Tag Archives: faith

John 4:43-54 (SN)

I know. I KNOW. I haven’t posted in like 2 weeks. I’M SORRY! There’s not really a decent excuse, besides that I’ve been busy going to class and doing homework and sleeping and generally being a college kid. I’ve had free time, kinda. And I know, I should’ve posted these right when I got them. I’m sorry. But here they are now, so at least you have them.

So this week we come to the story of the nobleman whose son was healed by Jesus. Pretty interesting stuff to look at here. This whole section revolves around faith, both the lack of it and the abundance of it.

In verses 43-45, we see a distinct lack of faith.

Vs 44 – For Jesus Himself testified that a prophet has no honor in His own country.

Kinda reminds me of a child taking advice from his parents. He won’t listen when his parents say something, but if someone else comes along and says the SAME THING, all of a sudden it’s a brand new revelation! Don’t get me wrong, I’m terribly guilty of this too. My mom’s reading this and laughing right now. She knows.

The thing is, when we lack faith, we dishonor and disrespect Jesus Christ. That sounds really heavy, but think about it. He said He is the son of God. He more than proved it. To lack faith in Him is tantamount to calling Him a liar. Eesh. So the question we must ask ourselves is, where is our faith? Do I put my faith in myself, or Christ?

Then we see Jesus entering Galilee, and everybody’s super happy to see Him and they welcome Him in gladly. But the thing is, they only received Him because they saw His first miracle. They did not receive Him as Lord, but rather a show. They believed with their eyes, but they had no faith. Seeing is the opposite of faith (See Heb. 11:1).

Moving on to verses 46-54, we see the blessings that come from having faith.

Ok so now we see this nobleman from Capernaum coming to Jesus. His son is pert near dead, and this guy is desperate. He was out of options, and finally decided to come to Jesus. Isn’t that almost always how it goes? We get into a tough spot and we try to do everything we can on our own to fix it, and when all else fails, we pray. Why is it that Jesus ends up on the “last resort” list? (Ouch, I know.)

But at last he came to Jesus and implored Him, begged Him desperately to heal his son. He didn’t give up. Check this out, this guy knew that Jesus was capable of healing his son, and he continued asking Him for help. This was a demonstration of the guy’s faith. Now check out verse 50, Jesus is like “It’s cool, your kid’s fine. Go on home now.” and the guy just leaves. He didn’t need Jesus to physically come back to the house to heal his son, he was able to take Jesus at His word. The thing is, it’s not about the signs and wonders, it’s about believing. This man obeyed by faith, and his faith was manifested in his actions.

James 2:14, 17 – What does it profit, my brethren, if someone has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? …Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.

At the end of the day, our faith isn’t about what we say, it’s about what we do.

Now after this incident, the man didn’t run back to see if his son was really ok. He trusted Jesus. So much so, in fact, that he stayed the night and didn’t go home until the next morning. He had received total peace from Jesus. But here’s the thing, it’s not important how much faith we have, but rather where we put our faith. Faith the size of a mustard seed can still move mountains (Matthew 17:20).

The object of our faith is manifested in our conduct. If you truly believe that Jesus is Lord, shouldn’t your life reflect it?

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Help my unbelief!

Oy. It’s been forever. Too long. Summer will do that to you. Not that that’s a good excuse, but it is what it is. Anyways, as part of summer, my family took a huge road trip out to the west coast. As part of road trips, you listen to the radio. It’s just what you do. Sometimes you hear some good stuff, sometimes you hear some complete baloney. Today we were listening to a sermon on the Christian station (scary, I know) and some guy was teaching on Mark ch. 9. This passage has always been impactful to me, but today it struck me in a new way.

The passage depicts a man whose son has a demon in him. He takes his son to the disciples, who fail to heal the boy. Now, most people would give up here. Jesus’ disciples had cast out demons before, and were known for their works. If they couldn’t something, the situation was pretty hopeless. This man doesn’t give up though. He wants so badly for his son to be healed, that he goes to Jesus Himself.

After a little exchange in which Jesus assesses the situation, the father asks, “If you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.” Now Jesus responds, “If you can? All things are possible for one who believes”. This is where I’m getting to. After being told that, the man answers, “Lord I believe! Help my unbelief!”.

This is one of my favorite passages in the Bible. It has been since the first time I read it. I’ve always been amazed by this man’s lack of pretense. He doesnt care about putting on a facade, he just wants God to work. Here’s what struck me today: this is the way that I should always pray. I never have the faith that is required to pass whatever trial God has placed in front of me. If I could do it on my own, where would God get the glory? He doesn’t!

What God wants is for me to get to that first “I believe”, where I am willing to let Him help me. This is the easy(ish) part. The second, more difficult part is the second half: admitting that I have unbelief that I cannot fix on my own. Apart from Christ, I am uncapable of even the tiniest smidge of Faith. With that in mind, it would be unreasonable and, quite frankly, idiotic to try to fool myself into thinking that I have everything necessary to pass whatever trial God sends my way.

And that’s about all I have there, soooo……abrupt ending.

Fact of life: hashing out a whole blog post in a car on an iPhone is very difficult.

Second fact of life: that was a very long buildup for that itty bitty point. But hey it made sense to me!

Third fact of life: this is the first post to ever have three facts of life!

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D-E-D

Once upon a time, there was a child abandoned on an island with nothing but a Bible. As he grew up, he read the Bible over and over from beginning to end, and accepted every word as complete truth. Eventually, the kid was rescued and brought back to America. Having read Paul’s epistles to the Church, the child was eager to connect with the body of Christ in the land of the free. So that Sunday, he walked into a church. What did he find? What would he find if he met the church in America?
What would happen if that kid ran into me on the street? Would he be able to immediately identify me as a fellow believer?
James 2:20- But do you want to know, oh foolish man, that faith without works is dead?
Ouch. He didn’t say that faith without works is pretty flimsy. He didn’t say that it’s kinda weak. No. Faith without works is DEAD. D-E-D dead. Dead things don’t do anything. Dead things are completely and totally useless. Dead things are a hindrance to living things. Therefore, if my faith is not accompanied by works, not only am I dead, but I am also a hindrance.
Matthew 7:19-Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.
Again, ouch. A tree that doesn’t produce doesn’t just sit there and look pretty. It is there to serve a purpose, and if it doesn’t, there is no point for it being there. The tree isn’t reprimanded. It isn’t encouraged to do better next time. If that thing doesn’t produce, it’s done. The end.
1 Thessalonians 4:10- For indeed you do practice it toward all the brethren who are in Macedonia, but we urge you, brethren, to excel still more.
So maybe I do have faith with works. Maybe I’m actually doing pretty well in that area. I cannot afford to be satisfied with just helping out on Sundays and doing my little weekly routine. I need to excel still more. To push farther, go out of my comfort zone. I need to grow. A few weeks ago, my dad (who is also my pastor) taught this section, and he said something that I’m pretty sure I’m never going to forget. As he talked about this concept of “excel still more,” he brought up growth. If something stops growing, it is no longer alive. You must constantly be growing to stay alive, and if you stop, you’re dead.
Growth is not comfortable. Nobody said it would be. If being a Christian means that we need to be growing constantly, then clearly Christianity isn’t supposed to be comfortable. If we’re comfortable, then we’re not growing. If we’re not growing, then we’re dead. I think we’ve already established that being dead is a problem.
So what would that kid find when he walked into my church? What would he find if he met me? Would he meet some flimsy little dead thing, or a growing Christian with every bit as much fire and zeal as he has?

Fact of Life: I’m completely lost without my Bible. I tried to finish this post (from the 1st Thessalonians verse on) with a different Bible because I think I left mine at school, and it was miserable. I love my little Bible!

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