Family Bible Study lesson: Taking Jesus at His word
January 26 2001 by William (Mac) McElrath , John 4:43-54

Family Bible Study lesson: Taking Jesus at His word | Friday, Jan. 26, 2001
  • Lord, thank You for saving me when I put my faith in You during a revival meeting - long ago, while I was still a child. (That's all well and good, but what have you done lately to show your faith in Christ?)
  • Lord, if You'll just do this, that or the other for me, then I promise I'll believe in You. (Our Sovereign Lord does not condescend to bargain with people about their faith.)
  • Lord, thank You that I began a journey of faith with You a long time ago; help me to grow in my faith today.
  • Lord, help me to share my faith with my family, my entire household, so that they, too, may come to believe in You.
  • Friday, Jan. 26, 2001

    Family Bible Study lesson: Taking Jesus at His word

    By William (Mac) McElrath John 4:43-54 You've probably read a true story that goes something like this: A missionary on the other side of the world faces great danger or difficulty, but the Lord brings her through it. Then she realizes that all of this has happened on her birthday, the very time when many people in America were praying for her by name. Such stories have been repeated countless times, and missionaries are not the only ones who have had such experiences. "The prayer of a good person has a powerful effect" (James 5:16b, TEV). Yet the power of prayer lies not in the person praying but in the person being prayed to.

    The power of Jesus is not limited, either by distance or by lack of tangible proof. A man who lived and worked in Galilee found that out a long time ago.

    Faith believes (John 4:43-48) Two days after talking with a woman beside a well in Samaria, Jesus left Samaria and traveled back to Galilee - in fact, to the same village in Galilee where He had worked His first miracle by turning water into wine. Many Galileans had seen that miraculous sign; they had also seen other unspecified miracles He had performed in Jerusalem (John 2:23).

    When a certain royal official heard that Jesus had arrived in Galilee, he hurried from the city of Capernaum where he lived and worked to the village of Cana, where he found Jesus. The reason for his speedy 15-mile journey was the illness of his son who lay near death, burning with fever.

    John 4:48 is a puzzling verse. Why did Jesus seem to speak words of reproach to a worried father who asked healing for a sick boy?

    Actually, Jesus was speaking not so much to the official as to "you people" in general - that is, to any people who "will never believe" unless they can "see miraculous signs and wonders" (v. 48, NIV). Do Jesus' words of reproach ever include people like you?

    Faith acts (John 4:49-52) The royal official took no notice of Jesus' seemingly harsh words. In his haste and pressing need, he cried out, "Sir, come down before my child dies" (v. 49, NIV).

    But Jesus did not "come down" from Cana to Capernaum in the Jordan Valley as that worried father had hoped. Instead, He told the official to go home, stating flatly that the sick boy would live.

    Would you have gone back home with nothing to show for your trip, nothing to go on except what Jesus had said? Would you have had enough faith to act as that father did, taking Jesus at His word?

    A hymn by Frederick W. Faber says :

    If our love were but more simple

    we should take Him at His word,

    and our lives would be all sunshine

    in the sweetness of our Lord.

    Certainly that royal official found "sunshine" and "sweetness" when he got back home to Capernaum: His son was not only alive but getting better. Servants told him that the boy's high fever had broken at the exact hour when Jesus had said, "Go home; your son will live."

    Faith grows (John 4:53-54) According to John 4:53, the royal official "believed" when he realized that Jesus' healing power had instantaneously crossed those 15 miles between Cana and Capernaum.

    Hadn't he already believed the day before, when (according to v. 50) he "took Jesus at His word"?

    Of course he had. But - unlike many Christians of today - that long-ago royal official avoided the mistake of thinking that faith is only an event. Yes, faith is an event, but that event marks the beginning of a journey. The official had enough faith to go back home, trusting only on Jesus' word. But when he saw with his own eyes that Jesus' word had come true, then his faith began to grow.

    Here's another striking fact from these closing verses of John 4: For the first time in the New Testament we read that an entire household put its faith in Christ.

    Do you have faith in Christ? If so, what kind of faith is it?

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    1/26/2001 12:00:00 AM by William (Mac) McElrath , John 4:43-54 | with 0 comments
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