Title: PERSISTANCE BRINGS A MIRACLE
Text: John 4:43-54
It is a real struggle to know when you are pushing a request with God. When the answer isn’t coming, you persist with the prayer. At other times you wonder if you just missed the “no” signal. But for a parent who has a sick child, you are willing to push it and pound on the doors of the throne room. In our text, we have a similar situation, and the request even agitates Jesus, but the father of the sick child persists. It results in a miracle before he can even get home. Let’s look at the story a little closer for some insight. Read text.
1. From verse 44 we see that Jesus was aware that a prophet doesn’t receive honor in his own hometown, but He goes there anyway. Why do you think He did that? (Jesus sets us an example of doing even the difficult tasks and going to the difficult mission fields because He knows they, too, need the Gospel. His motivation was unconditional love for them. Even His two days spent at Sycar with the Samaritans was an exception to His general policy.)
2. Jesus’ ministry was already known in Galilee because of those who would have been present at the Passover when he cleaned out the merchants and also those who had heard of the miracle at the wedding feast in Cana (v. 45-46), so a royal official comes to Jesus with a request to heal his sick son. As a royal official, what might be the background of this man? (Possibly from the Court of Herod Antipas, tetrarch of Galilee.) Was it strange or a risk for such a man to seek Jesus out for such a request? What does this tell you about the extent of his concern for his son?
3. In the story, what gives you an indication that the man thought Jesus had to be present in order to heal his son? (V.47 & 49) Capernaum is about 18 miles from Cana. This man had come a ways by foot to make such a request of Jesus, and if Jesus complied, He would have the distance to travel. But as the man found out, Jesus’ healing power is not limited by distance. Though the Lord is not present, does He hear our similar cries for help? Ps. 50:15; 46:1-3
4. How is the faith different between this father and the man with a similar request in Mat. 8:5-10? What did Jesus say about the caliber of the second man’s faith? What does that tell you should be the nature of our requests for help?
5. What does verse 48 indicate about how Jesus felt of this man’s request?
Insight: Previously Jesus had had a request to produce a sign and perhaps this was still on His mind when he replied sternly to this man’s request. Jn 2:18 Such requests were typical of Jews who saw false prophets come and go like real estate sign wavers at the corner. 1 Cor. 1:22; Matt. 16:11; 27:42 Jesus looks for real faith, not those who have faith only after a sign is produced. Since this man was Herod’s official, perhaps this added to Jesus’ frustration of the request. Num. 14:11; Jn. 12:37; 20:29
6. The rebuff does not detour the father, for in verse 49 he persists in asking Jesus to come help heal his son before death takes him away. How fearful is death to the parent who does not know Jesus? Would you do what this man did if you heard there was someone who had the power to heal your sick child?
Insight: Without Jesus as your Savior, death is a thief that steals our children in sickness. But when He is the Shepherd of your soul, death cannot be an eternal thief, for the Lord of the Resurrection takes them to an eternal home where we can someday join them. 2 Sam. 12:23; Lk. 23:43; Mat. 19:14; Ps. 40:17; 88:10-13
7. To this desperate father, Jesus says little. He doesn’t pause and console, nor does he counsel him to get ready for the pain of death. He simply states, “Go your way, your son lives.” Would you have the faith to leave Jesus’ presence and go home without a remedy in your hands for your dying son?
Insight: If we believe, we will see the glory of God in action. The lack of faith will keep us from seeing His masterful work in our life. True faith is being able to walk away because you trust His word, not because you have a remedy in hand. Jn. 11:40; 1 Ki. 17:13-16; Rom. 4:19-22
8. John is careful to record the sequence of events that follow in verses 51-53. It’s unlikely that any of the disciples followed the man to see how things went with this man. So how do you think they heard of this chain of events? (The man must have returned to report the miracle.) Do you gain an insight here about the importance of documenting a miracle? (Our accurate details might increase the faith of others who might hear of miracle, and thus believe in the Lord.) According to verse 53, what was the result besides a healing?
9. Without obedience and trust there can be no real faith. How does the father show he has a real faith? Are such moments of total surrender to Jesus easy for people to commit? How can we help them?
Desperate times call for desperate measures. Desperate parents will go to great lengths to save a dying child. If you find yourself in desperate times, there is a Savior who knows your name…knows your request…and has sent help on the way before you get home. Real faith is when you can be on your knees before the Lord and then go home and wait for His sovereign timing for the miracle. Leaving empty handed, but a heart full of belief are the ingredients the Lord looks for in granting a miracle. Sometimes the desperate times need the mixture of confident faith mixed with patent waiting. Such was the case for Daniel. Dan. 10:1-14
At other desperate times, the miracle may be there, but we just need the eyesight to be able to see into the spiritual realm because our eyes our fixed only on our desperate situation. Such was the case of Elisha’s servant. 2 Ki. 6:15-17