Thursday, February 6, 2014

John 4:43-54, Pretend believers and one real one, Conclusion

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 Festival, 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 signs and wonders,” Jesus told him, “you will never believe.”
49 The royal official said, “Sir, come down before my child dies.”
50 “Go,” Jesus replied, “your son will live.”
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, “Yesterday, at one in the afternoon, the fever left him.”
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 his whole household believed.
54 This was the second sign Jesus performed after coming from Judea to Galilee.

In concluding our study of this passage, we want to see what we can do to be more like the official (a true believer) and less like the Galileans (pretend believers).
We'll need to avoid some of the traps that messed up the Galileans, and we'll need to focus on Jesus' glory.
Let's dig in!
Even though we are not from Jesus' hometown, there are sins that made it hard for His own people to receive Him, that may be within us.
First, there is pride . . . the pride of knowing or being related to someone extraordinary. Being attached to someone special. That sense of importance that we get from that. You see, the people there could say that Jesus, this great miracle-worker, grew up in their town. So of course they want Him to do more signs and miracles, and they are excited about that possibility.  But wait a minute -- why do they really want those signs? Because the more that He does, the more the people in other towns hear about it, and the more proud they can be about their town. We can see some big egos here! These folks aren't tuned in to the humility and service that Jesus personified; they don't pay attention to the grace He offers. His power and fame are feeding their sinful pride.  Can we see this today when folks are attached to a church, a movement, a music style or performer? It's really subtle. We begin to want it to thrive and grow, not for Christ's glory, but because it feeds our own ego. Kinda hard to get into servanthood when our egos are out of control . . .

A second trap that messed up some of the townspeople was a sense of entitlement -- He is from our town, so we get the biggest miracles. The most. The special stuff. This is such a problem today. If we begin to feel entitled, or like we deserve the blessings of Christ because of US, we are falling into this trap! Kinda hard to honor Him for what He is, when we are focused on what we are . . .

Lastly, a trap that caused the Galileans difficulty was over-familiarity with Jesus. They were so full of, "He is one of us. We know His mom. We know His brothers. Why, I recall a time that He...." and so on, and so on. Then it was hard for them to believe He was what He claimed. Are we so familiar with the Bible, and with Jesus, and with our faith, that nothing we read in the Gospels seems incredible. It doesn't blow us away when He shows His power and His sovereignty.  Kinda hard to focus on Him when we are no longer amazed by His authority and power . . .

If we can avoid those traps, we can zero in and be blessed by a vision of Jesus' glory:
He was gracious; He gave the gift of healing and of life. He wasn't looking at anyone's merit or how much they deserved it. He just gave . . . oh, what grace!
We also can see the glory of His power -- He healed the boy with only a word. The child was miles away, in Capernaum. But you know, it wouldn't have mattered if the boy were somewhere in the next galaxy. When Jesus speaks, there are no limits on His power. Don't forget, it was immediate. The very moment that Jesus spoke, it happened.

Surely, seeing the grace and power of Christ should send us to our knees in thanksgiving. 

Please, Lord, if we are in or near those traps that would cause us not to honor You with true belief and faith, help us to leave them behind, and be real believers!

1 comment:

Belinda said...

Woo wee, the sin of pride....I'm sooo guilty of that one. No, I don't know anyone famous, but I still struggle with that five letter word.

I think Americans as a whole feel entitled. And especially the generation coming up now. It's really very sad.

There was a young man in my school who suddenly (as we saw it) turned into what you might call a "Jesus Freak". It was all he talked about with anyone. Those who went to school with him knew what he had been like before, and never took him seriously. He was really ridiculed but it didn't dampen his spirit. It's a shame that 1. He was treated like that. And 2. We didn't see how important that was, and want to be more like him.