John 4:43-54 43 After the two days he left for Galilee. 44 (Now Jesus himself had pointed out that a prophet has no honor in his own country.) 45 When he arrived in Galilee, the Galileans welcomed him. They had seen all that he had done in Jerusalem at the Passover Feast, for they also had been there. 46 Once more he visited Cana in Galilee, where he had turned the water into wine. And there was a certain royal official whose son lay sick at Capernaum. 47 When this man heard that Jesus had arrived in Galilee from Judea, he went to him and begged him to come and heal his son, who was close to death. 48 “Unless you people see miraculous signs and wonders,” Jesus told him, “you will never believe.” 49 The royal official said, “Sir, come down before my child dies.” 50 Jesus replied, “You may go. Your son will live.” The man took Jesus at his word and departed.
The man took Jesus at his word and departed.
51 While he was still on the way, his servants met him with the news that his boy was living. 52 When he inquired as to the time when his son got better, they said to him, “The fever left him yesterday at the seventh hour.” 53 Then the father realized that this was the exact time at which Jesus had said to him, “Your son will live.” So he and all his household believed. 54 This was the second miraculous sign that Jesus performed, having come from Judea to Galilee.
This man began his interaction with Jesus with what I would call a “Crisis Faith.”
There is nothing more important to a parent than their children. My heart breaks for parents who have lost children through illness or some kind of tragic accident. If I could think of anything that would be crushing, debilitating or unbearable, it would be the loss of a child. There was a desperate need in this man’s life.
Lots of people get in touch with Jesus during a crisis. That’s not a bad thing. The royal official didn’t come to Jesus because he had a special interest in Jesus. He came because he had a desperate need. It is what it is at that point, but crises have a way of positioning us so that we can see God or experience God when we wouldn’t ordinarily be open to doing so.
Just because someone goes to God in a crisis and asks for God’s help doesn’t mean that person is exercising faith in Jesus. It may mean that, but it may not. Crisis Faith isn’t a dependence upon Jesus as much as it is a cry for someone to help in a situation where they can’t do anything to help themselves. It’s a start, but if a person never progresses past crisis faith, they will never truly come to know Jesus. Crisis Faith says, “Help me. Heal me.” It’s not faith to live by, but faith for the moment. God knows what is in a person’s heart when they cry out to Him.
A crisis is helpful in pointing us to Jesus as the One we need to turn to. Miracles are helpful in pointing us to the authority and power Jesus has, but it is His Word we need to receive, trust and respond to.
We see a shift in the royal official’s faith from Crisis Faith to Confident Faith in verses 49 and 50.
The royal official said, “Sir, come down before my child dies.” 50 Jesus replied, “You may go. Your son will live.” The man took Jesus at his word and departed.
He wanted Jesus to come with him, to go to his house, a 20 mile hike. Jesus didn’t comply with the request. He didn’t go to Capernaum with the man. Instead, Jesus answered the man’s plea with a command. This royal official who was used to giving orders was going to receive one. Jesus told him to go and his child would live, and he did. He let go of demanding the miracle on his terms. He let go of telling Jesus how things were going to go down. He gave up on the expectation that Jesus had to be physically present in order to impact his son’s situation. That’s part of taking God at His Word, isn’t it? Allowing God to do things His way and in His time?
This was a different kind of experience with Jesus. At that moment, the royal official had to entrust his son’s life to the power of Jesus’ words and not just the power of His works. That is faith. Believing without seeing. That is followship. Going at Jesus’ Word. This man would have to entrust his son’s life to the power of Jesus’ word.
Taking someone at their word can be tough to do. Abraham, the Father of the Jewish nation, is someone who was able to take God at His Word. He believed what God told Him when God said in Genesis 12 to leave his country and to go where God would show him. He believed God would make his descendants into a great nation. He believed he and Sarah would have a child in their old age though well were beyond accomplishing that feat in the natural realm. They believed God would give them land so that his descendants could prosper. Abraham believed what God said. Abraham couldn’t put his eyes on the situation because what was promised was still out in his future. He had to believe God’s Word for his future in the now. We need to believe God’s Word for our futures in the now.
There is no greater evidence for God than the evidence you will see when you take Him at His Word. When you take God at His Word, you are affirming His authority and when you do, you will experience the magnitude of what Jesus can do. What Jesus speaks comes to pass. Taking Him at His Word will increase your confidence to see Him move in your everyday life whether it is something you would think is small or something you would consider to be huge. You will come to lean so heavily on Him that when you read, “Your sins are forgiven,” you will believe it and walk free. When you read, “Lazarus, come forth,” you will know beyond a shadow of a doubt that Jesus is the Resurrection and the Life and that death has no final say over those who trust in Christ. When you hear the Word of God that says, “Nothing shall separate you from the love of God in Christ Jesus,” you will know that if you are trusting Christ in your heart that no matter what happens, God has got you.
Allow your crisis to lead you to Jesus, and then allow His Word to give you confidence in Christ alone. That is the only way to truly see and experience all God can do in you and for you.