Tuesday

“Unless you see signs and wonders you will not believe.” (v. 48)

John 4:43-54 Tuesday 4 July 2017

Psalm: Psalm 30

 

Background

There are some puzzling aspects to this passage. Jesus appearsin verse 48 to dismiss the official's appeal, then, after theofficial has pressed his case, he responds, but not, as thedesperate father had asked, by going with him. Is he testing theman? Today we might perhaps interpret Jesus' words in verse 50 asan example of clairvoyance, but we are clearly expected tounderstand that Jesus actually effected the cure at a distance.

One theme which runs through John's Gospel and is illustrated inthis passage is contrasting attitudes to the miraculous. The crowdsflock to Jesus wanting to be amazed at the things he has done. Theyare in the conventional sense 'signs and wonders'. But for thewriter of the Gospel they are 'signs', pointing beyond themselvesto the mystery of Jesus himself, who comes as the Word of God,revealing the Father (see John1:1, 14). They call for faith, not in the simplesense that 'Jesus can do anything', but in the sense that we cansee through what happens to who Jesus is and what he trulybrings.

So the official is tested. If he is just looking for wonders, hewill receive nothing. If he wants actually to see his son beinghealed he will be disappointed. But he trusts Jesus' promise (verse50), and goes home to find his trust vindicated. That leads to adeeper conviction (verse 53), a deeper appreciation of who Jesusis.

We are told that this is a sign (verse 54). True to thecharacter of a sign we are left to see for ourselves what it is asign of - surely that Jesus gives life, not in the superficialsense of continuing to live from day to day, but in the profoundsense of eternal life with God.


To Ponder

  • To what extent do we still sometimes think of God as a heavenlymagician who will work miracles to get us out of difficulties?
  • Think about Jesus as life-giver.
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