Jesus said to him, “Go; your son will live.” The man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him and went on his way. (John 4:50)
The simplicity of Jesus’ words that follow is almost mind-boggling. Here is a man who has traveled all this way, risked his reputation, cried out for mercy, been confronted with this question of the miraculous signs, and replied with a word of desperately persevering faith—and the response of Jesus is simply to send him off with the promise that his plea has been granted.
You can imagine the official standing there, just dumbstruck for a moment, saying, “Is that it? Shouldn’t I have a certificate or something? Shouldn’t I take a little snip off your garment, Lord Jesus, and take it down and stick it on his forehead?” But Jesus simply says, “You may go. Your son is well.” He gives this man the opportunity of putting his faith into action. He gives him the chance to move from walking by sight (by looking at a miraculous wonder) into the realm of walking by faith (by listening to and believing a miraculous word).
We, too, are often preoccupied with signs and wonders. Some of us have almost a strange dependence on tangible, visible evidences—but they can quickly prove to be the trappings of empty faith. With true faith, we hear the promise of Christ to us, believe it, and, like the official, may set out again in obedience to the Lord’s word, knowing with certainty its truth.
While we have not all received a promise of physical healing as this royal official did, Jesus has offered us salvation from sin and death. In spite of the desperate condition to which sin has brought us, we may walk in His promise of life: “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life” (John 5:24).
This article was adapted from the sermon “An Illustration of Faith” by Alistair Begg.
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