Friday, December 09, 2011

John 4:42-54

43 Now after two days he departed thence, and went into Galilee.
44 For Jesus himself testified, that a prophet hath no honour in his own country.
45 Then when he was come into Galilee, the Galilaeans received him, having seen all the things that he did at Jerusalem at the feast: for they also went unto the feast.
46 So Jesus came again into Cana of Galilee, where he made the water wine. And there was a certain nobleman, whose son was sick at Capernaum.
47 When he heard that Jesus was come out of Judaea 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.
48 Then said Jesus unto him, Except ye see signs and wonders, ye will not believe.
49 The nobleman saith unto him, Sir, come down ere my child die.
50 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.
51 And as he was now going down, his servants met him, and told him, saying, Thy son liveth.
52 Then enquired he of them the hour when he began to amend. And they said unto him, Yesterday at the seventh hour the fever left him.
53 So the father knew that it was at the same hour, in the which Jesus said unto him, Thy son liveth: and himself believed, and his whole house.
54 This is again the second miracle that Jesus did, when he was come out of Judaea into Galilee.

Key Observation:
John recounts the second miracle which Jesus did.


I am thinking of the many TV evangelists that I have seen over the years. Without wanting to paint them all with the same brush, what I have seen (and I am not a regular watcher) is depressing. In past decades I saw some who professed to heal before the cameras, and in the sight of all. Now, do not get me wrong—I absolutely believe in a God who can and does heal our infirmities, and will do so totally at a future date. But these healings on TV are just too much for me—call me skeptical.

I have seen many of these evangelists flying about the world in their private jets, and the lessons of Matthew six come home to me. What are the lessons of Matthew six? The whole theme of chapter six is doing your good in secret before God, not before men. “When you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by men.” (Mt. 6:2) “When you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full.” (Mt. 6:5)

My skepticism of those evangelists emanates from a study of this chapter. Can I not say that these men are already rewarding themselves? The Bible teaches that there are wolves in sheep’s clothing, and these sheep do howl a bit too much for my comfort. The one exception that I do know about is Billy Graham—to avoid even the appearance of evil, he would draw but a regular salary, and refused again and again to ride in a limousine when being whisked to his next crusade. I have appreciated his ministry, perhaps not the least because my own mother was present at one of his early crusades, and did receive Christ there.

Contrast our Lord with the glittering evangelists. What did He do when asked to perform a miracle? The nobleman pleads for his son; Jesus replies that you will not believe unless you see signs. Remember that this second miracle is done near the first miracle in Cana of Galilee. The people had seen Jesus, and had positively responded towards him. I can imagine an TV evangelist today, if he were going to perform a miracle. First and foremost he would want a crowd about him for all to see. The television cameras would be focused with close ups on the healed child, and undoubtedly twenty men would be in the crowd to pass the offering basket, and the television screen would sandwich nicely to a large print donation screen.

“Go thy way. Thy son liveth.” That was it! What a contrast in humility! What an object lesson for those of us who desire to be used of God. In reading of Billy Graham’s history, I read about his refusal to ever be alone in a room with a woman. The rule became known as “the Billy Graham rule”. It is that sort of modesty and desire for righteousness that should lead every one of us.

But look for a moment at the faith of the nobleman. “Come down ere my child die,” was his plea. I wonder if one of the things Jesus might have been doing here is showing the faith of the nobleman. I am reminded again of Naaman, the foreigner with leprosy, who came to Elisha (2 Kings 5) to be healed. Elisha did not bother to go and meet with Naaman, instead sending a messenger with a letter, commanding Naaman to wash himself seven times in the Jordan River. Naaman got angry and almost left, but was urged to trust the message, and followed Elisha’s instructions, and was healed.

Here is my Lord and my King, effectually telling the nobleman that since He did not have time, that “thy son liveth”. Does the faith of the nobleman not come out for us all to see? He, turning and going his own way, finds that the miracle of God happened not in the powerful wind, nor yet in a mighty earthquake, nor yet in a fierce fire, but rather in the whisper of my Lord: “Go thy way. Thy son liveth.”

So it is with me. I have dramatic times in my life where God intercedes in a miraculous fashion for me, my Mount Carmels where the Lord uses me for sweet victory. But where is it that I must worship? Where is it that I come as close to God as I am going to, this side of heaven? It is in His still small voice. Like Elijah, when I hear His whisper, I must bow my head and worship, for God Himself is closest to me at those times. My heart fills with wonder at knowing Him, and His knowing me. What a wonderful God I serve!

Wonderful Grace of Jesus

1. Wonderful grace of Jesus,
Greater than all my sin;
How shall my tongue describe it,
Where shall its praise begin?
Taking away my burden,
Setting my spirit free,
For the wonderful grace of Jesus reaches me.

2. Wonderful grace of Jesus,
Reaching to all the lost,
By it I have been pardoned,
Saved to the uttermost;
Chains have been torn asunder,
Giving me liberty;
For the wonderful grace of Jesus reaches me.

3. Wonderful grace of Jesus,
Reaching the most defiled,
By its transforming power,
Making him God's dear child,
Purchasing peace and heaven,
For all eternity;
For the wonderful grace of Jesus reaches me.

Wonderful the matchless grace of Jesus,
Deeper than the mighty rolling sea;
Higher than the mountain, sparkling like a fountain,
All sufficient grace for even me;
Broader than the scope of my transgressions,
Greater far than all my sin and shame;
O magnify the precious Name of Jesus,
Praise His Name!

Lyrics: Haldor Lillenas

No comments: