Saturday, September 19, 2009

Are His Words Enough?

A “Go With God” moment:

As I’ve been working through the Gospel of John recently, I am struck by the simplicity of its theological beauty. Yes, I am sure that to some degree, Clement of Alexandria is right; John is the “Spiritual Gospel.” For example, have you noticed the first “sign” in John; turning of water into wine (not exactly the miracle of choice for Wesleyans).  John’s summary statement of that section reads this way, “This, the first of his miraculous signs, Jesus performed at Cana in Galilee. He thus revealed his glory, and his disciples put their faith in him.” (2:11) This sounds like true belief language, doesn’t it?

Now, I’m not saying that a sign-generated-belief is by any means inauthentic but by the close of the chapter, John gives his readers a stunning retort to this sign-generated-belief.

Now when He was in Jerusalem at the Passover, during the feast, many believed in His name, beholding His signs which He was doing. But Jesus, on His part, was not entrusting Himself to them, for He knew all men, and because He did not need anyone to bear witness concerning man for He Himself knew what was in man. (2:23-25; see also 12:37)

So, maybe sign-generated-faith is not the pinnacle of what Jesus is trying to (re)create within us. If not, what is He working towards? Here is the question I am asking today: “What is a faith that is pleasing to God?”

By the end of Chapter 4, we find the second sign that John actually numbers, this one again in occurs in Cana of Galilee. But this time it is a spoken sign, done at a distance, some 20 miles removed. The royal official’s son lies near death in Capernaum and his father pleads with Jesus to come down and heal his son. Jesus turns and says these words,

“Unless you people see miraculous signs and wonders, you will never believe.” (4:48) Again the father begged Jesus, “Sir, come down before my child dies.” Jesus replied, “You may go. Your son will live.”

Now, do not miss the theological punch that John places before his readers (that includes us)… “The man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him, and he started off.” (4:50 NAS).

First, notice that the man saw nothing. He only heard the word (Greek: logos) of Jesus and that was enough. Second, ask yourself a question, what would you have done immediately after Jesus spoke? Me, I would have run home as fast as possible to check if what Jesus said actually happened. But if you carefully note of the time element in the passage, you will see that it is not until THE NEXT DAY that the father actually encounters his servant on the road as he traveled home. It is then that they tell him when the fever left his son, at one in the afternoon. Interesting isn’t it. Jesus spoke the word of healing, and the father not only believed him but did not feel the compulsion to run home and see for himself. He lived his life as if the spoken word of Jesus was more than enough.

Maybe, as you read John again, try to do it with fresh eyes. Sorry. Maybe you should make that with fresh “ears.” Listen for all the times that Jesus speaks and His listeners want more than His words offer or even worse, they treat His words as if they are inadequate to meet their daily needs. Let me leave you with the question Jesus presents to Martha at the time of her greatest faith-test, the death of her brother Lazarus. Jesus says,

“I am the Resurrection and the Life. Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?” (11:25-26).

So, may I ask you the same question, “Do you believe the Words of Jesus and act upon them unquestionably?” So, today; what kind of belief are you asking Jesus to produce within you? Sign-generated-faith or Word-created-faith? Are His words enough for you?


Lord Jesus.

Today, right now. I ask that You speak.

I beg that we have ears to hear.

I plead that our listening will be transformed steps of faith.

Transform Your image in us into Living vessels of Your Glory.


Now, Go with God

No comments: