Tuesday, December 01, 2009

JUST TAKE HIS WORD FOR IT!

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…Jesus replied, “You may go. Your son will live.” The man took Jesus at his word and departed. (John 4:46-50)

Here was a member of the court of Herod Antipas. The gospel writers give us the general impression that people associated with the royal court were not very spiritually oriented. But this man turned to Jesus in his time of desperate need. His son was lying near death. He had heard of Jesus’ power and the miracles he had performed. Perhaps he had even witnessed something Jesus had done. His only hope was that Jesus would take pity on him. He traveled from Capernaum to Cana to find Jesus and then he repeatedly begged Jesus to come to Capernaum and heal his son. Jesus challenged what faith the man had. He did not agree to go to Capernaum but he told the man that his son would recover and live. The sign of the man’s faith is found in John’s simple statement, “The man took Jesus at his word and departed.”

I’m impressed. Here is a man who was a courtier of a wicked king who would participate in plotting the death of Jesus. I’m impressed by the work of the Holy Spirit who cannot be prevented from reaching into the lives of the most unreachable. I’m impressed by the grace and mercy of God, that it would find a man in that court and touch his life. I’m impressed that such a man would “take Jesus at his word.” There was much at stake for him and he believed Jesus and went on his way.

I think there are many Christian people who have a hard time taking Jesus at his word. How much different would our lives be if we could just accept Jesus’ word for things? We struggle with doubt and fear when Jesus has said that he will always be with us. He told us that he came so we would have abundant life yet we wrestle with stress and anxiety. Can we learn to take him at his word?

One other thing. Not only do we have a hard time accepting Jesus at his word, we also add to or take away from his word. We have his word in our Bibles but we sometimes act like Thomas Jefferson and cut out the parts that are hard to understand or that sound harsh to unbelieving ears. We soften his word. We try to make it easier to digest. If only we could learn to let the power of Jesus’ word carry the day! Let him speak to our lives and to our communities in his own words and then just take him at his word!

I am the bread of life. I am the light of the world. I am the way, the truth, and the life. I am the resurrection and the life. I am the Good Shepherd.

4 Comments:

At 8:02 AM, Blogger Ken said...

Sometimes it takes us being at the end of our rope, our back against the wall, complete desperation with no where else to turn. I think that's where the royal official was. At that point it seems he had no choice but to take the Lord at His word. Why is it that we often wait until we have exhausted every other resource before we ask for His help? And it's not that we don't pray everyday and for every need. We ask but go on as if He doesn't really hear. What is impressive to me is that our loving Lord takes us just as we are even with our lack of faith and in our weakness makes His strength known. Bless Him! Thanks, David, for the challenging thoughts.

 
At 10:21 AM, Blogger Shiloh Guy said...

Ken,
Thanks, brother, for you comment. You are so right. When I write these posts I am usually speaking to myself! I have found myself struggling to take the Lord at his word so many times. Then, back against the wall, I have no other choice and finally take action. I too wonder why it took me so long to take his word for it!

 
At 6:23 PM, Anonymous gregory said...

I have been thinking on this for couple days now Dave. There is just so much we could unpack here. If I am growing in my faith in God, believing Jesus words, and obeying the Holy Spirit's gentle breeze or violent hail storms then, as scripture teaches, my outward behaviors should be a kind of gauge as to where we ARE and where we ARE NOT. Yet.

So I am discouraged when I am not taking the Lord at his Word. Because it publicly displays were I am not. This is humiliating. Rightly so.

Been wondering if when I am not taking His Word I am running ahead of the Holy Spirit's loving guidance and wanting action NOW! And then when the hail storm comes I seek the refuge of my God.

Both comments remind me of a quote I discovered while at Habit for Humanity. "the deeper my crisis, the clearer my choices" Most of us recognize are seeming unbelief and privately weep bitterly when the storms clear.

There has been too much weeping in my life lately. In spite of this I have experienced the love of my Lord, very intimately, through his Holy Spirit! And then what do you know, my outward behavior is changing! Praise God!! His fleshly temple is in fact not destroyed. He lives. I am alive in Christ. He is working THRU me. And I can plainly see this and I am encouraged and want more. And watch attentively and listen for the rustling of his gentle breeze of guidance. My focus is not so much on my predicament, it is on my God. And gratitude for the way things are sets in. I pray for change. I act like it will happen. I go on joyfully.

and then...

 
At 7:58 AM, Blogger Shiloh Guy said...

Gregory,

As usual, your comment far outstrips the post itself! Thank you for your thoughtful and meditative insights. It is so true, whether we Christians like it or not, that our behavior is the most accurate weather gauge of our relationship with God. So, instead of trying to shape our behavior to meet some manmade standard of "spirituality," perhaps we should actually sit quietly before the Lord and let him shape our behavior!

 

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