Read John 4:43-54
When I was in college there was a story going around about a, ghost that had been spotted in the movie, “Three Men and a Baby.” I don’t remember all the details of it, but basically in the background of a particular scene you could spot a blurry figure of what appeared to be a young boy beside a window. You can read the real scoop on the story here: http://www.snopes.com/movies/films/3menbaby.asp
What was interesting to me was what this rumor did to my college dorm. It literally sent people in to a frenzy. People were running out to the video store (yes back when those were still big business) to rent the movie. You could walk down the hall and see people gathered around TVs wanting to see for themselves. As soon as people caught sight of, “the ghost” you could hear shouts of fear/delight coming from door after door. Hearing about, “the ghost” wasn’t enough. People wanted to see it for themselves.
By this point in John’s telling of the story of Jesus, there has already been a number of signs and wonders. Jesus has done extraordinary things, and has gained many followers, but you can sense a tension in his words as he says, “Unless you people see signs and wonders you will never believe!” (V 48) People had certainly heard the stories of what Jesus had done, but like anything from fake ghost stories to Jesus’ signs and wonders people want to see it for themselves. So Jesus does something interesting here… Something that because of the end result of the story might be easy to miss. Yes, he heals the boy, but before that he gives this town official the opportunity to exercise faith. He gives him the chance to believe, even before he sees.
“Jesus told him, “Go home; your son will live.” The man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him, and set off for home.” (V. 50)
It doesn’t say that the man went home and found his son healed and then he believed. No. He took Jesus at his word and went away trusting that what he had said was true. He didn’t have to see it for himself first, he already believed.
So we ever get stuck in this mode of needing to see it for ourselves before we believe? I know I do. I have seen enough signs and wonders for 10 lifetimes, yet sometimes I still struggle to take Jesus at his word and believe. How about you? What will it take for people like you and me to walk in faith, trusting fully in God’s protection, provision, etc. Do I need one more sign? One more wonder? What additional evidence do I need? Or can I simply believe.
Jesus, give me faith to trust in you today. Help me to walk with confidence in who you are and who I am in you, believing that ou can do all things.