Faith, Miracles, & Jesus

This past Sunday I taught at City Church from John 4:43-54 about a desperate father who comes to Jesus on behalf of his dying son with the sole purpose of bringing Jesus back to his house for a miraculous healing. What he received from Jesus instead tested the essence and validity of his fledgling faith.

This story is found between one of the most recognized encounters of Jesus - the Samaritan woman (we spent 3 weeks walking through it) & one of his most dramatic miracles (curing a man who was an invalid for 38 years).  For that reason, we have a tendency to view it as more of a filler moment in the life of Jesus but this week I was reminded of the depth of what took place in this narrative. Here were some of the things we dug into yesterday.

- Jesus responds to desperation with compassion.  He meets us right where we are - in our life context.

- Jesus asks us to trust Him with what is closest to our souls - what we value the most.  Can Jesus be trusted with my kids, my marriage, my finances, my job, my very life or the life of someone I love?

- This official was used to giving commands - of being in control.  Jesus asks him to relinquish control and trust Him with something that was beyond his control.

- The official planned to bring Jesus home with him.  Instead Jesus healed his son from a distance and instructed the father to walk home simply believing the word Jesus had spoken.  Can Jesus be trusted when I have His word but I do not sense His presence?  Can Jesus be trusted even when He does not provide me what I so desperately want or need?

- Sign-based faith (belief that rests on supernatural or miraculous events) is rarely authentic and lasting.  Miracles have a limited scope and usefulness.  Jesus is the only sure foundation upon which genuine faith endures.

- One of the root struggles in our fallen capacity and human frailty is receiving and accepting things that do NOT benefit or profit me as from God.  
*Think deeply on this truth. It stands in contrast to our #blessed Christian cliche subculture. 

- Human ability, without divine intervention, to seek after, identity with, and worship God is broken. It was true when Jesus walked the earth and it is true today.

- Can Jesus be trusted when I don't get my way? Is He faithful when He does not appear faithful? Is He loving when He does not feel loving? Is He reliable when He does not seem trustworthy?  Can Jesus be trusted in the good AND bad / joy AND sorrow / easy AND difficult / life AND death?

This message struck a chord with so many people in our church for so many different reasons.  It resonated deeply with me as well.  I am still processing what it means to trust Jesus with what I hold the closest to my heart. 

It is also a great reminder why we preach the Bible at City Church.  God works through the consistent preaching of His truth to generate belief and create life change.

"These [signs] are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name."  (John 20:31)  #TheBeliefProject

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