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May 17, 2020

The Healing of the Official's Son

Passage: John 4:46-54

Preacher: Jeremy Anderson

Series: Hit Reset

Detail:

There are words in a popular song that’s recorded as a prayer that go like this:

Bring him peace, bring him joy

He’s young, he’s only a boy

You can take, you can give

Let him be, let him live.

If I die, let me die

But let him live

Bring him home

 

Many of you recognize those words from the song, “Bring Him Home,” from Les Misérables. Jean Valjean pleads with the Lord on behalf of a young man named Marius who has gone to fight in the revolution. Marius is in love with his daughter and Jean Valjean is pleading that God would spare Marius’ life, that He would be with him and keep him safe, that He would bring him home so he could live life with his daughter in happiness and hope.

I’m sure many of us have prayed similar prayers. We may have listened to this song and heard the hope that comes with it. We may have had loved ones—children, parents, grandparents or great friends—who have gone through difficult health situations or tragedies in life. We’ve interceded on behalf of them, asking God to resolve their situation. When all hope seems to be gone, we tend to turn to the Lord.

This morning we’re going to meet an official who does this exact thing. He has left his son at home and has come to Jesus looking for hope, looking for help when everything seemed lost. I invite you to turn to John 4. In a moment we’ll watch a video that helps give us a picture of what happened in this event.

I want us to remember those feelings of desperation as we look at the circumstances around us and say, “Lord, what is going on?” When we can’t seem to make ends meet in our minds, we turn to Jesus and plead with Him as our last resort for hope.

Let’s look at this video to see what’s happening in our passage today.

Video: After spending two days there, Jesus left and went to Galilee, for He Himself had said, “Prophets are not respected in their own country.”  When He arrived in Galilee, the people there welcomed Him, because they had gone to the Passover festival in Jerusalem and had seen everything He had done during the festival. Then Jesus went back to Cana in Galilee, where He had turned the water into wine.

A government official was there whose son was sick in Capernaum. When he heard that Jesus had come from Judea to Galilee, he went to Him, and asked Him to go to Capernaum and heal his son, who was about to die.

“None of you will ever believe unless you see miracles and wonders.”

“Sir, come with me before my child dies.”

“Go. Your son will live.”

The man believed Jesus’ words and went. On his way home, his servants met him with the news. “Your boy—he’s going to live!” He asked him what time it was when his son got better. “It was 1:00 yesterday afternoon when his fever left him.” Then the father remembered that it was at that very hour when Jesus had told him, “Your son will live.”  So he and all his family believed.

This was the second miracle that Jesus performed after coming from Judea to Galilee.[1]

Can you imagine being in that circumstance? Your kid is  home on the verge of death, you get up and leave home to go find this Man, to ask Him if there’s any way He could heal your son. Can you imagine the stress and anguish this father must have felt, the uncertainty of what would happen to his son? I can’t even imagine what that would feel like. Having a new baby boy at home, I pray that’s never a feeling I ever have to know. Yet here we meet this official who went to Jesus when everything seemed to be lost. He was looking for some sort of hope, some chance that Jesus might heal his son.

I want to give you a little background for this official we’re meeting. The video portrayed him as a Roman official, but he was likely a Jewish man who worked in the court of Herod Antipas. That means he would have been wealthy and would have had great influence. Yet here he was in a circumstance that money couldn’t help and his influence could not heal his son, so he was looking for some sort of answer, some sort of hope in the desperate crisis he faced—the potential loss of his only child. It was in this moment that he decided to turn to Jesus.

After the wedding in Cana we learned about last week, where Jesus had turned water into wine, He had gone to Jerusalem with His disciples for the Passover feast. While He was there, He performed many signs and wonders, according to John 2. Many people from Galilee were also there. Right before our passage this morning, in John 4:45, John tells us that when Jesus returned to Galilee, the Galileans welcomed Him back. They were so excited about all the signs and wonders they had seen Him perform just days before when He was in Jerusalem.

I want you to picture with me what was going on when the Roman official approached Jesus. There was a crowd of Galileans around Him who were oohing and awing at what He was doing, wondering what this miracle worker might do next. Would He turn water into wine again? Earlier in the book of John, we’re told that Jesus understood what was in the hearts of men. So He did not give Himself to those who were in Jerusalem. But then this official came up to Jesus in a state of desperation, saying, “My son is sick. Please come and heal him before he dies.”

What is Jesus’ first response? In verse 48 He says, “Unless you see signs and wonders, you will not believe.”  Jesus was talking to more than just this Roman official; He was talking to all the Galileans who were present. His first response was a rebuke. That’s important for us to note. It’s not that Jesus was coming down on this man, but He was identifying what the real purpose of the miracle would be.

As we look at this miracle today, we have one story with two parallel threads running through it. On the one hand, we have a sick son and Jesus was going to make him well, extending his life. This was a spectacular event, something that should cause us to be amazed as we look at the power of our Savior. The other thread in this story has to do with the faith of this father. I believe Jesus’ rebuke in verse 48 tells us this second thread is the main theme. Yes, Jesus would heal the man’s son—that’s exciting and it draws our attention—but behind the scenes, Jesus was also conquering doubt in this official’s heart.

This morning I want to address some of these doubts. It’s true that the signs and wonders Jesus performed are intended to instill belief in our hearts. We read in the Old Testament that God responded to Moses by saying, “How long will this people despise me? And how long will they not believe in me, in spite of all the signs that I have done among them?” (Numbers 14:11).

God had performed great signs when He brought the nation of Israel out of Egypt and as they wandered in the wilderness, but just before they were to enter the Promised Land, He said to Moses,  "How long will they despise Me?” In other places in the Old Testament we find people who were judged based on their lack of faith in the face of seeing signs and wonders.

So here in Mark, Jesus is again reminding us that it’s not just about signs and wonders. It seems He was calling this man and the Galileans—and us—to a deeper level of faith, the ability to believe even when there aren’t signs and wonders. It’s as though He’s saying, “I am the sign.”  Paul wrote in Colossians 1:15 that Christ is the image of the invisible God. He Himself is the sign by which we must believe He is the Son of God.

We’re going to look at some doubts this official likely brought with him as he approached Jesus, asking Him to come heal his son who was on the verge of death. 

Conquering the doubt of Jesus’ precepts, believing in Jesus takes Him at His word.

The first doubt this man had can be found in Jesus’ response. He told him, “Unless you see signs and wonders you will not believe.” The official’s quick response was to say, “Listen, I do believe You can do this.”  He said in verse 49, “Sir, come down before my child dies.” Jesus then tells him, “Go; your son will live.”

Can you wrap your head around that? That’s not the most exciting response. You’re thinking signs and wonders, but all you get is, “Go; your son will live.”  That seems kind of anticlimactic. But Jesus was teaching this man that belief in His precepts means taking Him at His word. When Jesus told the man to go home, the man had a choice to make. He could have stood there and fought with Jesus, continuing to plead with Him, “I’m not going until You come with me to my house and heal my son.”  Or he could take Jesus at His word, believe that his son was going to live and go home.

I want to give you some perspective on going home. The journey from Cana to Capernaum was somewhere around 20 miles. It would be similar to walking from our Aurora campus to our Plano campus. This man is walking that distance. For us, that’s a 20-minute drive, but he was walking home, which was a good day’s journey. We don’t know if he stayed in Cana for the rest of that day and left the next morning. We don’t know if he got a head start and stopped somewhere overnight. What we do know is that he was almost home, or at least he was still on the road, when his servants met him to tell him his son had recovered.

As this man left Jesus’ presence, he was in a place where he could not know how legitimate Jesus was. There was a risk. He could get home to find his son dead, yet he had spent the last few days of his son’s life seeking a miracle worker to help him out. He could get home only to find his son was no better, then he would have concluded that Jesus was a fraud. But praise God, this man received good news that his son was healed.

I want to speak briefly about trust. Jesus gave this man the opportunity to trust Him. It’s clear to us that Jesus was doing a work in this man’s heart. We can’t just look at this man and say, “Hey, look at him. He conquered his own doubts.”  I want us to see how it was that Jesus was conquering the man’s doubts. How did Jesus overcome his questions and uncertainties? He simply said to the man, essentially, “Trust Me.”  

I know many of us come at trust from different backgrounds. One thing I do know about trust, across the board, is that trust is earned. I’m going to share a couple stories and you might resonate with one or the other of them.

The first story is about a father who took his son with him out on the back porch. The son was a little toddler, so Dad lifted him up and set him on the porch railing. Dad said, “You wait there,” then he walked down to the grass where he stood below his son. He said, “Jump. I’ll catch you.”

Obviously, for a little kid, that would be terrifying. But his dad kept saying, “I’ve got you. I’ll catch you. You’ll be all right.”  After a few moments of coaxing him, the little boy conjured up some trust. He squatted down a little and jumped off the railing. As he jumped, the father stepped aside and let his son fall to the ground.

I know what you’re thinking—“What a terrible father!” I would agree, but this is a fake story so don’t worry. It didn’t happen to me and it didn’t happen to anyone else I know. But in this circumstance, the father reached down, lifted up his son, wiped the tears from his eyes and brushed off his arm. He then said, “Listen, son, let this be a lesson to you: never trust anyone.”

There are some of you who are watching who can resonate with that. Your experiences in life have taught you to never trust anyone. You’ve been taught that the second you trust someone, they’re going to let you down. They’re going to fail you. They’ll let you fall. Don’t trust anyone. It’s important for us to trust Jesus, but that’s your experience, so you’re probably asking yourself, “How in the world am I supposed to trust a God I can’t see? How in the world am I supposed to trust a God I cannot have an audible conversation with? How in the world am I supposed to trust a God Who wrote down words in a book thousands of years ago and gave them to me? That’s what I’m supposed to trust? How can I do that?”

I would like to encourage you this morning that the words of this Book are reason for it. If the words of this Book are true, then that changes everything about our perspective on trusting God. If the record of this miracle is true, then that changes the way we trust Jesus’ words.

I could give you examples from my own life of how God has called me to trust Him and proven Himself faithful. It doesn’t mean it’s always easy. It doesn’t mean it’s always clear. It means God is faithful and trustworthy. I know it may be difficult, but I’m asking you to simply take Jesus at His word.

Some of you, however, might resonate more with the second father who is teaching his kid how to ride a bike. He’s got one hand on the handlebar and the other hand on his son’s back. He’s walking with him and encouraging him, instructing him on how to pedal to maintain speed. He’s telling him how to use the brakes so he doesn’t just run into something. He explains how to get on and off the bike, and how to balance himself. This dad is patiently working with his son, helping him grow in his ability to ride and gradually giving him more freedom. As the son continues to learn, dad eventually takes his hand off his back and off the handlebar. That son may still fall or run into a tree that he swears grew legs and walked in front of him. He doesn’t know how he ran into it. But just as the son slowly learns to trust his father, we also gradually learn to trust Jesus.

For some of us, trust is much easier. Maybe you’ve been walking with the Lord for a period of time and have seen His faithfulness in your life. For me to stand here and say, “Trust Jesus and take Him at His word” is not as challenging for you. “Yeah, I can do that. I can take Jesus at His word.”

No matter which story you most resonate with, this is the doubt Jesus was confronting with this official. “Will you trust Me? Go; your son is going to live.”  As the man went on his way back home, his servants came to meet him with good news. “Listen, your son is recovering. He’s getting better. He isn’t going to die.”  The man then asked them, “What hour was it when that happened?” They said, “It was yesterday around 1:00.”  He realized, “That’s right when Jesus told me he was going to live.”  

Jesus was conquering this man’s doubt, teaching him that to believe in Him starts with taking Him at His word.

Conquering the doubt of Jesus’ power, believing in Jesus expands our view of His power.

Second, Jesus also began to conquer the doubt this Roman official had regarding His power. Let’s be honest—this man had probably heard stories about this Miracle Worker from Galilee Who was performing signs and wonders, so he decided it was worth checking out the stories to see how powerful He actually was.

I remember as a kid when I attended Aurora Christian,  they brought in this group of guys called the Power Team. I don’t know if you’ve ever heard of these people before, but these dudes were big. They were monsters. They were so strong. Here we were, little kids, watching these grown men. They told us, “We’re going to snap these cinder blocks in half by swinging our hand at them.”  We thought, “Oh, my goodness, no way.”  But they did. With their own hands, they crushed those cinder blocks. They  smashed their foreheads on bricks of ice that were this thick and shattered them. As kids, we were like, “Whoa. These dudes are powerful.”  They were ripping phone books in half. We couldn’t wrap our heads around that kind of power.

But let me tell you, the power Jesus was putting on display in this story was far great than that of the Power Team. Those men had to be physically present to crush the cinder blocks and shatter that ice. It wasn’t even that they were across the room saying, “With my mind, I am going to crush those cinder blocks.”  Jesus did something much greater—He performed the miracle of healing this man’s son without being near him at all.

I want to pause and ask when did we begin to doubt the power of God? It’s interesting to me that in this day and age, when we hear of miraculous events, our first response is immense skepticism. “Did God really do a miracle there?” I know some of our doubts come from false teachers and evangelists, like Tim talked about last week. It’s interesting that the very tools Jesus employed to instill faith and belief back then are the very things that now produce skepticism and doubt in God’s people. Jesus knew His miracle would blow the guy’s sock off. I want to propose two ways this Roman official doubted the extent of Jesus’ power.

Look at verse 49. “The official said to him, ‘Sir, come down before my child dies.’”   His first words were “come down.”  He believed Jesus needed to go to Capernaum, to his home, to be physically present with his son in order for the son to be healed. That would seem to make sense. If Jesus was going to do something, He needed to be present. If the Power Team was going to crush cinder blocks, they needed to be there. But this man seemed to presuppose that Jesus’ power was limited by His physical proximity. That’s why Jesus’ miracle knocked the socks off that belief. His power extended beyond what the man could have imagined. He didn’t have to be present to do a mighty work.

In these days, as we are staying in self-isolation and not gathering together, we need to remember and be encouraged by stories like these which demonstrate that God can work from a distance. I wouldn’t be standing here on this stage preaching to an empty sanctuary if I didn’t believe God couldn’t do that. I’ll go even farther and say I don’t think you believe that either because you’re watching today. We serve a God Who transcends physical separation, Who is far greater than we can possibly wrap our minds around.

Even though the official didn’t understand the full extent of Jesus’ power, Jesus decided to show him something greater than he could have imagined. “Go home. Your son is going to live.”  The man had said to Jesus, “Come down before my child dies.”  He had the understandable idea that if the boy actually died, that would be something Jesus could not change. In the man’s mind, the window for Jesus to do a miracle was closing. He had no way of knowing that Jesus’ power was even greater than death. He didn’t know Jesus was the Author of life, that He could lay life down and raise it back up.

We think of the time when Jesus raised Lazarus from the grave (John 11:1-27), proving His power over death itself. In Luke 7, Jesus raised the dead son of a widow, then in Luke 8, He raised Jairus’ daughter as well. Ultimately, as we know, Jesus laid down His own life on a cross and three days later He rose from the grave.

Our Savior’s power cannot be limited. If we don’t believe Jesus has power even over death itself, then we have no hope. As Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians15:13-19, if there’s no resurrection from the dead, then our hope is in vain, our faith is in vain and we above all people should be pitied.

So Christian, take hope today that even in the midst of chaos and uncertainties in the world, our God’s power transcends all of it. We cannot even begin to wrap our minds around just how powerful Jesus truly is. This is the beauty of opening the Scriptures and seeing these testimonies that have been written down so our faith can be deepened. Jesus revealed Himself as a powerful Savior, the King of kings and Lord of lords, Who could not be limited by anything. We cannot put our Savior in a box. If at times we do that unintentionally or out of ignorance, God often is there to blow our socks off. That doesn’t mean we’ll be seeing miracles all the time, but we see His power illustrated in this story of a boy being restored to health.

Later in His ministry, Jesus asked, “Who is it that needs a doctor? It’s the sick.”  We need to realize that as we hear these stories, we ourselves are sick and need a doctor. Sin has penetrated our hearts and tainted us to our core. Jesus has come, not just to heal those who are sick physically, but also those who are sick spiritually. He has come to wash our sins clean on the cross, and when He was raised on the third day, He gave spiritual life to those who place their trust in Him.

That’s a miracle to celebrate and rejoice in, knowing that Jesus has overcome the grave and given us victory over our sins.

If Jesus had gone down to that man’s house with him and healed the son there, He would not have confronted this man’s doubts. He never would have proved He could do mighty works even from a distance. Long-distance miracles weren’t very common in the Old Testament or in the Greco-Roman world. The ancient witnesses and the readers of John’s Gospel would realize that the Person Who did these miracles had extraordinary power. When this official went home and met his son who was recovering, I believe he was convinced without a shadow of a doubt that Jesus had power beyond what he could wrap his mind around.

Conquering the doubt of Jesus’ person, believing in Jesus means trust in Who He is!

Finally, Jesus conquered another doubt in this man’s life, the doubt of Who He really was. Belief in Jesus means trust in Who He is—the Son of God. At the end of the first miracle in Cana we read about last week, Jesus’ disciples believed in Him. In John 4:53 today, we see that this man “himself believed, and all his household.” 

What an amazing thing, to see the testimony of Jesus’ ministry and to be convinced He was the Son of God. As John tells us in John 20:31, he wrote these things down so we would believe Jesus is the Son of God. As we study these passages today, God is still convincing people of Who He is. The Roman official and his household were added to the number of those who believed, and throughout all the following centuries, many more people have been added as believers because of this report.

It reminds me of one of my favorite Christmas movies while I was growing up. You can make fun of me if you want to—I’ve got tough skin—but one of my favorite Christmas movies was “The Santa Clause.”  In this movie, Scott Calvin and his son go outside on Christmas Eve and discover Santa on their roof. They ask him, “What are you doing?” It scares Santa, so he falls off the roof and is lying in their yard. Through some other events, Scott Calvin becomes the next Santa Claus. He had been divorced from his wife and was trying to convince her and her new husband that he is Santa. They think he’s crazy.

Late in the movie—I apologize for the spoiler, but this was a 1994 movie, so if you’ve not watched it yet, that’s on you—Scott Calvin as Santa gives a man named Neal a weenie whistle for Christmas.

As a kid, Neal desperately wanted a weenie whistle. He had asked Santa for one, but had never gotten one. It was when he received that gift as an adult, he became convinced that Scott Calvin really was Santa Claus. In the movie, he looked up and said, “Santa Claus really is you.”

I don’t want to compare Jesus to Santa Claus. Jesus is far greater than Santa Claus. He is the King of kings and the Savior of the world. It’s by His very word that everything came into existence. But Jesus was in the business of opening people’s eyes and revealing to them just Who it is He was—the Son of God, the Messiah, the promised Savior the world had been waiting for.

In this story, Jesus intentionally convinced this man and his household that He was the Son of God and He’s still doing the same thing today. Think of your own testimony. What was it that convinced you that Jesus is the Son of God? What was He doing in your life that convinced you He truly is the Savior, that He is legit? Jesus is so magnificent.

In Hebrews 1:3 we read, “He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature.”  That is something to celebrate, something that should cause awe and wonder in our hearts and minds. As we look upon Jesus, we see the very nature of God lived out. How amazing that we’ve been given that privilege! What a gift and blessing!

I know there are people who may be watching today who have received Jesus without believing in Who He is. Maybe you’ve received Him because of the excitement He can bring to life, or you’ve received Him because of the blessings that come with being around His people. But I want to ask each of you today, have you believed in Who Jesus is? My prayer is that you would take stock of where you are and how you would answer that question. Have you received Jesus without believing in Who He is? Has Jesus convinced you that He is the Son of God, the risen Savior?

Earlier I said there were parallel threads in this story. There was the miraculous healing of the son, which is the exciting part that we’re drawn to. Our attention is focused on that healing, but then there’s the quiet, behind-the-scenes cultivation of the faith of this father.

Many of us long to have the experience of the son in this story. We want to experience the miraculous and see God’s power on display. We so long for this that if we’re honest, we can ignore the other thread.

I grew up going to Aurora Christian School. My family worked there, so Aurora Christian was my life. I was comfortable there; my friends were there; my reputation was there. I was doing well. I went to Bible class and chapel. I received the “Christian Character” award for I can’t tell you how many years. But at the end of my sophomore year in high school my family left ACS and God took all those things out from underneath me that I had so much confidence in. He transplanted our family out to Newark and put me in a public school. You might think this is petty or weak, but remember as a high school student, I struggled with that transition. It was really hard for me. I was angry with God. I was angry with my parents. How could they make my life so miserable when I had everything going for me at ACS? I wrestled with God about that for a number of months. Finally, God began to soften my heart and reveal to me what He was doing. Eventually He brought me around to His will and I started to see what He was doing.

The first thing I realized was that He was drawing me to Himself. I remember clearly sitting in my room one night, thinking, “Man, if I’m really serious about loving Jesus that has to mean something now. I’m not going to have Bible class where they force me to study the Bible. I’m not going to have chapel where I’m forced to be in worship with other believers on a regular basis. So if I’m going to follow Jesus, it’s going to cost me something. This needs to be real.”

Now, I had grown up in a Christian family and thought I had all the answers. But it was in that time of my life when Jesus got hold of my heart and made it clear to me Who He was—that He was worthy of my trust, that He was the Savior I’d been looking for and it was Him Who I needed to place my confidence in. It wasn’t my basketball career, my academics or my reputation, but Jesus alone.

I can tell you with absolute confidence right now that if that is the only good that came out of that whole situation, I could stand here and praise the name of Jesus until the day I die. Jesus changed my life through that experience. What was to me a desperate situation, a crisis, a dead end to life as I knew it, Jesus had other plans. He gave me a divine opportunity. I can say God has gone on to bring me many more blessings through that. I don’t believe I’d be standing here right now or that I’d be the man I am today, if God didn’t carry me through that. I met my wife through that transition. I’ve gone on to meet many of you. God really got hold of my life and I praise Him for it.

I want to take a moment to be clear that just because we may follow Jesus, just because we may take Him at His Word, just because we may expand our view of His power and believe in Who He is, doesn’t mean things will always be easy. It doesn’t mean things are going to fall into line. Things may be really difficult and challenging at times.

I imagine it was difficult for this father to leave Jesus’ presence, trusting what He said and then go home to see how his son was doing. But I can tell you the most rewarding thing and the thing that brings the most glory to God, is when a sinner repents and places their trust in Jesus Christ. That’s why I can say with confidence that I will praise Jesus until the day I die. The Scriptures tell us that when a sinner repents, there’s a celebration that takes place in heaven (Luke 15:10). That’s pretty cool. It doesn’t say that when Jesus performs miracles there’s celebration; it’s when a sinner repents. There’s something exciting about a lost soul being found.

I hope you’re encouraged as we’ve looked at this miracle and asked, “What was Jesus doing?” Yes, He was healing the son, but He was also cultivating the faith of this father and his household so they would believe. There was a celebration of that reality. So be encouraged today. If you have found salvation in the Lord, celebrate that. What a wonderful miracle that is. If you’re still looking for Jesus, I hope you would take seriously the words in the Bible, the testimony of this passage that says Jesus is the Son of God.

Let’s close with a few practical takeaways for you.

Treat Jesus like He is the Son of God, not just a genie.

It can be really easy for us to leave Jesus off on the side of our lives until something tragic happens or we’re facing a crisis, then we go running to Him. We pick up our little genie that’s Jesus and say, “Fix my problems. I’m desperate.”  I want to encourage you to treat Jesus, not like He’s a genie to be kept on the side, but to treat Him like the Son of God. We need to worship Him, submit to Him, trust Him and lift His name high, because He deserves it. He is alone is worthy of our praise.

Trust in Jesus in the good times and the bad.

Don’t wait until life falls apart to turn to Him. Praise His name. Enjoy the fellowship we have with our Savior even now. Maybe you’re going through an incredibly difficult time. Lean in on your Savior. He is compassionate. He understands the trouble you’re going through. Let Him care for you and comfort you. Seek Him out. Trust in Him in the good times and the bad.

Take the Word of God seriously.

This is something that’s easy to say, but sometimes it’s a lot harder to do—especially when it doesn’t really jive with what we’re feeling in the moment. But when God tells us something, He doesn’t mean it as a suggestion or just an off-the-wall idea. What God has said in His Word is truth—and He means it. So believer, this is a great thing to put stock in. In the difficulties of life, this Book is a foundation where God has spoken to us. We can have confidence in what He has said, leaning on His words and trusting Him. There are promises in this Book that He has given to us to encourage us and carry us through. Take the Word of God seriously.

Teach others about Jesus!

The Scriptures don’t go into great detail, but this man went home and he believed and all his household believed (verse 53). I imagine when he went home to find his son restored to health, he gave his son a big hug and said, “He did it! He healed you. Look at you.”  Then he shared that hope and good news with everyone else in his household. “Listen, this Jesus is the real deal. He’s not just some miracle working fraud. He’s the Son of God. He’s the Messiah.”

If that is something you’ve come to understand and believe, share it with someone. Tell someone about the hope you’ve found in Jesus Christ. As a church, we want to start a new initiative we’re going to call “Take Five.”  We want to encourage everybody who is part of Village Bible Church to jot down five names of people you know who don’t yet know the Lord as their Savior. Then we want to encourage our church to take five minutes a day and pray for those people by name. Pray for their salvation and that God would even give you opportunities to share the gospel message with them. Pray that He would open their hearts to the truth. Pray that God would be working in their lives, even giving them blessings. Pray that God would draw them to Himself.

Finally, pray for their connection with the church. That might mean you’re inviting them to be part of our Sunday services. You could invite them to be part of your small group. You could invite them to be part of our Discover Jesus classes. We want to connect people to the church, because we are God’s people and God has called us to care for one another and do life with one another.

I know that looks different right now, but it doesn’t mean God has stopped working. He is still doing great things. So will you join me in this “Take Five” initiative? This week, jot down five names you can be praying for, then take time each day to bring them before the Lord. Ask God to do for them what He did for this official and his family, that He would reveal to them Who He is. Pray that He would open their hearts to the truth of the gospel, so they too might be saved.

This miracle was all about this man believing in Who Jesus was. So let God be cultivating a heart of belief in you. This man wasn’t conquering these doubts on his own. Jesus was the One Who did that. Turn to Jesus, asking Him to help you through your doubts and to cultivate your faith. He must be the object of our faith. He’s not just the means for the miraculous. Instead, we need to see the miraculous as being the means to discovering Jesus as our hope and joy, so that He is what we celebrate. 


[1] https://www.jesusfilm.org/watch.html


Village Bible Church  |  847 North State Route 47, Sugar Grove, IL 60554  |  (630) 466-7198  |  www.villagebible.church/sugar-grove

All Scriptures quoted directly from the English Standard Version unless otherwise noted.

Note: This transcription has been provided by Sermon Transcribers (www.sermontranscribers.com).