  ‘Thus if Jesus, you do that, then they’ll believe.  But they’ll only ride that for a little while.  Then they need Jesus to do something else.  So, he responds to that.  It’s a shallow belief is what it is.  It isn’t really dynamic faith, it’s a shallow faith, belief [a human faith instead of God inspired, God fueled faith, a faith that comes into a person from God].  And when there are people, and that happens today in the church, when there’s this shallow belief, you’ve got to see something physical, some kind of manifestation, some kind of emotional experience needs to happen for you in order for you to walk out of a church and go ‘Man, that was God!’, you know.  Rather than just hearing the truth.  When you need that, that shows a shallowness.  And the danger of that, is you’re more apt to be deceived.  In fact, last Sunday night we had Dennis Zek here with his Ministry through Mystery, and he was doing the different magic tricks, they’re not magic but just the tricks people do, and he was showing and demonstrating to the entire audience, that I can deceive you.  I can make it appear one way, when in reality isn’t that way.  Each time he would do that, he would then show us what he really did.  And his whole message was “You need to be rooted in the Word of God, or you might be deceived.”  There’s a trend even in the Church today where people are seeking manifestations.  And these movements blow through.  Right now maybe it isn’t so popular, but a year ago they’ll blow through, and another one will blow through.  But people will say, ‘I need to see something.’  [Comment: that would be a strong indication that people who “need to see something” really are not “born again”, indwelt by the Holy Spirit,  Cf. 2 Corinthians 13:5, but not always, as this text the pastor is going through will show.]  And it’s happened in a church, when people are falling, people are jumping, flying, whatever they’re doing, that’s happening, but God is working, but that says you’re seeking manifestations. [And the pastor is referring to the Pentecostal sub-branch of the Gentile side of the body of Christ right here.]  I think if that’s you, you need to consider what Jesus says here.  “Unless you people see signs and wonders you’ll by no means believe” rather than his Word.   He lifts up his Word, he honors his Word, all we need to do is hear his Word.  In fact the Church needs to consider what Paul says in 2nd Corinthians chapter 5, “For we walk by faith, not by sight.”  And true faith, dynamic faith says ‘I didn’t see anything’.  In fact, tremendous faith says ‘right now it even appears opposite of that’, like Abraham in Romans 4, ‘But God you said it, so all I need to know is you said it, I believe, I’m going to walk in it.’  That’s faith.  [Comment:  Like I said, when a person is being drawn to Jesus, sometimes God will use a “sign or wonder” to actually get their attention, but it always is coupled to or leads that person to God’s Word, or those preaching God’s Word.  Then after that, after an individual has been drawn to Jesus, even in such a way, and is indwelt by the Holy Spirit, that individual less and less should need to see anything physical.  They are now worshipping God in spirit and in truth, without physical manifestations.  Abraham walked in faith and believed God for a son for 25 years before God worked the miracle of giving him and Sarah their son Isaac, when Sarah was well beyond child-bearing age (99 years old).]  So, may you and I walk by faith, not by sight.  And this man hears the Word too, he’s an example to us.  Jesus will speak, and that’s enough.  He’ll then go, and he’ll go in faith.  [Comment:  If this was really Chuza Herod’s steward, in Luke 8 it says that his wife was one of the women that accompanied Jesus with the twelve disciples, ministering to them.  So it’s obvious, if true, that healing Chuza’s and Joanna’s son actually did draw them into firm belief that Jesus, Yeshua of Nazareth was the Messiah.  Luke 8:1-2, “And it came to pass afterward, that he went throughout every city and village, preaching and shewing the glad tidings of the kingdom of God: and the twelve were with him, and certain women, which had been healed of evil spirits, and infirmities, Mary called Magdalene, out of whom went seven devils [demons], and Joanna the wife of Chuza Herod’s steward, and Susanna, and many others, which ministered unto him of their substance.”  God can use physical healings and other miraculous events to draw a person to belief in Jesus, but afterward, faith is required.  But this faith is also a divine faith, supplied by the Holy Spirit, and then our walk with Jesus must be in and by that faith, not by sight.] 

          Well the nobleman, he sees Jesus as his only hope, so he cries out all the more, he says “Sir, come down before my child dies, it’s a desperate situation.”  Oh, it’s good, when those times in my life come,  when that happens, I look in the journal, man, ‘Oh God, you’ve got to do it now Lord’, and man, I have a sweet time.  I don’t like it when it’s going on, but in the end there’s the sweetness in my time with God.  Well seeing this man’s persistence and faith, Jesus responds and says “Go your way, your son lives”, and as a testimony of his faith, he goes his way.  He goes and departs.  Now when he leaves and heads his way, it’s interesting, you’ve got to look at the text closely.  But Cana is only 20 miles from Capernaum.  And even in that time it would take you a number of hours to make that journey.  [The nobleman and his family, with his son lived in Capernaum.  He was the one who came to see Jesus in Cana, verses 46-47]  If my son was about to die, and I just heard word from God “he’s healed”, I’d be picking up running, I used to run a long time ago, and ah, it’s been twenty years since I used to be a runner, and if you haven’t run in a long time, some of us mentally think we’re the same and physically we find out we’re not the same.  In fact I went out with a couple people from our church, and we went out to the track, and I barely made it a mile, and the next day I couldn’t go upstairs, and the next week I was still shaky, you know.  And it’s been a couple months, and I’ve only made it up to 2 miles.  But if my son was in this place, and God had touched his life, man I’d make a sprint for 20 miles.  But we find in the text a little bit later that when he gets there, his servants tell him that “your son lives”, he’s been healed, he enquires in verse 52 ‘When did this take place?’, they said “Yesterday at the seventh hour the fever left him.”   And then he says ‘Well that’s when Jesus said it.’  He waits a day, there’s a matter of time that transpires.  Why does that much time transpire for him to get home?  What was his experience in that time?  Sometimes God gives the answer and you’ve got to wait, and that’s a real testing time, a real beautiful time before the Lord as you go ‘Yeah God, I know you’ve spoken, I know it’s going to happen, I know it’s true, I know when I get there it’ll work out.’  Why does he do that?  One possible explanation I lean toward is we’re told it’s the seventh hour.  In this case if you use the Roman clock, not the Jewish clock, but the Roman clock at that time, that would be 7pm.  So based upon the time of year potentially, 7 o’clock would be dusk, so it would be dark, and rather than traveling, it would have been a treacherous time to travel during the night, so he waits to the next day.  But there is that gap in time, and there’s a possible explanation for it.  Well as he hears, verse 53, he hears his son lives, then of course he goes to see his son’s been healed.  We can only, I mean, you can only imagine the emotion, the excitement about what God has done.  We’re told then that he himself believed, and his whole household believed.  Now he believed Jesus’ word, he believed that when Jesus said “he’s healed”, he believed that.  Now you have a sense that there’s a greater belief that Jesus is the Son of God.  Jesus is the Messiah.  This is the man that I follow for the rest of my life, I commit my life to this man.  [Comment:  True evangelism must first show people who Jesus is, he is the Messiah, the Christ, God the Son.  Then as we saw, once the lady at the well understood who Jesus was, then conviction of one’s sins must come and is the next step.  Then accepting Jesus sacrifice for your sins, and accepting him, asking him into your life is next.  But of central importance first is understanding who Jesus is.  That is why Satan uses heresies and heretics to cloud the issue, the knowledge of who Jesus Christ truly is.  See]  He is my Lord.  And what happens is, like that 85 percent statistic I told you about close relationships, it says that his whole household then believes.  He has that influence as a father.  And I think statistically, when statistics are higher, when you have a father in a home that loves Jesus Christ, when you have a father that walks by faith, rare is the day, very rare is the day that there isn’t a wife and children with the same heart.  It does happen at times [yeah, I know about that one], but statistically it must be 95 percent or better that the entire home comes to Christ.  There’s something extremely influential in the heart of a father, in the influence of a father, the way it effects a home.  So you dads that are here today, I believe we’ll also give an account.  Because God has given us a position in our homes.  And where’s our wives, where’s our children, what are they seeing in us?  May, by the grace of God, they see a man of faith, that walks by faith.  It’ll effect an entire home, it should.  If there’s a complacency, a shallowness, if there’s a flippancy about Christ, it’ll often be seen too.  Now there are exceptions, of course.  A lot of times there are wives that love the Lord, and their husband is not at that place.  That’s a challenge for those wives.  But God gives the grace.  And God works with the children in those situations too, he works powerfully through a mom, that is for sure, no doubt. 

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