Do we take Jesus at his Word?

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“Jesus saith unto him, Go thy way; thy son liveth. And the man believed the word that Jesus had spoken unto him, and he went his way.” John 4:50 (Read v. 46-54)

Are we willing to take Jesus at His word or must we see to believe? When Jesus returned to Cana in Galilee, a certain official at Capernaum whose son was sick and at the point of death heard of Jesus’ return and went to Jesus for help. He begged Jesus to come down to Capernaum and heal his son.

Those who have had children sick and facing death can understand this royal official’s desperation. All seemed hopeless. Only a miracle could save this man’s son, and he had heard of Jesus’ power to work just such miracles. If only Jesus would make the trek down to Capernaum in time!

How did Jesus respond to the nobleman’s request? He said, “Except ye see signs and wonders, ye will not believe.” And it’s true. Think of Martha’s words to Jesus when Lazarus died: “Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died” (John 11:21). And we might think the same thing as we stand at the bedside of a dying loved one: “If only Jesus were here, he wouldn’t die.”

But wait, Jesus is here. He’s present everywhere. He’s with us always, even to the end of the world (cf. Matthew 28:20). Do we have to see His presence to believe He’s with us? Do we have to see Him lay His hands on the sick and dying to know that He has done so? Must we see signs and wonders with our own eyes before we believe? Is it not enough to read of His mighty works in the pages of Scripture, hear of His love and mercy toward us and know that He Himself died for all our sins, rose from the dead and ascended to the right hand of God the father?

And if we see no miracle, has none occurred? If a loved one dies in the Lord Jesus rather than being restored to health and life here in this world, is not this an even greater miracle? Think about it. Jesus died for the sins of the world and rose again. His Holy Spirit raised up our loved one’s soul, which was dead in sin and unbelief, to faith and life in Christ Jesus. For Christ’s sake, a soul destined to eternal damnation in hell received God’s pardon and forgiveness and was restored to fellowship with God and destined to the eternal joys of heaven. When that loved one died a temporal death, God’s angels came and carried his or her soul into the very presence of Christ our Savior. Is not this a greater miracle than any temporal healing we might see with our earthly eyes? We cannot see it now but, when we get home, we shall see!

When the nobleman said to Jesus, “Sir, come down ere my child die,” Jesus said to him, “Go thy way; thy son liveth.” Jesus wanted this man to trust Him and take Him at His word — He challenged this man’s faith. And, indeed, when we think about it, wasn’t it better that this man’s sick son be healed immediately rather than waiting another day while Jesus walked from Cana down to Capernaum?

Jesus wants us to take Him at His word as well. He promises us forgiveness for all our sins and life eternal with Him in heaven through faith in His name. We can’t see these blessings now, but they are ours just the same. Must we see signs and wonders to know His word to us is true? Must we speak in tongues or work miracles in Jesus’ name before we can believe we are really forgiven and have a place in God’s eternal kingdom?

Knowing our weaknesses, Jesus does give us visible means connected with His Word that we might take hold of and receive the promises. That we might know our sins are washed away and forgiven and that we are born anew as God’s children, He gave us the waters of baptism. Water is used by God’s command and connected with His Word of promise, and through it, He washes away all our sins for Jesus’ sake, regenerates us and makes us children of God by the gracious working of the Holy Spirit (cf. Titus 3:4-7). In and with the bread and wine in the Lord’s Supper, Christ Jesus gives us His body and blood which were given and shed for the remission of our sins — all that we might be assured of full and complete forgiveness as we partake of the sacrificial “Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29).

The Bible tells us that “faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17). When this nobleman heard the words of Jesus, he “believed the word that Jesus had spoken unto him, and he went his way. And as he was now going down, his servants met him, and told him, saying, Thy son liveth. Then enquired he of them the hour when he began to amend. And they said unto him, Yesterday at the seventh hour the fever left him. So the father knew that it was at the same hour, in the which Jesus said unto him, Thy son liveth: and himself believed, and his whole house.”

Now think of Jesus’ words to us: “Be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee” (Matthew 9:2); “Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world” (Matthew 28:20); or “In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also” (John 14:2, 3). Jesus spoke these words and they are recorded for us that we, too, might believe. Through these and many other passages of Scripture, He creates faith in our hearts and assures us of eternal salvation — of a place in His everlasting kingdom!

We may not be able to see all these blessings now — we can only take Jesus at His word and live our lives here in confidence — but when we get home, we’ll see that His words are true. When we were brought to trust in Christ Jesus, God did indeed forgive us all our sins for the sake of Jesus’ innocent sufferings and death in our stead! God was watching over us, caring for us and preserving us in the faith throughout our earthly lives! Heaven is real, and Messiah Jesus did prepare a place for you and me to dwell with Him there in the mansions of His Father’s house!

In fact, when we get home, we’ll be amazed and struck with awe at the blessings which are ours in Christ Jesus — blessings which we didn’t begin to fathom here in this world! The Bible tells us “That in the ages to come” our gracious God will show us “the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:7).

Yes, when we get home, not only will we see that Christ Jesus our Savior lives, we will see that we indeed live forever in Him!

O gracious God, grant us faith to take Jesus at His word until that day when we go home and see with our own eyes that all He has promised us is indeed true! Amen.

[Scripture quotations are from the King James Version of the Bible.]

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