Jesus is the Healer
November 4th, 2018 sermon
By John Maiden, Associate Pastor
In the physical healing of the son of a royal official (John 4:43-54), the writer of John gives us another glimpse into a sign/miracle which reveals Jesus’ glory and brings others to believe in Him (John 2:11). Jesus uses moments of struggling, anxiety, and desperation to bring this official and his household into the Kingdom of God on earth and for eternity (John 4:53). Indeed, Jesus uses the physical and emotional hurts of this world to draw us closer to Him. Sometimes God does give us more than we can handle, and if we turn to God, He will give us the grace we need as He fulfills His greater purposes for ourselves and His world.
I. In your hurting, Jesus wants you to come to Him.
God has a way of bringing us in to the end of ourselves in our desperation, and in response we have the opportunity to turn to Him for our needs. Difficulty in life, whether large or small, can be a means of grace because it exposes our weaknesses, shows us our need for a Savior, and can cause us to reach to Jesus for help.
II. In your hurting, Jesus wants you to trust Him.
God truly cares for each one of us (I Peter 5:7), is fully able to heal sickness (as with the official’s son), and He answers according to what He knows what is best for us. We turn to Jesus with our requests during tough times, and He is the one who decides how to grow us personally and work out His purposes in the world. Jesus heals in His own way and timing…For the official’s son, the physical healing occurred when Jesus simply spoke the words when he and the father were not even present with the young man. The physical healing brought the spiritual healing of the official’s entire household when they later recognized the miracle and believed (John 4:53).
III. In your hurting, Jesus wants you to be healed.
Showing His power over sickness and death, Jesus physically healed the official’s son, which brought the whole household to salvation. The official never asked for spiritual healing, but Jesus used this difficult situation for the salvation of this official’s family, and perhaps many more in the community and throughout the ages, for those who heard this story. Jesus did not heal all people in Israel of their diseases. In His wisdom, Jesus knows that mankind’s greatest need is not physical, but spiritual. However, God uses ALL things for good (Rom.8:28), and even uses suffering to bring us closer to Him and work out His ultimate purposes for the world.
In our suffering, we grow closer in intimacy with God, we grow spiritually day by day, we are better equipped to help others in their pain, and we grow in our eternal perspective as our earthly suffering is only temporary because we will live with Jesus eternally in fullness of joy, satisfaction, and peace. May each of us turn to Jesus in our times of struggling with life; may we trust that God’s ways are best for our lives; and may we rest in knowing that Jesus cares about every moment of our physical/emotional lives, and by His Spirit helps to grow us spiritually to be more like Himself.
- Discuss which hurt drew you closer to Jesus, or how you have seen this in other Christians.
- Is your faith weakened or strengthened by the struggles you have, & how do you perceive God has or has not responded? Do you see yourself as a part of a larger picture of God’s work?
- Have you ever experienced affliction as GRACE to grow your faith? Explain.
- When you are desperate, whom do you you go to first? Whom do you trust??
- Who is Jesus to you? A healer, a miracle worker, a calmer of storms, a friend, a brother, a Savior, an historical figure, God? ……. Can you explain who He is in your own words?
- How can Jesus care if he does not immediately answer our emotional/physical needs?
- Jesus said, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33) What gives peace in our individual lives, in our world? When? How?
In some ways, I remember it like it was yesterday. Heart pounding, hands shaking, tears rolling down my face as my battle with anxiety was beginning to control my life. Struggles with anxiety had been something I had struggled with in the past, but this was on a completely different level. I remember one evening in particular driving down the road, tears streaming down my face, as I was crying desperately out to God asking him, “What are you doing?” “Why don’t you take this from me?” “Why are you doing this?” But maybe, in fact I Believe, that was the point. I was crying out to God.
Some of us, if not most of us or all of us, have experienced those moments of crying out to God and saying, “Why? God what are you doing?” All of us, at one time or another, experience difficulty in our lives. Whether it is bigger things like the death of a loved one, or seemingly smaller things like criticism, we all experience difficulty in this life.
So the question this morning is not will you experience tough times in your life, but how will you respond when they come? Will you come to Jesus with them? Will you trust Jesus in the mist of them? And will you allow Jesus to transform you?
Our lesson comes from a story found in the book of John. As a church, we are going through a series on the book of John called “More than Just a Nice Guy”. Today we find ourselves in John 4:43-54. If you have a bible, please turn with me as we read the passage. If you don’t, you can look along with us on the screen:
After the two days he left for Galilee. (Now Jesus himself had pointed out that a prophet has no honor in his own country.) When he arrived in Galilee, the Galileans welcomed him. They had seen all that he had done in Jerusalem at the Passover Festival, 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.
“Unless you people see signs and wonders,” Jesus told him, “you will never believe.” The royal official said, “Sir, come down before my child dies.” “Go,” Jesus replied, “your son will live.”
The man took Jesus at his word and departed. 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, “Yesterday, at one in the afternoon, the fever left him.”
Then the father realized that this was the exact time at which Jesus had said to him, “Your son will live.” So he and his whole household believed.
This was the second sign Jesus performed after coming from Judea to Galilee.
– John 4:43-54
We can have an overall picture of this passage. The main Idea is Jesus uses the hurts of this world to draw us closer to Him.
In Your Hurting, Jesus Wants You to Come to Him
After the two days he left for Galilee
– John 4:43
After in referring to staying in Samaria. If you were here last week, John preached on the Samaritan women at the well. After Jesus’ interaction with her, he stayed in Samaria for two days. After two days, he continued his journey to Galilee.
(Now Jesus himself had pointed out that a prophet has no honor in his own country.) When he arrived in Galilee, the Galileans welcomed him.
– John 4:44-45a
Verses 44 and 45 may seem to contradict each other on the surface, but they do not. It says that a prophet has no honor in his own country, but then it says his own country welcomed Jesus. Look again at the verse to see why they welcomed him:
“They had seen all that he had done in Jerusalem at the Passover Festival, for they also had been there.” Once more he visited Cana in Galilee, where he had turned the water into wine.
– John 4:45b-46
They welcomed Jesus, because they saw what he could do. They accepted Jesus, because they wanted to see more miracles that they saw him perform in Jerusalem. Jesus had performed his first miracle in Cana, which further tells us that these people had already been wowed by Jesus’ works and were fascinated by his powers. They wanted to see more!
Their interest in Jesus was just that. They wanted to see his powers. They wanted to see him heal people and do miracles. They were not at all interested in what Jesus could do for them spiritually but what Jesus could do for them physically. God uses that. After all, that’s why the man in our story went to Jesus after all. 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.
– John 4:47
This “royal official” was more than likely a servant of Herod Antipas, the son of Herod the Great, who was the tetrarch of Galilee. This royal official had an urgent need. His son was very sick and about to die unless something miraculous happened. He obviously heard about Jesus and the miracle and or signs he had performed and thought that Jesus could heal his son. So he took the 20ish mile journey to beg Jesus to come and heal his son.
The word here for beg carries with it the idea that he literally begged multiple times for Jesus to come and heal his son. He was desperate and thought Jesus might perform one of his miracles to help him. His need was what bought him to Jesus. The man did not come to Jesus to receive anything spiritual from him. He just wanted his dying son to live. But as we see in this story, God wants us to come to him with our physical needs. In fact, sometimes he makes us. There are some things in our lives that cause us to have nowhere to turn except to God.
God has a way of bringing us in our desperation to the end of ourselves.
Does God give us more than we can handle? Maybe you have heard the saying that God will not give you more than you can handle. While I can see the good intentions behind this statement and have maybe even said it myself, the reality is somethings God does give us things that apart from him, we can’t handle. I believe God gives us things in our lives that we need him for. He uses these things in our lives to bring us to Himself.
I have seen that many times in my own life. My struggle with anxiety and nervousness has on more than a few occasions brought me to the point of crying out to God. I remember crying to God saying, “What are you doing?!” Why are you allowing this to happen in my life!” I hate that sometimes desperation is what I need to be brought to God but it does. That right there was the point, brothers and sisters. I was crying out to God. In My weaknesses, my health needs, my difficult circumstances God wants me to cry out to Him.
That is why difficulty in life is a means of grace in our lives. A means of grace? Yes, because it sometimes forces us to go to God. It exposes our weaknesses and shows our need for a savior. When things are going well in our lives, it is possible to rely on Jesus daily. But when we are going through difficulty, we have to rely on God because he is the only true hope and strength that we have.
This morning I want you to know that no matter how big or small the things that you are going we can go to God. The one who spoke the universe into existence. The one who sustains the universe he tells us:, 1 Peter says:
Cast all your anxieties on him, because HE CARES for YOU!
– 1 Peter 5:7
He cares for you! He wants you to come to him and find comfort and rest for your souls in the mist of difficulty.
Suffering: Breakups, Loss of a loved one, miscarriage, loss of a job, depression, anxiety, marital conflicts, sick children, Finances, Criticism, Exhaustion, Fighting sin. He wants you to know that without him you may not feel like you can make it, but with Him, he will give you the grace that you need.
Not only does Jesus want you to come to him in your hurting but:
In your hurting, Jesus wants you to trust Him
“Unless you people see signs and wonders,” Jesus told him, “you will never believe.”
– John 4:48
Jesus then addresses this man, along with the crowd. As mentioned above, these people were not interested in what Jesus had to offer them spiritually, they just wanted to see signs and wonders. And in this case, the official just wanted his son to be healed.
The royal official said, “Sir, come down before my child dies.”
– John 4:49
Almost as if the royal official did not even hear what Jesus had just said, he again asks Jesus to come and heal his son. I can see the guy going ok, great Jesus, but can you still come heal my son. While this man was coming to Jesus with a physical need, Jesus used it to produce in the man spiritual growth.
“Go,” Jesus replied, “your son will live.”
– John 4:50
Jesus did not answer this guy’s request like the man wanted. The man wanted Jesus to physically come with him and heal his son. But Jesus was not going to do that. Jesus was going to heal his son, but not in the way the royal official wanted or even expected.
Sometimes God answers our prayers in ways that we don’t expect Him to or for that matter, in ways that we don’t want him to. At the moment Jesus gave the man his word, he had a choice to make. Would he believe Jesus’ word or not? He wanted Jesus to come with him to Capernaum. He believed that Jesus needed to come with him so that he could heal his son, but Jesus was not going to go with him.
It was almost as if Jesus was giving this man a test. A test of his belief? Would this royal official trust that what Jesus said was true or would he not? He had to trust the promise and word of Jesus.
One of my favorite stories in all of the Bible was the story of Joseph. Joseph was one of 12 brothers. He was his dad’s favorite which caused his brothers to hate him. One day his brothers decided they were going to sell Joseph into slavery and then they made their father believe he was killed by a wild animal. He then became a servant of a guy named Potiphar where Potiphar’s wife tried to get Joseph to sleep with her. When he refused he ran away leaving part of his clothing behind. She then framed Joseph and said he tried to sleep with her. He was then thrown in prison for 13 years for being falsely accused.
I am sure that he is sitting there in prison going, OK God, what are you doing? I am here is prison for something I did not do in fact I fled sin and got punished. Answer, God had a plan. He put Joseph in a situation where he was then able to interpret the dream of Pharaoh. Pharaoh heard that Joseph could interpret dreams from someone who had been in prison with him. By God’s grace Joseph was able to interpret a dream that no one else could and then was placed second in command in all of Egypt! He was then placed in second command of Egypt which lead to God’s people, Israel being saved from a famine.
God had a plan. When we face difficulty in this life, we are faced with the same choice are we not? Will we trust Jesus during this season of suffering? Do we trust that God uses the difficulty in our lives for our good? To grow us and mature us?
Do we trust that what God tells us in His word is true? Do we trust that God has a plan! We can trust him because his promises are true! Promises to remember:
“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good…”
– Romans 8:28
“I will never leave you nor forsake you”
– Hebrews 13:5, Matthew 28
“When you pass through the waters I will be with you, and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you.”
– Isiah 43:2
1 Peter 5:7: “Cast your anxieties on Him, for you CARES for YOU!”
– 1 Peter 5:7
The man chose to trust Jesus’ word and left.
Something took place in the royal official’s heart in this moment. He went from needing to see miracles to believe to believing the word and promise of Jesus without needing to see confirmation. He believed Jesus, he trusted Jesus.
Do you trust God with your life? Do you trust God in the difficulty of your life? Even when we don’t have all the answers. Even when it seems like God has messed up? We trust him. Do your own test and look at your life? Do you trust God? In the good? In the bad? God can be trusted! All his promises are true and no will of his can be thwarted! We can because he cares for us and desires what is best for us. Trust Him.
In Your Hurting, Jesus Wants You to be Healed
While he was still on the way, his servants met him
– John 4:51
I can imagine the thoughts of this father as he sees his servant coming towards him. Was his son dead? Is the servant coming to tell him before he makes it home to prepare him? Did what Jesus say really happened? Was he actually healed? With the news that his boy was living. But his son was alive!
When he inquired as to the time when his son got better, they said to him, “Yesterday, at one in the afternoon, the fever left him.”
Then the father realized that this was the exact time at which Jesus had said to him, “Your son will live.” So he and his whole household believed.
– John 4:52-53
At the exact moment that Jesus said that his son would live, the son got better. Once the father realized that at the exact hour that Jesus had said his son was healed, he was. He then believed. He believed that Jesus was the Christ, the one who brings salvation. His whole household also joined him in that belief in Jesus
Jesus used what was an extremely difficult circumstance to bring about spiritual healing in the life of the royal official’s whole family. This passage tells of the great power of the Lord Jesus Christ. By his words, he can bring someone from the brink of death to healing. Jesus has power over sickness and death!
Jesus could have taken away that sickness away from that son at any moment. Jesus could have not allowed that son to get sick at all. But he did. Why? Jesus had a plan, a plan that in the moment that man could not see, how in the world could be good, but now he sees how God used it to change his life forever.
In scripture, we see the use of healing in two different ways: physical healing as well as spiritual healing. He heals the boy, but more importantly, he gives believing faith to the royal official and his family. So this does raise the question: Does God always heal?
I can remember in seminary my church history professor encouraged us by saying that one of the reasons he loved looking at church history was the example we are given of people in faith. He said that he hoped we would run across some “heroes of the faith” that would encourage us and we could learn from. Charles Haddon Spurgeon is one for me. Spurgeon is known as one of the greatest preachers to ever live. In fact, he has the title of the “Prince of Preachers”.
His life is such an example to me in many ways as he was a man who loved Jesus deeply and depended on him greatly. One of the best examples of this is how he depended on him with his physical struggles. He struggled with many bodily ailments, as well as mental, with things such as depression.
How he dealt with his needs was the most encouraging. Spurgeon saw them as grace in his life. He believed that the suffering that this world brought him was ironically exactly what he needed to grow in his faith in God. He said it like this, “I dare say the greatest earthly blessing that God can give to any of us is health, with the exception of sickness…If some men, that I know of could only be favored with a month of rheumatism, it would, by God’s grace mellow them marvelously.”
“I am afraid that all the grace that I have got of my comfortable and easy times…might almost lie on a penny. But the good that I have received from my sorrows, and pains, and griefs, is altogether incalculable…Affliction is the best bit of furniture in my house.”
God uses all things for good, especially suffering.
God deeply cares about the physical needs of his people, but more importantly, God cares deeply about the spiritual needs of his people. He uses the physical needs to bring about the spiritual. Our greatest need is not physical, but spiritual.
Unbeliever: I pray this morning that if you don’t know Jesus that you will turn to him in need. Yes, you have earthly needs but more importantly you have a spiritual need. You are a sinner that has eternal damnation starring you in the face. Jesus loves you so much that he came and died for you on a cross and bore your sin and the sins of the world on the cross. He died for you so that you might have eternal life in him. If you don’t know Jesus, I pray that you see your sin and your need for a savior and today is the day of salvation for you.
Believer: I pray that in our suffering draw near to God and come to a deeper understanding of your dependence on Him. Almost every time I write a sermon I come to this point where I don’t ever want to preach again. The task is just too great for me. But it is in those moments that I am thankful, because it is in those moments that I depend on God and lean on his strength and wisdom. We are very quick to try and look to ourselves in this life. But God wants to us to depend on him for in Him can we truly have life. In him can we truly find peace, peace that surpasses all understanding. In him can we truly find joy, “In his presence is fullness of joy!”
Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
– 2 Corithians:7-10
Paul said that he was thankful for the thorn in the flesh, because it was a constant reminder that he needed God. It causes you to depend in the only one we need. We Need God! On our own, we don’t have hope in the burdens of this world. We need God to save us, give us strength. As we come to God in our hurts, as we trust him in our pain, as we allow him to grow us spiritually in our suffering, two amazing things happen:
- We grow closer in intimacy with God. We know even more deeply the love, grace, and trustworthiness of God. We gain more of his peace, more of his joy.
- We are better equipped to help others in their pain. How often have you seen the Lord use the hurts that you have been through to encourage others?
In your times of difficulty, go to Jesus, trust him and allow him to transform you spiritually.