Sermon Notes + 3.26.2023
The Man Believed the Word
Dr. Tony Chute, Lead Pastor
Overview: Two days after speaking with the woman at the well, Jesus departs for Galilee, where He is welcomed by those who had witnessed the miracles He performed at the feast in Jerusalem. John reveals, however, that such receptions can be superficial when people are more attracted to the miracles Jesus performs than the salvation He provides. This point is further illustrated by a royal official who requests that Jesus leave Cana and heal his son, who is at the point of death. Jesus responds with a mild rebuke, but the man is not deterred. Jesus then instructs him to return home, where his son will be found alive and well. The fact that the man takes Jesus at His word and returns home displays a faith that is genuine, not superficial. When the man discovers that his son was healed at the very hour Jesus sent him on his way, he and his entire household believe in Jesus. John notes that this is the second of Jesus’ many signs, thus pointing us all to the importance of genuine faith.
01. Genuine faith is pleasing to God because it demonstrates our dependence on the Lord throughout life’s situations, whether good or bad.
02. Genuine faith may begin as superficial faith but proves itself over time by focusing on the benefactor more than the benefits of faith.
03. Genuine faith may undergo struggles and doubts but manages by God’s grace to persevere and cling to the promises of God.
QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION & DISCOVERY
1. Consider Jesus’s reception in Samaria with His rejection in His hometown (4:39-44). What led the Samaritans to believe in Jesus? Did He perform any miracles there? Why was Jesus rejected by those in His hometown? (See also Matthew 13:57; Mark 6:4; and Luke 4:24 for further examples). Why didn’t Jesus perform miracles in His hometown in order to make people believe in Him?
2. In what way do the Galileans seem to demonstrate superficial faith according to verse 45? Are they taking Jesus seriously for who He is and what He has come to do, or are they more curious and excited because of the miracles He has performed? How does the rebuke from Jesus in verse 48 warn against the desire to follow Jesus based on miracles rather than His words and work?
3. What does the royal official ask of Jesus in verse 47? How does this request reveal the man’s own weakness and his need for Jesus to intervene? In what ways does the Lord bring affliction into our lives so that we will recognize our own weakness and rely upon His strength?
4. What is the significance of the exchange between Jesus and the official in verses 47-49? Was Jesus trying to get the man to go away, or was He instructing the man about the importance of believing even if he did not receive the miracle he was seeking? How does this exchange illustrate the importance of persevering in prayer without trying to dictate the outcome of events? See Mark 7:24-30 and Luke 18:1-8.
5. Note that the first two signs Jesus performed occurred in Cana. The first occurred in the presence of joy and happiness, while the second occurred in the midst of pain and possible death. How does your faith in Jesus carry you through the good times and the bad? Take time to thank the Lord for the sufficiency of His grace in all circumstances. See also Philippians 4:10-13.
For Further Reading: Lehman Strauss, Sense and Nonsense About Prayer (Moody Publishers, 1981)