So I’m sitting here in the church coffee shop going over John 4:43-54. At the moment I’m really just trying to bash out my own thoughts on the selection.
Jesus just spent two days in a town ministering to people who believed first because of the simple testimony of a singular woman. They then believed because of they themselves have gone and heard him. This is a great illustration of the power of our testimony. Your testimony can and will change things.
So now here’s Jesus in Galilee, the place that He had stated that a prophet is not honored in his own country. We see this story in Matthew 13, Mark 6, & Luke 4. It is here that something interesting happens. In verse 45 the people receive him quite well. Not because of the word of a testimony or because of what he’s said directly to them, rather because they had seen the miracles he had done in Jerusalem.
Skip down to verse 46-54 we find the story of a nobleman who came to seek healing for his son. Jesus’ reply….
“Unless you people see signs and wonders, you will by no means believe”
Being what I believe to be in distress the man again pleads with Jesus to come with him and heal his son. Jesus told the man to go home because his son was healed. Then something amazing happened. The bible says in verse 50.
“So the man BELIEVED the WORD that Jesus spoke to him, and he went his way.”
He was begging Christ to come with him in person but believed simply on the spoken word of God. The man ran home to find his son had indeed been healed. Then, in an attempt to get rid of thoughts of coincidence, asked when the boy recovered. The servant told him that the boy recovered at the very hour that Jesus had told him that his son was healed.
So what does this mean to us? What can we learn from this passage?
First off I want to point out the people who greeted Christ. They received him because of what they saw. In today’s culture we see spiritual superstars rise and fall. Todd Bentley for example, he rose up a very controversial superstar in the charismatic/Pentecostal circles. Were people touched and healed at his crusades? Sure I can accept that. But I believe the fall of his ministry was due to a misunderstanding of the purposes of those miracles. People began to follow the signs and wonders. They were going to his events to see miracles, to see signs, to see demonstrations… not to see Jesus.
Christ did miracles and signs not just for entertainment or just to be nice but to point back to himself and His Father. So was Bentley wrong for doing miracles? No, but towards the end of his ministry in Florida if you noticed things seemed to become more and more about him and less about Christ. More and more his events turned into what people could get for themselves.
I believe that’s why Christ scolded the man in verse 48. The people in the area were starting to follow him for miracles. For what they could get out of Him instead of what they could do to serve Him. Christ was looking for commitment to the Father.
Notice verse 53, when the man had definite proof of the healing performed by Christ, the man and his entire family believed. The signs and miracles are not meant to build man or ministries, they are meant to build the Kingdom. They are called signs because they are signs that direct to the King of Kings.