Friday, October 27, 2017

The Vision: A Father's Plea for a Dying Son

Image: Modern view of the traditional site of Cana of Galilee.
Note: The devotion below is taken from the conclusion to last week’s sermon on John 4:43-54.
The nobleman saith unto him, Sir, come down ere my child die (John 4:49).
Spiritual Applications:
1.    We see in his healing of the nobleman's son the power of Christ to do as he pleases.
He does not have to be physically present, but he can work his power in men’s lives from a distance. This is especially true now in this age, when he is at the Father’s right hand. We can come to him with boldness, knowing his power.
2.    Though Christ can do as he wishes, we should not presume to make his performance of miracles some kind of condition for our belief.
This was the rebuke given to his skeptics in v. 48 when Jesus said to his hearers, “Except ye see signs and wonders, ye will not believe.”
We are not to attempt to try to straightjacket the Lord with some kind of conditional faith. If you do this for me, then I will do that for you. He does not work that way.
3.    Like this nobleman, we should seek the Lord on behalf of the needs of our children and our loved ones.
We should not only intercede in prayer for their physical needs but, more importantly, for their spiritual needs.
What will it profit them if they gain the whole world but lose their souls?
4.    As with the nobleman, the Lord may use difficulties and adverse circumstances, like the grave illness of a child, to draw us to himself and to cry out to him.
Calvin notes that this man was humbled by the dread of losing his son, adding:
We find the same thing in ourselves, for we are astonishingly delicate, impatient, and fretful until subdued by adversities, we are constrained to lay aside our pride and disdain.
5.    We must trust that Christ will do what he has promised even when we do not see immediate evidence of it.
This is the essence of faith, “the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1).
We may not see immediate answers to our prayers or petitions for healings that take place in this life, but we must not abandon faith in Christ.
6.    We may recognize evidences of God’s word fulfilled when they are made apparent to us and praise him for them.
Such evidences are not the basis for our faith, but they do make it deeper.
7.    We are to pray that the Lord would work throughout our whole household.
Calvin says of the nobleman after he came to faith:
His whole family joins him, which was an evidence of miracle; nor can it be doubted that he did his utmost to bring others along with him to embrace the Christian religion.
We saw in the Samaritan woman a model of evangelism, of witness and invitation. Here is another kind of evangelism: that within households. What father will not so pity his children that he will not go to Christ daily for them and say, “Sir, come down ere my child die” (v. 49)?

Grace and peace, Pastor Jeff Riddle

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