Saturday

27 June 2020

John 4:43-54

‘Unless you see signs and wonders you will not believe.’ (v. 48)

Psalm: Psalm 66:1-12

Background

John tells us that the healing in today's reading was the second sign that Jesus performed and he places it immediately before the third sign and a long discourse about Jesus’ relationship with his Father. John selects seven of Jesus’ miracles for his Gospel, describing them as 'signs', which is to say that they point to a meaning beyond the merely miraculous. As with the first sign in Cana, Jesus turns up in Galilee after two days, pointing us towards the resurrection on the third day.

Somewhat paradoxically, John associates this visit to Galilee with Jesus' own words that a prophet is not honoured in his home country. Yet the Galileans welcomed him when he arrived because they had seen everything he had done in Jerusalem. Perhaps the answer is found in Jesus’ words to the official: "Unless you see signs and wonders you will not believe." Honouring Jesus is to believe him without having seen signs and wonders; something that happened whilst he was among the Samaritans, a community that was definitely not his own.

Belief is a key theme in this passage as we are told that the official believed that his son would live without insisting that Jesus visit in person. Then, having realised that his son recovered at that very moment, we are told that he and his whole household believed. Presumably, this belief is not just about believing what Jesus tells him to do but a belief about who Jesus is. This question of Jesus’ identity and his relationship with the Father continues into the next verses after Jesus performs the third sign.

 

To Ponder: 

  • What is your faith based on, if not signs and wonders?
  • What does it mean to honour Jesus?
  • Placing your self in the Father’s shoes, would you have gone at Jesus’ word or insisted he come with you? Talk to Jesus about your honest response.

Bible notes author

The Revd Jonathan Mead

Jonathan is a Methodist minister. He is based in the London NW Mission circuit where he is minister of Kilburn Methodist Church and a Pioneer starting a new church community with a rule of life. He enjoys keeping fit, reading history and visiting Mediterranean destinations.

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