"Just Say the Word!"

Miracles of Jesus  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Exposition of Jesus' second sign, the healing of the royal official's son.

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Words often get us into trouble.

When the Cornerstone Bank in Waco, Nebraska, was robbed of some $6,000 in November of 2012, the bank employees were able to give the police a fairly good description of the teenage girl who pulled off the crime and the car in which she escaped.
As it turned out, the investigators didn’t really need those descriptions, because the thief recorded a YouTube video titled “Chick bank robber” boasting of her criminal prowess.
Fanning out the cash in front of the camera, 19-year-old Hannah Sabata held up a sign that read, “I just stole a car and robbed a bank. Now I’m rich, I can pay off my college financial aid, and tomorrow I’m going for a shopping spree.”
Later she held up another sign which said, “I told my mom today was the best day of my life... she just thinks I met a new boy.” Hannah’s brief criminal career ended later that week when police took her into custody.
The number of people who have gotten into trouble because of something they said goes far beyond boasting criminals. Lies, gossip, criticism, and slander can damage not just those about whom they are spoken but the speaker as well. The words that come from our mouths reveal the condition of our hearts and minds.
Jesus, on the other hand, blessed so many with His words. At His speech, healing took place. At His word, the dead were raised. At His oration, rescue was made.
Today, we look at the second sign in the Gospel of John, the healing of the nobleman’s son. Remember that these miracles were indicators of something greater. That Jesus was the Messiah and that God was manifesting His glory through Christ. David Ellis states: “The signs that Jesus performs are only intended as sign-posts to the compassion of God.” (David Ellis, “The Gospel According to John,” New Testament Commentary, 264).
As you are hearing these messages about Jesus and the miracles He performed, let it be a new introduction to the Lord- Who He is and what He is able to do in your life; His ability to change lives not just outwardly, but spiritually and for eternity.
Let us first discover that...

Jesus’ words have the power to give life.

John 4:46–47 (ESV)
So he came again to Cana in Galilee, where he had made the water wine. And at Capernaum there was an official whose son was ill. 47 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.
The first sign, which we studied last week, was at a wedding in Cana, where he turned the water into wine. This sign is more personal. It is the healing of a child. A nobleman, someone who worked for Herod Antipas, asked Jesus to come to his home, where his child was on his deathbed. Jesus, full of compassion, is quite willing to minister in this situation. As it turns out, the young boy is the son of a royal officer of Herod Antipas. He is referred to as a “nobleman” in the New King James version.
Jesus makes a statement on human nature in John 4:48 “So Jesus said to him, ‘Unless you see signs and wonders you will not believe.’” The “you” is plural, so Jesus is referring to the public, not the man specifically. F.F. Bruce notes:
“Jesus’ recent experience in Jerusalem was fresh in his mind. Many had accorded him a superficial belief there when they saw his signs without appreciating their deeper meaning.” (F.F. Bruce, The Gospel and Epistles of John, 118).
But these were desperate times and this little boy needed to be saved from certain death.
At other times, signs were requested as proof. For instance, John 2:18 “So the Jews said to him, “What sign do you show us for doing these things?”” And John 6:30: “So they said to him, “Then what sign do you do, that we may see and believe you? What work do you perform?”
You see, all of these occasions were tests. The inquirers wanted nothing more than a circus act upon demand. So it is in that backdrop that Christ makes His comment.
People do this today. They will not believe God without a sign. It is a “What have you done for me lately?” type of mentality, that is ignorant of Jesus’ mighty deeds and how He has proven Himself to be God in the flesh by overcoming Satan and death.
The seventh hour is about 1 p.m.. It is not the person who puts Jesus to the test, that is the believer, but rather the person that takes Him for who He is. John 20:29 “Jesus said to him, ‘Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.’”
Many thought that Jesus’ ability to heal was tied to His physical presence. But Jesus is more powerful than that. He merely had to say the word, and it was done. This sign is similar to the healing of the centurion’s slave in Matthew 8:5 and Luke 7:1. The difference is that the centurion asked Jesus to say the word. The nobleman asked Jesus to come down to his home to heal his son. But Jesus essentially does the same thing on both occasions. He heals at a distance, by the spoken word. Jesus speaks and there is life, even when one is on the brink of death.
Interesting is the repetition of the statement: “Your son lives.” This emphasizes Jesus’ authority over this sickness and His ability to restore the boy to his family. But we should not be surprised at Jesus’ ability to heal from afar. What must not be lost in this narrative is the similarity between Jesus and God the Father at creation. Notice that it was just by the word of His power that He created the living things in Genesis 1:18-25
Genesis 1:20–25 (ESV)
20 And God said, “Let the waters swarm with swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the expanse of the heavens.” 21 So God created the great sea creatures and every living creature that moves, with which the waters swarm, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. 22 And God blessed them, saying, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.” 23 And there was evening and there was morning, the fifth day.
24 And God said, “Let the earth bring forth living creatures according to their kinds—livestock and creeping things and beasts of the earth according to their kinds.” And it was so. 25 And God made the beasts of the earth according to their kinds and the livestock according to their kinds, and everything that creeps on the ground according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.
And that only God can make things occur at His verbal bidding. Hebrews 11:3 “By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible.”
Jesus Himself draws this parallel between him and God the Father. On this occasion, He is hated because He was healing on the sabbath and calling God His father. In John 5:21, Jesus states:
“For as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so also the Son gives life to whom he will. 22 For the Father judges no one, but has given all judgment to the Son, 23 that all may honor the Son, just as they honor the Father. Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him.”
Notice that God creates By His word; Jesus restores life at His word. Jesus is proving that He is coequal with the Father. Again, the miracle points to something deeper than itself! So here is yet another instance that Jesus’ actions point to something greater than just the miracle itself. They point to the fact that He is God in the flesh, come to bring salvation to believing sinners.
What about you? Are you putting God to the test only to be disappointed and walk away from Him? Or is Jesus conquering death through His resurrection enough? We are eager to ask God for something not yet; rather than praising Him for who He is and what He has already done. As David Robertson states:
“Who else is going to die for you? Most of the religious leaders in the world expect people to die for them, but Jesus died for His people.” (David Robertson, Ask, 72).

What would you ask of Him?

The answer may determine the extent of your faith. What are your needs? Are you aware that they go far beyond just the need for your son or daughter to be healed. Can you peer into your soul and recognize your need to be forgiven and your life changed by the power of the Holy Spirit? Your greatest need is to be formed into the image of Christ. Romans 12:2 “2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” It is the work of God that you would trust Him- you and your whole household. DO you have family members that are not walking with the Lord? Have you brought their names before Him and interceded for their souls?
Interesting that the result of this healing was that the entire family trusted Christ after this. John 4:51-54 tells us:
John 4:51–54 ESV
51 As he was going down, his servants met him and told him that his son was recovering. 52 So he asked them the hour when he began to get better, and they said to him, “Yesterday at the seventh hour the fever left him.” 53 The father knew that was the hour when Jesus had said to him, “Your son will live.” And he himself believed, and all his household. 54 This was now the second sign that Jesus did when he had come from Judea to Galilee.

Fear not anything but an eternity without Christ.

One of the most gifted speakers in church history was John Chrysostom—the name comes from a Greek word meaning “golden tongued.” John was sent from Antioch to what was then Constantinople where he preached fearlessly in the capital of the Eastern Roman Empire. His denunciation of the lavish extravagance of the rich and ruling class and his condemnation of excess infuriated many, including Empress Eudoxia who arranged for him to be exiled.
When he was told of his fate, Chrysostom responded: “What can I fear? Will it be death? But you know that Christ is my life, and that I shall gain by death. Will it be exile? But the earth and all its fullness is the Lord’s. Will it be the loss of wealth? But we brought nothing into the world, and can carry nothing out. Thus all the terrors of the world are contemptible in my eyes, and I smile at all its good things. Poverty I do not fear. Riches I do not sigh for. Death I do not shrink from.”
Far too many today are more worried about what people think than about what God thinks. The desire not to offend others (which is not a bad thing in itself) is often elevated to be the most important thing. As a result, many shrink from speaking the truth.
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