"Are you excited?"
Well it's a Sunday morning, pastor, and I think half the people here are probably half-asleep. I doubt too many people are really excited.
When no one answered, he said we should be excited. How many people over time have had ready access to the Word of God and a place to congregate and worship without fear? Not many. So I guess when you put it that way, we should be overjoyed to be in church!
The sermon this morning is on the next passage in John, John 4:44-54. Jesus is going to his hometown of Galilee. Jesus said that a prophet has no honor in his hometown, although people were excited about seeing him because they want to see the miracles. They're connecting them to his place as the Son of God though.
"And at Capernaum there was an official whose son was I'll. When this man heard that Jesus had come from Judea to Galilee, he went to him and asked him to come down and heal his son, for he was at the point of death."
This is a powerful official in the region's capital, but he still can't save his son. Jesus said that unless the man sees signs and wonders he will not believe, but the "you" used is a collective you. "Y'all won't believe."
However, Jesus wouldn't do miracles to make people believe. He said he would do miracles because people believe.
Jesus said, "Go; your son will live." The man left and heard his son was healed, at the moment when Jesus said the boy would live.
A simple story, but the pastor made four observations as to what happened.
1. Miracles do not create our faith, they happen because of our faith. Some people try to barter that they'll believe if God only would do a miracle. We see that a lot on TV shows: "God heal my husband and I'll serve you." That would make for a problematic world where love has to be proven through gifts.
2. True faith in Jesus is coupled to obedience. Belief turns into obedience which turns to waiting which turns to seeing.
3. God tests our faith to grow our faith. Taking something away may just be the way he gives us something, more and deeper faith.
4. Familiarity with Christ may mean there's false faith in Christ. For those who grew up in the church, like me, it almost keeps us from seeing him for who he is. I agree that I sometimes do take him for granted. It's a book familiarity though, not a best-friend familiarity. I need that intimate familiarity instead of being satisfied with knowing theology and what the Bible says.