For those of you who follow along on Facebook, you know I spent time last week preparing to give a devotional talk at a women's gathering at the church I went to as a teenager. For those who do not follow along on Facebook, that is why I've been MIA. Any blogging time was spent reading, writing, and practicing that talk. (If you are on FB and don't follow along there, feel free to 'like' my page and you'll receive notice of new posts in your news feed!)
With that shameless plug out of the way, I'll move on to sharing with you what I shared with the ladies of Hebron Church in Penn Hills.
The short version:
The passage is John 4:45-53.
The story is that of an official coming to Jesus to seek His healing for his dying son.
The take home point is taking Jesus at His word and departing.
The longer version:
The longer version:
When [Jesus] arrived in Galilee, the Galileans welcomed him. They had seen all that he had done in Jerusalem at the Passover Feast, for they also had been there.
Once more He visited Cana in Galilee, where he had turned the water into wine. And there was a certain royal official whose son lay sick at Capernaum. When this man heard that Jesus had arrived in Galilee from Judea, he went to him and begged him to come and heal His son who was close to death.
Jesus is pretty popular. The people of Galilee know him, and even this non-Jew official is aware that if his son has any chance of living, Jesus is the man for the job!
“Unless you people see miraculous signs and wonders,” Jesus told him, “you will never believe.”
The royal official said, “Sir, come down before my child dies.”
Jesus replied, “GO! Your son will live.”
This man is so desperate, that he virtually ignores what Jesus says and begs again that Jesus will come and heal his son. And what do we see? The man asks and Jesus acts! He doesn't do as the man expects or wants, but he responds to his request by issuing a command, "GO!", and making a promise, "your son will live."
Then the Scriptures say this:
The man took Jesus at his word and departed.
HERE we see the man's faith. Earlier, he was just coming to Jesus to have his son healed. Now, he's trusting him - without seeing a miracle - obeying the command and believing the promise.
He took Jesus at his word and departed.
You know what? I don't do this particularly well, this business of taking Jesus at His word and departing. For example, I'll sit for a quiet time or a sermon or a chat with a friend, read or hear a truth I really need to hear, and then I depart from the experience and ... keep worrying, keep fearing, keep doubting, keep feeling guilty about a forgiven sin, whatever that day’s issue is! Do you know what I mean? Faith is really a battleground isn't it?!
But Jesus' powerful word is just as true today as it was when He walked as a man on the earth. And I have a feeling that part of why the official took Jesus at His word and departed was the WAY in which Jesus spoke to him. Mark often mentions how amazed the people were by the authority with which Jesus spoke. Jesus spoke truth to the man and he believed Him.
How about you? When you read the word of God, do you believe Jesus? When you read that He won't leave you or forsake you, you needn't worry because God is taking care of you, or you can take heart because He has overcome the world, do you take Him at His word? Do you depart from hearing from the Lord in confidence that he has and will meet you in your loneliness, need, or trouble? We need to know Jesus' words to take Him at them! Speaking of, let's finish up the story:
While he was still on the way, his servants met him with the news that his boy was living. When he inquired as to the time when his son got better, they said to him, “The fever left him yesterday at the seventh hour.”
Then the father realized that this was the exact time at which Jesus had said to him, “Your son will live.” So he and all his household believed.
The boy was healed at the exact time Jesus said he would be well! Amazing!! The man asked Jesus and Jesus proved himself faithful. He did not act as the man wanted him to, but He did respond to the request. The man sought Jesus for a healing, and got a whole new way of life! Jesus has a way of taking things to the next level, doesn't He?
Here's a summary to wrap it all up:
- When we come to Jesus and ask, we can and should expect him to act … He may not the way we expect, but He will act. (The official asked Jesus, Jesus responded.)
- When we hear the words of Jesus, read them, or the Spirit brings them to mind, we can take Him at them and depart with confidence IN HIM. (The official heard Jesus, and believed Him.)
- After we’ve departed, we should look for Jesus to strengthen our faith as we carry on. (The official learned that Jesus had healed his boy immediately with his Word!)
And the take-away tidbit?
This little sentence, “He took Jesus at His word and departed.” This is a reminder for you of how you can interact with the Lord. Take Jesus at His word. Jesus said in John 6:29, "The work of God is this: to believe in the one He has sent.”
That is the path of faith, the path of life, and the path of hope.
Take Jesus at His word, even today!
*If you appreciate what you're reading here and in other posts, would you consider sharing this with someone else or suggesting to your women's ministry that I speak for your group sometime? I'd be ever so grateful for the opportunity to encourage more women to take Jesus at His word; I know His word has changed my life and can change others. Thank you!