We live at the base of the Rocky Mountains. Near our home, daring, courageous or maybe insane people strap themselves into the harnesses of large kites and run as fast as they can off steep cliffs, hurling themselves into nothingness. At first, they drop a bit but then the wind current lifts them high above the rocks and hills as they soar hundreds of feet above us. Like eagles, hang gliders catch the updrafts and can drift lazily along for hours. Whether you admire them or think they are crazy, you must admit that no one can be a successful halfway hang glider. Such a sport requires total commitment. For them the thrill of the flight is worth the risk.
Spiritually, many people would like to enjoy the benefits of walking with Christ, but are afraid to commit their lives to Him. Today God wants you to commit yourself totally to Him.
In our passage today, Jesus addressed the superficial followers (4:43-49). He testified, “A prophet has no honor in his own country.” Think about it, Jesus was widely accepted by the Samaritans but generally rejected by the Jews. But some in Galilee would believe and so He came. When it says the Galileans received Him, that does not mean they believed in Him as the Messiah. They saw the miracles He did in Jerusalem at the feast (45) and remembered the water turned to wine at Cana (46). As curiosity seekers, they were shallowly hoping for more miracles.
Then we meet a nobleman, most likely one of Herod Antipas’ officers. Perhaps he had heard of Jesus’ miracle at Cana or just the reports from Jerusalem. He begged Jesus to come to Capernaum, not seeking a personal favor, but desperate for the life of his own son. He made two erroneous assumptions: that Jesus had to be physically present to heal his son and that Jesus might be able to heal his son but if his boy died then there was no hope. Jesus rebuked his weak faith, but His words were directed more to the Galileans in general, “You people” (48). Those weak in faith pursue the spectacular and seek the sensational. What a contrast to the Samaritan woman who believed without any miraculous signs. “Faith is the substance of things hoped for the evidence of things not seen” (Heb 11:1).
Next, Jesus assured the believing father (4:50-54). Jesus said to him, “Your son lives,” and at that very instant the boy was healed. Even though the father had no confirmation or sign he believed the words Jesus spoke to him. Distance is not an obstacle for Jesus, He is in heaven now, but He can save your soul or hear and answer your prayers. The nobleman immediately set out for home and at the same time his servants set out to bring him the good news of his son’s immediate and complete healing! The father’s faith in Christ’s word was strong enough that he spent the night somewhere and met his servants the next day. When he inquired of the time when his son was healed, he discovered it was the very hour Jesus had spoken with him (53). This crisis faith became a confirmed faith, then a contagious faith. The nobleman related his story of meeting Christ in such a way that his whole household believed and were saved. He first believed on Jesus’ promise then he believed on Jesus’ person.
In conclusion, I have three thoughts that we can apply to our lives. First, the world says, “Seeing is believing” but Christians believe in God’s promises and then “see” in time. Secondly, after the first step of faith in salvation, every following step gets easier. And finally, Jesus is never too far away to see our needs and answer our prayers.