top of page

Life Giver

Covenant Church sermon - Life Giver [Feb 3, 2019]

Did you make a New Year's Resolution? What do you think is the most common resolution? Probably to lose weight. Back on December 30, I said I don't make New Year's Resolutions. But I reconsidered, especially after eating so much during the holidays. So I resolved to lose 15 pounds. Well, here we are, a month into the new year, and I only have 25 pounds to go.

Let's switch gears. Let's move from the superficial…New Year's Resolutions…to the significant. What do you think God's goal for you for the new year is? God's greatest goal for you is to grow in your faith in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. That's God's greatest goal for you. We may resolve to lose weight or quit a bad habit or develop a good habit but God's desire is to see us grow in our walk with His Son, Jesus Christ.

Let's first look at John 4:43-45:

After the two days he departed for Galilee. (For Jesus himself had testified that a prophet has no honor in his own hometown.) So when he came to Galilee, the Galileans welcomed him, having seen all that he had done in Jerusalem at the feast. For they too had gone to the feast. Jesus was in Samaria. He goes northward to Galilee.

Here's what that journey looks like on a map…

These are the distances involved:

  • Samaria is 42 miles north of Jerusalem {about the same distance as Tecumseh to Plymouth, Michigan}.

  • Capernaum is 85 miles north of Jerusalem {about the same distance as Tecumseh to Battle Creek, Michigan}.

  • Capernaum is 16 miles north of Cana {about the same distance as Tecumseh to Dundee, Michigan}.

  • In going to Capernaum from Cana, one must travel east across the Galilean hills and then descend to the Sea of Galilee. That's why we say Jesus was asked to come down from Cana to Capernaum.

Jesus was going from Jerusalem to Judea to Samaria to the remotest part of Israel to Galilee.

These early travels of Jesus took him back up to Cana. As part of these early travels, this is probably the least familiar story. As verse 46 tells us, "So he came again to Cana in Galilee, where he had made the water wine. And at Capernaum there was an official whose son was ill."

Who was the official? The Greek word used here literally means "servant to the king." The king was Herod. He was an official of some kind in Herod's court. It makes sense. Capernaum was the center of royal houses and official's residences. So, living there, the official heard that Jesus was 16 miles away in Cana. He made the trip down to Cana to see Jesus. He did all this because his son was sick.

I think we all can relate to this man's heartache. Many have had kids, and all of us have been kids, so we know the vulnerability of a sick child. Verse 47 tells us the man's son was close to death. That's the most powerless any parent can feel. His child was dying and there was nothing he could do. He had power. He had money. He had connections. But he couldn't do anything about his sick child. So he came to Jesus Christ. With a dying child, this hurting dad came face-to-face with what he couldn't do.

So, what's the last, desperate thing the man did? He came to Jesus Christ. Verse 47 says, "When this man heard that Jesus had come from Judea to Galilee, he went to him and asked him to come down and heal his son, for he was at the point of death." Desperate times call for desperate measures. In desperation he came to Jesus.

Obviously, he had heard about Jesus. News about what Jesus had been doing was spreading. But there are two things the man misunderstood:

  1. He thought Jesus had to be there to heal his son. In verse 49 he says, "Sir, come down before my child dies." The assumption makes sense.

  2. He thought it could be too late for Jesus to heal his child. "Come down before my child dies."

The official didn't understand the power of Jesus. All he knew was he needed Jesus. He didn't understand the depth of Jesus' power over life and death. So he said, come and heal my son. The Greek word for asked in verse 47…erota…literally means to aggressively ask something. He asked Jesus over and over, come and heal my son. There was desperation in the pleading.

Here's the shocking thing that happened between verses 47 and 49. In verse 48, Jesus says:

Unless you see signs and wonders you will not believe.

What don't you hear there? You don't hear Jesus directly addressing this father's desperate plea. His son was dying, and Jesus looked at him, and the first thing he said was, "Unless you see signs and wonders you will not believe." What's going on here?

One thing that's going on is learned from the language used. "Unless you see signs" is written in the plural form of you. Unless you, meaning everybody listening. Jesus was talking to the man and the crowd. The crowd was there because they saw Jesus as a miracle worker. The crowd was expecting another miracle. They were there primarily because Jesus was a miracle worker. It was all show and dazzle. "Unless you see signs and wonders you will not believe."

Here's something we need to hold on to. Jesus knew he was going to heal the child. He knew. But in that moment, Jesus had a bigger concern. His greatest concern in this moment was the faith of the father and the crowd. Jesus turned the question. What about your faith? What about what you believe and why you believe it? Will you have a faith that will carry you from this crisis to the next and the one after that? Do you have a faith that will sustain you through every moment of your life? Because sometimes the healing we want or expect won't be there.

Here's what Jesus knew about both the father and the crowd. They had a seeing is believing philosophy. They were at the early stages of faith. They saw or heard about the signs and wonders. But they needed signs and wonders to keep them believing. Faith for them was more about the show than what you know. Without the show; unless Jesus kept producing for them, faith would start to die. I've seen that happen. It's basic human nature. Someone you love…someone you care about deeply…is deathly ill or is diagnosed with a debilitating disease…and they don't get better…and your faith fades. I've seen it happen.

God wants us to have a deeper faith.

I love the way God loves us. He didn't dismiss the signs and wonders people out of hand. He started where they were. God is gracious. He wanted to grow their faith. See the way Jesus loves the father and the crowd. Jesus led them to a deeper, bigger, more important truth.

Let's pick things up at verse 50:

Jesus said to him, “Go; your son will live.” The man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him and went on his way. As he was going down, his servants met him and told him that his son was recovering. So he asked them the hour when he began to get better, and they said to him, “Yesterday at the seventh hour the fever left him.” The father knew that was the hour when Jesus had said to him, “Your son will live.” And he himself believed, and all his household. This was now the second sign that Jesus did when he had come from Judea to Galilee.

What had already happened? The man's faith was already growing. In verse 49 the man thought Jesus needed to be there in order to heal his son. Verse 50 says the man believed that Jesus spoke the truth. He believed Jesus, without seeing his son. Blessed are those who believe, though they have not seen. That's how Jesus grew the faith of the father and the crowd.

Here's something you might want to write down:


The father went from a crisis faith {he hammered Jesus with the request to go to his son}, to a signs and wonders faith {you've got to go to him to heal him}, to a trusting faith {the man believed Jesus even before he returned home}.

However it happens, whenever it happens, wherever it happens, Jesus brings health, healing, and wholeness to our lives.

God wants us to know that. He wants us to live joyfully and confidently out of that truth. In fact, the greatest decision you're going to face every day is:

Am I going to trust the promise of Jesus Christ no matter what happens today?

That decision point is the most important decision point of your day. Are you going to trust the promise of Jesus Christ no matter what happens today?

Here's why you can trust Jesus Christ in all things. Verse 52 tells us that the moment Jesus told the father his son was getting better, at that moment the fever left him. It was an incredible sign to us of the power of God. Jesus didn't even have to be there. From miles away, the child was healed.

You are never at a place or a moment in your life when you are alone. Jesus is always with you. His power and his presence projects to where you need him when you need him. Which is everywhere, every day, in everything, in every way.

So, where's your faith today? A crisis faith? A signs and wonders faith? A trusting faith? Wherever you're at, Jesus will grow you to the next level.

In Hebrews 12, we're told that "Jesus Christ is the author and the finisher of our faith." That is what Jesus came to do. He came to write the story of your faith and finish the story of your faith. What we're talking about today is what chapters of faith does God want to write in your life in 2019?

God wants to grow a trusting faith in your life. What risks will you take? What bold new steps? What about when things are bad? God wants to give you a trusting faith. What about when you're hurting? God wants to give you a trusting faith.

Make no mistake. When you look at God writing the story of faith in your life, you don't know what's next. But what you do know is all you ultimately need to know. You know whatever the future holds for you, Jesus Christ will be there. Not just in this life, but into the life to come.

37 views0 comments


bottom of page