Monday, March 24, 2014

A nobleman's faith

TODAY'S SPECIAL: John 4:43-54

TO CHEW ON: "Jesus said to him, 'Go your way, your son lives,' So the man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him, and he went his way." John 4:50

Last night I couldn't sleep, so I grabbed my Kindle and spent an hour or so with Andrew Murray (a bundled collection of his writings I began reading long ago but haven't gone back to for quite a while).

When I came to this morning's Bible reading and discovered I had just read, last night, Murray's exposition of the very story that came up today, I couldn't help but think his thoughts are something I should share here. Thus, many of the ideas below come from this South African saint (All quotes are from The Master's Dwelling in Devotional Classics: The Andrew Murray, George Muller Colection - Kindle locations 3207 − 3275).

In typical fashion, Murray identifies teaching points in the story:

"Let me point out to you the three aspects of faith which we have here: first faith seeking; then faith finding; and then faith enjoying. Or better still: faith struggling; faith resting; faith triumphing."

  • Faith seeking/struggling:
This Gentile nobleman walked six or seven hours from his dying son at Capernaum to Cana in Galilee. He came on hearsay (Jesus' first miracle - changing water to wine - happened at Cana). He didn't have the faith of the centurion, who demurred when Jesus offered to go to his house, saying His word was enough. This man repeated twice his desperate invitation for Jesus to come to his house.

  • Faith finding / resting:
Jesus met the nobleman where he was, even with his imperfect faith, assuring him, "Your son lives." But that was enough for him. He was content and went home.

About this, Murray makes this telling little observation:

"When God gives me a promise, He is just as near me as when He fulfills it. That is a great comfort. When I have the promise, I have also the pledge of the fulfillment."

  • Faith enjoying/ triumphing:
We know the story, how the man's servants met him, told him his son was better and he, checking on the time of the improvement, discovered it was at the exact time he was talking to Jesus. He could have dismissed the healing by rationalizing it away as coincidence. But instead, he took it as Jesus' direct answer to his prayer.

"He believed with his whole house. That is to say, he did not only believe that Christ could do just this one thing, but he believed in Christ as his Lord. ... If there had been a division among the people of Capernaum, and thousands of them had hated Christ, this man would still have stood on His side. He believed the Lord...He took up his position as a believer in Christ; and his wife, his children, his servants—he gathered them all together and laid them at the feet of Jesus."

How does this story relate to me, two thousand years later? How do I come to Christ and how does He come to me?

Murray answers:

"He comes to me in His precious word, and just as He said to the nobleman, 'Go thy way home, thy son liveth,' so Christ comes to me today and He says, 'Go thy way, thy Saviour liveth.' "Lo, I am with you always.' 'I live and you shall live also.' 'I wait to take charge of your whole life. Will you have me do this? Trust to me all that is evil and feeble; your whole sinful and perverse nature—give it up to me, and I will take care of it.'"

Murray's explanation of this story has me asking several questions:

- Do I, do we, come to Jesus with our problems?
- Do we take His word at face value?
- Do we acknowledge His answers as miracles, or explain them away as coincidences?
- Do we let His miracles (little or big) convince us that we should put Him on the throne as Lord, like the nobleman did? Or after a crisis, do we go back to living the same self-directed way as before?

PRAYER: Dear Jesus, thank You for Your presence in my life, by Your Word and by the Holy Spirit. Help me to see and acknowledge where You are working. May these things build my faith and fuel my loyalty to You.

MORE: More from Andrew Murray:
"If you want power in your house, if you want power in your Bible class, if you want power in your social circle, if you want power to influence the nation, and if you want power to influence the Church of Christ, see where it begins. Come into contact with Jesus in this rest of faith that accepts His life fully, that trusts Him fully, and the power will come by faith to overcome the world; by faith to bless others; by faith to live a life to the glory of God. Go thy way, thy soul liveth; for it is Jesus Christ who liveth within you."

Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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