“Jesus replied, ‘You may go. Your
son will live.’ The man took Jesus at His word and
departed.” – John 4:50
Perhaps you’ve heard of the avid hiker who clung to a tree branch after slipping and falling off a mountain ridge. It was just a matter of time before he lost his grip and plummeted to his death. So, he cried out to the great Rescuer in the Sky: “Is anyone up there?”
To his surprise, a reply quickly came: “I am here. Do you believe in Me?” “Yes, I believe in You, Lord,” he replied. “But I can’t hang on much longer. Please help me!” To which God responded, “I will help you. If you believe in Me, there’s nothing to worry about. Let go of the branch. Just … let go of the branch.” After a brief pause the man shouted, “Is anyone ELSE up there?”
That man wasn’t very good at trusting God. But in John 4:46-53, we’re introduced to a man whose family was forever changed, because he took Jesus at His Word.
In John 4:46, a certain royal official came to Jesus in the town of Cana and begged Jesus to heal his son, who was on his deathbed in nearby Capernaum. Evidently, the doctors could no longer help him, and the medications weren’t helping either. So, he came to Jesus in desperation, begging Jesus to travel back to Capernaum with him before it was too late.
The royal official’s faith in Jesus’ miracle-working ability was impressive but flawed in at least two ways. For starters, he believed that Jesus had to be physically present in Capernaum to heal his son. And secondly, he believed that if his son died, it would be too late for Jesus to heal him. Little did he know that Jesus’ healing power isn’t restricted by time or space.
But the royal official’s bigger faith problem is revealed as Jesus responds to his request in verse 48: “Unless you people see miraculous signs and wonders, you will never believe.” At first, Jesus’ reply to the grieving father seems rather cold and uncompassionate. But the truth is: It was a call to saving faith.
You see, there’s a big difference between believing in Jesus as a miracle worker and believing in Jesus as your Savior and Lord. There will be plenty of people who will spend eternity separated from God who, during their lifetimes on earth, believed that Jesus performed miracles. But sadly, they didn’t believe in Him as Savior and Lord. They had MIRACLE-WORKING faith, but they didn’t have SAVING faith. And without saving faith, we remain hopelessly separated from God and self-condemned. So, Jesus’ response to the royal official is a call to the most important kind of faith—saving faith.
In verse 50, Jesus sends him on his way with these simple yet powerful words: “You may go. Your son will live.” And that’s ALL the assurance the worried father needed to hear. “The man took Jesus at His word and departed.” And within the next few verses we discover not only that the official’s son was healed at the exact moment Jesus had spoken the words “Your son will live”—but also that the man and his entire household believed in Jesus as Savior and Lord. The GOOD news is that the young boy’s life was extended here on earth. But the much BETTER news is that the entire family’s souls were saved for all eternity in heaven.
Scottish theologian William Barclay identifies several excellent character traits that the royal official demonstrates in this passage, character traits that you and I would be wise to emulate.
Character Trait #1: He swallowed his pride and came to Jesus humbly. It’s one thing to believe that Jesus can help you out of your mess. It’s another thing to swallow your pride, humble yourself before the Lord and actually ask Him to help—even when people around you think you’re crazy for trusting in Christ.
Character Trait #2: He refused to be dissuaded from bringing His great need to Christ. Do you hesitate to pray, read your Bible or talk about Jesus Christ in public? If so, you need to follow in the royal official’s footsteps and come to Jesus without concern for your precious ego or reputation. No one should be able to talk you out of trusting in Christ every day and making church a priority for you and your family every week. Never be dissuaded from crying out to Jesus—no matter where you are or who you’re with. Like the royal official, refuse to allow anything or anyone to discourage you from taking your needs to Him.
Character Trait #3: He had great faith in Jesus. He took Him at His Word. When Jesus makes a promise, it’s not a matter of it “may” be true. We are convinced that it “must” be true. Jesus said it. I believe it, and that settles it. In fact, if Jesus said it, it’s settled whether or not I believe it. So, I’d be a fool not to believe the 100% reliable and trustworthy Word of the Lord.
After a raging fire swept through his house one night, a young boy crawled out his bedroom window onto the roof. His father called to him from below, “Son, jump! I will catch you!” But the boy was petrified. He couldn’t see his dad. All he could see were flames and smoke. So, he called back, “Daddy! I’m scared! I can’t see you!” To which his father replied, “That’s okay, Son! I can see you, and that’s all that matters.” So, the boy took his father at his word and jumped safely into his arms. Jesus calls you and me to do the same—to take Him at His word and jump by faith.
Dane Davis is the pastor of Impact Christian Church. Join us for worship on Sunday at 8:30am or 10am at 16209 Kamana Road in Apple Valley, or livestreaming on Facebook or YouTube. For more information, visit www.GreaterImpact.cc.