Monthly Archives: August 2014

Believe The Witnesses

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We find in our text today the continuation of Christ’s dialogue with the religious leaders. They were questioning what authority he had to do the things He was doing. They were specifically concerned with Christ breaking the Sabbath by “working” to heal the cripple man at the Pool of Bethesda (5:1-16).

Jesus told them why He could “break the sabbath.” God had been working from Creation to the present and Christ was equal with God in His nature, power and authority (5:17-30).

Now Jesus presents witnesses to prove that what He claimed about Himself was in fact true. These were witnesses that the Jews should honor and respect.

In Jewish culture, nothing was settled until there was two or three witnesses.

Christ does not ask the Jews to believe His own words about Himself (vs. 31). “Under Jewish law, self testimony was not accepted in court.”

However, John 8:14 Jesus answered and said to them, “Even if I bear witness of Myself, My witness is true, for I know where I came from and where I am going; but you do not know where I come from and where I am going.”

There is another witness (vs. 32) – “another” = singular.

Christ presents four witnesses in increasing order of importance to prove that what He said about Himself was true. He will emphasize the last one as the “witness” that is true [Moses in Scripture].

Witness #1: John the Baptist (vs. 33-35)

John the Baptist was respected as a Rabbi or teacher of the Jews. The Jews had asked John about who Christ was in 1:19-34 and 3:26-36. On Both occasions John told them the very truth that Christ had told them “My Father has been working till now, and I have been working” (5:17).

Note the comparison between John’s witness of Christ and what Christ said about Himself:

John the Baptist said of Christ

Jn. 3

Christ said of Himself

Jn. 5

What He has seen and heard, that He testifies


the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner


The Father loves the Son and has given all things into His hand


For the Father loves the Son (20)

but has committed all judgment to the Son (22)

20, 22

He who believes in the Son has everlasting life


he who hears my word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but is passed from death to life.


Witness #2: The Works of Christ (vs. 36)

There is a greater witness than John, the miraculous works that Christ did were clear evidence of the person of Christ. They were irrefutable proof that the Father sent Christ.

The Gospel of John lists seven of these works:
• The turning of water into wine (2:1–11)
• The healing of the official’s son [fever] (4:43–54)
• The healing of a paralytic (5:1–15) – note this is the only miracle in John without a clear confession of faith as a result.
• The feeding of the multitude (6:1–14)
• The walking on the water (6:16–21)
• The cure of the blind man (9:1–41)
• The raising of Lazarus (11:1–44).

As we progress through the Gospel of John we see increasing power demonstrated through the miracles that are recorded.

In Christ’s last discourse that John records, Christ views the miracles as sufficient proof of His claims. John 14:11 Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father in Me, or else believe Me for the sake of the works themselves.

Witness #3: God the Father (vs. 37-38)

How can the Father be a witness but the Jews had not heard him? God the Father did speak audibly, something a Jew would have reacted to positively, but they did not.

• At Christ’s baptism – no reaction
• At the Transfiguration (only three of the disciples heard it)
• Jn. 12:28 – they thought it was thundering or an angel, no understanding

“Jesus implies that his hearers had not apprehended the revelation of God because they had not believed him whom the Father had sent. Openness of belief must precede the reception of truth.”

Witness #4: The Scriptures (39-47)

After Solomon’s temple was destroyed in 586 BC, the Jews replaced the temple sacrifices with the act of diligent study of the OT law. They searched the Scriptures to find the most minute details and uncover their meanings. This study they believed would bring them salvation (vs. 39). Rabbis would record the details of their study, their commentary and application in what we know as the Talmud.

But by looking for the details of WHAT to do, they missed the PERSON of the OT.

Sears Tower

At the top of the Sears tower in Chicago visitors enter an observation room with glass walls. There is an outcrop where even the floor is glass! The view of the City of Chicago is spectacular from this vantage point.

Imagine you are standing on the top floor of a tall building admiring the view and someone comes up and talks to you about the glass window you are looking through. He notes the strength of the glass, the thickness of it, and the tint. He takes out his pocket knife and begins to scrape at the corner of the window. He tells you he will do a chemical analysis and get back to you with the composition of the material that the architect used! In addition to thinking the person a bit strange, you realize that he is missing the whole point of the window – to allow you to see the view.

The Scriptures are our window to the Truth outside this cursed world.

The Jews were so focused on the “window” of the Old Testament Scriptures that they missed and rejected Christ’s claims that those Scriptures revealed (vs. 40).

Christ had come in the name of God and they rejected Him, but if a rabbi came in his own name, the Jewish people would receive and honor him. The Jewish leaders were constantly striving for honor from one another (vs. 41-44). Jesus was not playing that game, He did need the honor of men. They were concerned with the praise and honor of men and ignored the praise of God. The point was clear, these religious leaders talked about God yet did not have the love of God in them (vs. 42).

So let’s wrap this up with a personal application:

Christ did not have to judge them (vs. 45, cc vs. 30). What Christ is going “to hear” that will condemn them on the day of judgement is condemnation from the Scripture.

Jesus pointed out the condemning reality – if the Jews would not believe Moses’ word, they would not believe Christ’s Word.

We are in the same position if we will not believe John’s testimony in this gospel, we will not believe Jesus Christ either!

What are we doing with the truth that as been revealed in the Scriptures?

Download a pdf version of Believe The Witnesses.


Christ’s Credentials

Christ Credentials

Up until now we have had people who have responded positively to Christ and His work with little push back. Consider the flow of what we have seen so far from John’s gospel:

Jesus reveals Himself as God the Messiah to:

  • John the Baptist (1)
  • Andrew and Peter
  • Philip and Nathanael

Jesus then works a miracle:

  • Water to Wine – disciples believed 2:11

Following the miracle is conflict:

  • Cleans the Temple – some begin to question

This process is repeated! Jesus again reveals Himself as God the Messiah to:

  • Nicodemus (3)
  • Woman at the Well (4) and the men of Samaria
  • Galileans

Jesus then works a miracle that proves his deity:

  • Nobleman’s Son is healed from a distance

The miracle is followed by conflict:

  • Paralytic Man is healed on the Sabbath

Christ brings change!

Purpose of John – John 20:31 but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.

John brings the arguments and evidence to a climax. It is here that God has John record Christ’s direct evidence of who He is. Those who hear are placed in a position where they MUST make a choice. Either Jesus is God or He is one of the greatest cons in history. Either He was God or He was guilty of blasphemy and deserved death under Jewish law.

The Jews rejected the change Christ brought to their way of thinking and the claims Christ made.

First, why did Christ break the Sabbath? If He was God, it was His law. Why break it?

The Jews took great pride in being the chosen people of God. This pride showed itself in outward conformity to the law without an inward relationship to God. Jews had lost the meaning of the law.

The Jews had applications of this law that limited the number of steps they could take outside their property on the Sabbath (1,000 m). So if they wanted to take a journey on the Sabbath, they had to go the day before and leave some of their possessions at intervals along their route so they would not be traveling more than a Sabbaths day journey away from their “property.”

He points out their inconsistencies:

Luke 14:5 Then He answered them, saying, “Which of you, having a donkey or an ox that has fallen into a pit, will not immediately pull him out on the Sabbath day?”

He points out the truth about the Sabbath:

Mark 2:27 And He said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath.”

Instead of the Sabbath being a chance to focus on God, they started valuing the Sabbath more than the Creator.

Christ went right to the source of their problem. It was not the Sabbath or healing on the Sabbath, it was their belief in who He was.

So he confronts them with three facts about Himself:

Christ is Equal with God’s Nature (nature of God) vs. 17-18

Christ reminds the Jews that God has not stopped working for Israel since creation. The healing on the Sabbath was a continuation of what God was doing for Israel, only now they see God the Son continuing the work in their sight. Nothing has changed.

“Even the rabbis admitted that God’s work had not ceased after the Sabbath because He sustains the universe.” (MacArthur)

The Jew’s response shows that they understood He was equating Himself with God. They rejected His statement.

Christ is Equal with God’s Power vs. 19-21

Christ reiterates that He is working with the power of God the Father.

God was going to do more to cause men to marvel: He was going to restore life to the dead! There are three possible applications:

  • Dead legs (previous miracle)
  • Dead people (physically – chapter 11 – Lazarus)
  • Dead people (spiritually – salvation). In the context this seems most likely what He was referring to.

Notice – this was was not to cause belief!

Christ is Equal with God’s Authority (vs. 22-30)

The One who gives life will also judge (vs. 22-24).

People must honor the Son as they honor the Father (vs. 23).

To honor Him is to hear and believe Him – our response to Christ will determine how we are judged (vs 24).

  • everlasting life (present tense)
  • no judgement
  • passed from death to life – written in such a way that it indicates a finished work that is completed.
Christ has the authority to give life to those who chose to hear – hear and live (vs. 25-26).
Judgement is coming (vs. 27-29).
  • We will all be judged.
  • There are two destinations…reward because of Christ’s sacrifice or eternal judgment…we have to choose.
Judgement is decided from what Christ hears from us when we stand before Him. (vs. 30)

While we are alive, we are to “hear Him.”

When we die, He will hear US and give judgement.

What will we say if we are asked why we should enter into heaven? The only accepted answer will be that we have “heard him and believed” that we were sinners and Christ completely paid the penalty of death for us.

So here is what this all means to you and me:

Christ brings us to the same place He brought the Jews: either He is God God or He is the greatest con man who ever lived. There is no middle ground left to us. Christ can’t just be a good man and say these thing about Himself if they are not true.

Have you “heard the voice of the Son of God”? vs 25

What will he “hear” from us when we stand before Him? vs. 30

You can download the pdf of Christ’s Credentials by clicking the link.

Finding Mercy At The “House of Mercy”

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Today our text is found in John 5:1-16.

Remember what John is doing – he is laying out a case for us the readers, that Jesus is God and that He is the only way for us to come to God.

John is not recording everything Jesus said or did. Instead he is narrating key actions and teachings that leave us with no doubt about the person of Christ! He is the Savior of the world!

John’s purpose for writing His gospel is two-fold: (Jn. 20:31)

  • His purpose is apologetic – “that you may believe.”
  • His purpose was evangelistic – that “by believing you may have life through His name.”

The word that we find repeated over 100x in the the Gospel of John is “Believe!” John is making his case throughout the book that Jesus Christ is God and therefore we must believe in Him.

In our text we find the God of Mercy showing mercy to a helpless man at the “House of Mercy.”

Jesus has traveled from Galilee back to Jerusalem, he enters through the Sheep Gate and comes to the Pool of Bethesda.

  • Beth = House
  • ‘Chesed’ (Hebrew) = Mercy – God’s goodness toward those in misery and distress.

Three words that are used in close association with one-another in Scripture:

Mercy is the Hebrew word: Chesed = God’s goodness toward those in misery and distress!  Mercy is a communicable attribute of God – an attribute that God shares with man. Incommunicable attributes are those attributes of God that are unique to God – i.e. sovereignty, omnipotence, omniscience.

Grace – God’s goodness toward those who only deserve punishment.

Patience or Long-Suffering – God’s goodness to withhold punishment toward those who sin over a period of time.

Exodus 34:6 And the Lord passed before him and proclaimed, “The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin

Psalm 103:8The Lord is merciful and gracious, Slow to anger, and abounding in mercy

There are three foundational truths about God’s Mercy that we must understand if we are to clearly understand what is happening in today’s story!

His mercy is freely offered

Micah 7:8
Who is a God like You, Pardoning iniquity And passing over the transgression of the remnant of His heritage? He does not retain His anger forever, Because He delights in mercy. God relishes the opportunity to grant mercy!

2 Samuel 24:14
And David said to Gad, “I am in great distress. Please let us fall into the hand of the Lord, for His mercies are great; but do not let me fall into the hand of man.

Matthew 9:27
When Jesus departed from there, two blind men followed Him, crying out and saying, “Son of David, have mercy on us.

His mercy is without limit

Psalm 25:6 Remember, O Lord, Your tender mercies and Your lovingkindnesses, For they are from of old

Isaiah 54:8 With a little wrath I hid My face from you for a moment; But with everlasting kindness I will have mercy on you,” Says the Lord, your Redeemer.

His mercy is bestowed upon those who least deserve it because of their sin

Psalm 86:5 For You, Lord, are good, and ready to forgive, And abundant in mercy to all those who call upon You.

Psalm 103:7-12
The Lord is merciful and gracious,
Slow to anger, and abounding in mercy.
He will not always strive with us,
Nor will He keep His anger forever.
He has not dealt with us according to our sins,
Nor punished us according to our iniquities.
For as the heavens are high above the earth,
So great is His mercy toward those who fear Him;
As far as the east is from the west,
So far has He removed our transgressions from us.

Abounding in mercy! Do you really understand the picture here? Imagine for a moment a small fish in a pool at the foot of the mighty Victoria Falls. Imagine him swimming around anxious and fearful that there might one day not be enough water for him to drink. You would say, “Silly little fish, drink as much water as you wish. Victoria Falls is abounding in water.” That is what God is saying about His mercy! No matter what you have done, how far you have traveled from God in sin, no matter how dark your life has become, God delights in offering you mercy!


The significance of the context (1-5)

Jesus traveled from Galilee to Jerusalem. He came through the Sheep Gate into the city. Just inside the Sheep Gate was the pool of Bethesda (Five Porches).

This pool of Bethesda provides an instructive backdrop to what God wants us to learn about Jesus. Beth means House. ‘Chesed’ means mercy. Literally this means the House of Mercy. This was the House of God’s goodness toward those in misery and distress.

Lying under the porches surrounding this pool was a multitude of people suffering with various distressing physical handicaps. They were assembled because of a slim hope; every once and awhile an angel would come and stir the water and when that happened the first handicapped person who steped into the moving water would be healed.

It is also very likely that these suffering multitudes benefited from the “alms-giving” of the residents and visitors to Jerusalem who visited the pool.

Christ sought this man out of the crowd (6)

Three things are revealed about Christ in verse six.

First we see a display of His mercy. Jesus found the man out of the multitude and approached him. Mercy comes to find you!

Second we cannot overlook His sovereignty. There is nothing particularly significant about this man that would cause Christ should stop and intervene in his situation. Christ simply decided to stop and interact with him.

Third we see His omniscience – Jesus knew (6). Jesus saw him and immediately knew everything about him – and only God knows everything!

Jesus knew the utter helplessness of the man – He knew that he was beyond human help. He had been in that condition for 38yrs, if there was an available solution this man would have found it! 

Jesus also knew the hopelessness of the man – He had been in this condition a very long time.


The question is startling!

Jesus did not ask this question because He needed information. We have already seen that as God, Christ was omniscient – knew everything about this man.

Jesus often used questions to cause the person to think in a clear and fresh way about themselves, or their beliefs. Consider these examples:

  • In Matthew 16:13 Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Who do men say that I am?’ This preceded the earth shattering acknowledgment, “You are the Christ the Son of the Living God!”
  • In Mark 10:51 Jesus said to the blind man, ‘What do you want me to do for you?’
  • And again in the upper room, after washing the disciples feet in John 13:13 Jesus asked ‘Do you know what I have done to you?’ Jesus then gave them the beautiful teaching about servanthood.

As startling as Christ’s question was, the man’s response is equally startling!

You would think he would shout “YES I WANT TO BE HEALED!” Instead the man began to make excuses… “there is no one to help me into the water…”

This week I received a visit from a man who is encountering deep and troubling problems. As he explained his situation and asked for spiritual help, I pointed out that underneath all of his problems was life choices driven by sin. Tears escaped the corners of this man’s eyes as I spoke. After I shared the gospel and we prayed together the man went his way, unmoved by gracious gift of salvation offered to him by Christ.

Often we hear God’s word, we encounter His promises but nothing changes.

The question is also strategic!

The lame man acknowledged is own inability.

It is at this very point where many of us falter. We think that if we just try harder, get some additional therapy or counseling we can eventually solve our own problem.

He also acknowledged his own longing. Jesus was forcing him to consider if he really desired healing, or was laying by the pool an accepted way of life? Was he was resigned that this was the way His life would be? Was he prepared to possibly lose a good living from receiving the alms from well-wishers?

Let me ask you this same question: In your current situation, “Do you want to be made well?”

For many people Christ looks good from a distance, but when we get up close to Him we find that He makes many demands. Many peole will get close enough to Jesus to catch a glimpse of these demands and then turn back (see Jn. 6:66). Some people will attend church, listen intently for a period of time then disappear. What happened? They did not want to be made well!

One day an older gentleman knocked at my gate asking for help. The trousers covering his right leg had been cut up above the knee. The gentleman’s leg was more than two times its normal size. Around his ankle and food the swelling had caused the skin to split open in several places, and was oozing infection. The gentleman pointed out that the two marks just above the ankle was where the snake had struck him. I was more than happy to help the elderly man with taxi money and some funds to pay for medical treatment. He went his way thanking me profusely. About a week later, I was up working on my roof when I heard someone banging on my neighbor’s gate. There was the same elderly gentleman, the foot had not been treated. He was asking my neighbor for help. With a shout I let my neighbor know that I had given to help this man with the same problem just a week earlier. What was the problem? This man did not want to be made well!

So again I ask, “Do you want to be made well?” If you do, you can be made well now!

Christian, The question is the same: “Do you really want to be healed?”

  • Bitterness – the poison you swallow hoping the other person dies.
  • Unresolved conflict – issues with others that are festering like a wound
  • Fears – fear and faith cannot live in the same heart, fears are never from God, but from our human hearts or from Satan
  • Hidden hurts in your heart – genuine painful memory or situation that you refuse to forgive, turn over to God.

Sometimes we fail to recognize these things in our hearts. They lie covered over by the leaves of denial, but they are crippling us spiritually! We lack joy, power for life and ministry, and peace!

God’s mercy is extended to you today! His long-suffering love toward you withholds His judgement upon you! His grace is yours for the asking!


Three impossible commands

This man did not have the ability to obey the command: “rise, take your bed and walk” (8). Here is the reality that you must recognize – when Christ commands the impossible his commands are His enablements (9).

Here in this verse we see the fourth attribute of God in this text. We saw that Christ is merciful, sovereign and omniscient. Now we are faced with Christ’s omnipotence. Only God can command a paralyzed man to get up and walk and then enable him to obey that command!

Three responses to Christ’s commands

He heard the command – sometimes we hear without hearing! (8) I often ask my kids, “did you hear me?” My question is not did they hear my words, but when I speak the expectation is that they will respond.

He believed the command. The lame man moved into action (9).

He obeyed the command. He jumped up, grabbed the bedroll and walked!

There is a sober warning to us in this story! (10-15) This man reminds us that the majority of people in Christ’s day experienced the mercy of God yet they refused to believe in Him as Messiah! It seems that he never believed in Jesus (14).

Two frightening observations

  • It is possible to get your problem taken care of and still not repent and believe. (14-15)
  • It is possible to see undeniable evidence of God’s power and mercy yet still deny Christ (16)

Perhaps you have tried to get up and put your life together a hundred times over – and have failed each time. Believe in Jesus, receive his forgiveness and life!

Dear friend, repent and believe in Jesus! Acts 3:19 Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord,

What commands of Christ appear impossible to you?  Perhaps it involves you as a husband loving your wife or you as a wife respecting your husband! Maybe it is the command to forgive someone who has wronged you. Or maybe you need to share your faith with someone.

Hear Christ, Believe Christ, Obey Christ!

Here is the pdf downloadable version of Finding Mercy at the House of Mercy Web

Six Tips For Successful Parenting

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How would you define a home?

Perhaps you would give me your street address, describe your house – the style, how many rooms or the color of your gate.

The dictionary defines a home as a family or group of people who live together, it is the place where somebody feels he or she belongs. Home is a place where a person can find refuge and safety, a place where they can live in security. You see, a home is not a building; a home is a place where relationships exist and are nurtured.

Often relationships in a home include children. It is important that these relationships are intentionally nurtured. If you are like me though there are times when you feel like your home is “out of control.”

Here are six tips for successful parenting that came from an article by Dr. William Goode.  These tips have helped me evaluate how I am relating to my kids.

  1. Encourage a lot – the child who is encouraged as well as corrected consistently can tell the difference between right and wrong. (Ro. 13.7)
  2. Play a lot – While we as adults must be firm, life has many problems and they need to see us work, laugh and be serious, taking enough personal interest to play their games with them. (Prov. 17.22)
  3. Pray a lot – We need God’s help. Talk to Him much about them. (James 1.5)
  4. Teach a lot – Eph. 6.4: “Instruction” = putting into the mind; building inner convictions.
  5. Use cause and effect a lot – …for correction. This is the most natural way of learning that actions have results (Gal. 6.7).
  6. When you do spank… do it lovingly, slowly, prayerfully, and thoroughly so you do not do it often… and never do it when you are angry

Developing healthy relationships in the home take an investment of time, energy and effort.  Be intentional!  invest in the relationships in your home!

May God grant us healthy and happy Christian homes!

If you are in the Kitwe area and would like to get in touch please email at philhunt66 (at)  You are invited to attend the Kitwe Bible Study Fellowship meeting each Sunday at the Polo Club (Show grounds) at 10:00.  Phil Hunt.

Believe: One Man’s Journey of Faith

Journey of Faith

We have all faced moments of desperation! The circumstances in life spirals out of control right past all of our human wisdom and ability.

In such moments we are painfully aware that our resources, our influence, and our position in society are useless to meet the need.

  • It may be a personal illness, or the illness of someone you love.
  • It may be a broken relationship.
  • It may be a situation that threatens your present well-being or your future security.

When people face crisis they know there has to be something or someone bigger and more powerful than they are who to come to their aid. People in crisis often turn to God (or religion) in hope of finding that help.

September 11, 2001 was has become an infamous date in the history of the United States. On 9/11 terrorists flew hijacked passenger jets into buildings in New York City and Washington, DC. In the aftermath of this attack, the name of God was on every lip. Churches were suddenly filled with worshippers.

I have been working in S.Sudan since before the recent Independence. One thing that is clear when you visit S. Sudan – after two bloody civil wars lasting 50yrs, everyone believes in God. People publicly credit God for their victory over N. Sudan and for the birth of the nation. Churches in the capital city of Juba are filled to overflowing week after week, yet S.Sudan is riddled with corruption, social problems and political instability. The outbreak of hostilities along tribal lines has cost the lives of thousands and nearly 1 million people have been displaced due to the violence.

The lesson is this: trusting in God when you have a problem is not enough!

The man we read about in John 4:43-46 turned in desperation to Jesus. His journey in faith is instructive. His belief in Jesus grew from merely intellectual belief to genuine saving faith.


His faith is set against the backdrop of the Samaritans and the Galileans

All sins are forgiven for people who repent and believe in Jesus except unbelief. Unbelief is the damning sin! No matter what people do or how zealous for God they are unbelievers cannot please God.

Ro. 8:8 So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

Heb 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.
In Samaria, the people believed that Jesus was the Messiah (4:42). In Galilee, Jesus own people are scandalized by Him!

Mt. 13:57 So they were offended at Him. But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own country and in his own house.

The Galileans were willing to believe in a Jesus who would revive their political hope, but they would not accept Him as a Saviour from their sin!

Jn. 6:15 Therefore when Jesus perceived that they were about to come and take Him by force to make Him king, He departed again to the mountain by Himself alone.

Jn. 6:64-66 But there are some of you who do not believe.” For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were who did not believe, and who would betray Him. And He said, “Therefore I have said to you that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted to him by My Father.” From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more.

The Samaritans accepted Jesus as the one who would meet their spiritual need! The people of Galilee believed in Him for what He could do for them, when he offered them spiritual bread they rejected it (6:26-27).

In Samaria they believed on Him as their Messiah. In Galilee the people would reject Him as Messiah and eventually some of them would doubtless participate with the mob in Jerusalem who call for his crucifixion.

His Faith is motivated by a desperate need (46b-47)

This man was an official in Herod’s court. He was a man of wealth, influence and power. It also means He was very likely a Gentile. None of this could help his current desperate situation – his son was dying!

The sad reality of a sinful world is that children do get sick and die. Everyone experiences suffering and sorrow – there are no exceptions.

Job 5:6-7 For affliction does not come from the dust,
Nor does trouble spring from the ground;
Yet man is born to trouble,
As the sparks fly upward!

Somewhere this Nobleman had heard about Jesus, and now he heard that Jesus had returned to Galilee… and he came desperate and determined to solicit Jesus’ help.

His faith was not driven by his own need of salvation, but by the desperation he felt because of the illness that was taking his own son’s life.

As already noted, many people are driven to Christ because of overwhelmingly desperate needs! These circumstances are tools of God’s mercy and grace. They can often be the start on the journey of faith.

He was coming to the right person but with the wrong presuppositions (48-49)

Jesus pointed out the weakness of his faith – ‘unless you people see signs and wonders you won’t believe!’ (See v. 45).

The faith of this man was incomplete, he did not fully understand who Jesus was: (49)
He thought Jesus had to be present to heal the son. Jesus being God was not limited by time or space. He could as easily heal from a distance as He could if he were present.

He thought Jesus had to heal his son before he died. He again did not fully understand Who Jesus is. Jesus has absolute power over death.

People today often think of Jesus in similar terms. He is acknowledged as someone extra-ordinary, a great teacher, a good man, even a prophet from God; but they fail to understand that He is all of those things, but much more! He is God!


He believed Jesus’ word (50a)

This man heard the calm command and assurance of Jesus and believed Him. His faith was demonstrated by obedience, “he went his way.” This man had not seen his son recovered and in good health. He had the word of Christ, and somehow that was enough!

Heb. 11:1-3 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good testimony. By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible.

They key is believing in Jesus – this is God’s will!

John 6.27 (NLT) But you shouldn’t be so concerned about perishable things like food. Spend your energy seeking the eternal life that I, the Son of Man, can give you. For God the Father has sent me for that very purpose.” 28* They replied, “What does God want us to do?” 29* Jesus told them, “This is what God wants you to do: Believe in the one he has sent.”

The issue is not the size of your faith it is the object of your faith! (50b)

Faith as small as a mustard seed is enough to “move mountains” (Mt. 17:20). Jesus is teaching us that it is not the amount of faith that matters, but that you have placed your faith is in the right object!

Someone has well said, “Everyone believes in something if only themselves.”

Who/what is the object of YOUR faith?  You might be asking right now, “how can I determine whether or not I have genuine saving faith or not?”

You can identify the object of your faith by identifying who you are serving!

No one can serve two different masters (Mt. 6:24)! Faith is demonstrated by faithfully serving the Master! (Lk. 17:5-10)


Faith became sight his son lived! Our faith will also be rewarded. One day we will look on Him in whom we have believed! (51)

Rev. 1:7 Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him, even they who pierced Him. And all the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him. Even so, Amen.

The connection between the recovery of the son and the timing of Jesus proclamation is undeniable! (52)

It was the time that Jesus had spoken to him. This gracious act of Christ convinced this man that Jesus Christ was God! Who else could heal from 15 km away? This Nobleman was positive now that Jesus was the sent one, the Messiah. And that led him to the final stage on his journey of faith…


He believed!

The nobleman put his faith in Jesus Christ. When faith comes to maturity it accepts Jesus as Light, Life, Lamb, Savior!

You must realize that saving faith is much more than simply assenting to a list of facts about Christ! Many people claim genuine saving faith but on the Day of Judgment will be rejected by God.

Mt. 7.21-22 Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22 Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’

They believed!

The mature, saving faith of this man influenced his entire household to put their faith in Jesus Christ!

Mature faith in Jesus is something that is shared – it is convicting, it is convincing!


This is the second sign Jesus had done in Galilee (54)! A sign points to something, and this sign points us toward the goal of the journey of faith! John included this miracle of Jesus to the intent that you and I might also believe in Jesus! The Galileans should believe in Jesus and when we read this account we should too!

John 20:30-31 And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; 31 but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.

No matter who you are or what you are facing your current circumstances are signs pointing you to Jesus – Believe in Him today!

Who you serve will be evidenced by who you obey this week!

Download the .pdf copy of Believe, One Man’s Journey of Faith

Perspectives On The Harvest

Perspectives on the Harvest.001

Our text today is John 4:27-42, but I would like to be sure we grasp the context of what we are looking at by beginning to read from verse 1.

Take a moment to watch this dramatized reading of John 4:1-27:

Jesus “needed to go through Samaria” (4) because there was a thirsty woman headed to a noontime God appointment at Jacob’s well. This woman of Samaria did not know about her appointment, but Christ did!

As Jesus engages her in discussion he offers her living water that would quench her thirsty soul. Jesus reminded her that the water from Jacob’s well could only satisfy temporarily, but the spiritual water that He offered would quench her spiritual thirst forever! (10,14)

Whether you realize it or not, Jesus is on the same mission with you and me! He is headed toward a Divine appointment to offer you that same living water!

In verse 27 the disciples show up after a successful run to town for lunch. The are oblivious to what is taking place between Jesus and this woman. They are equally oblivious to the real needs around them.

The disciples were living it out on one level of reality – the physical. In that sense the disciples, though already followers of Jesus, are like the Samaritan woman! She is consumed up with life, and water pots and wells, and love and sex and… life. The disciples are caught up with life, and bread and Galilee travel plans and taking care of their Rabbi.


A. They were influenced by their culture (27)

“Marveled” – to be shocked! They were aware that a Jewish Rabbi was not permitted to speak to a woman in public, not even his wife or daughter. Add to this the hatred that existed between the Jews and Samaritans and you might understand the disciples reaction.

The Jews & Samaritans had a long history of hatred and mistrust for each other (9). When the Assyrians conquered the Northern Kingdom (721BC) they carried the Jews away as captives. These Jewish people intermarried with the Assyrians (2 Kings 17:24-41) and eventually repopulated what was known as Samaria. They embraced a religion that mixed pagan idolatrous practices with Jewish worship.

134 years later Babylon overthrew the Southern Kingdom and carried the people into captivity. These Jewish people did not intermarry with the Babylonians and preserving their worship of the true God of Israel.. When the Jews from the Southern Kingdom finally returned to their homeland they refused to accept their kinsmen in Samaria.

The disciples wondered among themselves but no one asked Jesus what he was doing, nor did they ask the woman, “what do you want?” (27) Perhaps they were realizing that Jesus could not be evaluated by cultural norms.

B. They were influenced by their physical needs (8,31,33)

The disciples were focused on the physical food that they had gone to purchase in town. They urged Christ to eat! (31)

John 6:27 But don’t be so concerned about perishable things like food. Spend your energy seeking the eternal life that the Son of Man can give you…

When Jesus indicated that he had food to eat that they were not aware of, they began to ask themselves if someone had come to bring him food while they were away (33).

C.  They were influenced by their plans (3)

They were on a journey with Jesus to Galilee. There were travel plans to organize, food and lodging arrangements, trip estimates, travel time and a host of other administrative details.

They were so busy with the details of the trip that they were completely missing the purpose Christ was on earth and the reason for traveling through Samaria. When Jesus called them to follow Him, each disciple knew what that meant. They were going to be His apprentices, they were to follow Him, to learn from Him. Why had they so quickly forgotten the big purpose? When He called them, He did not hide the spiritual realities. “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men,” Jesus told them (Mt. 4:19).

We too can be so caught up with our daily activities, providing for our own needs, carrying out our own plans that we rush past the people and miss God’s purpose for our lives!


A. Doing God’s work is what really satisfies (34)

Jesus had food that they didn’t know about. Doing the will of God was nourishment to his soul!

Each of us have at some point felt heart-throbbing exhilaration of doing something you are passionate about. That passion that makes you forget about other things, necessary things – like eating.

One of the things I enjoy very much is fishing. A few years ago I was invited to speak at a conference on the Island of Guam in the Pacific. The hosts asked what I would like to do while on island and I immediately told them of my love for fishing. They graciously hooked me up with a guy by the name of Sailor… to go out into the Pacific Ocean for a half day of fishing. The guy lived up to his name, we sped 20 miles of Guam and into some of the best fishing I’ve ever seen. We were hooking into Mahi Mahi, Tuna and Wahoo as quick as we could get the bait out. There is nothing as exhilarating as hearing the wine of fishing line screaming off the pole. We fished for most of the day and I didn’t eat a bite – I wasn’t hungry, didn’t even think about food the entire time… that’s what Jesus is saying here!

Jesus passion was for the Father’s will! “I have food to eat that you don’t know about, my passion for doing the Father’s will is giving me spiritual energy,” Jesus said!

Where your passions lie is a good indicator of what your perspectives are. Jesus did not consider doing God’s will to be a burden or a distasteful thing… he found it to be satisfying!

Psalm 40:8 I delight to do Your will, O my God,
And Your law is within my heart.”

B. The fields are ready to be harvested (35-36)

The harvest is people! (35) The harvest is abundant, but laborers are few – why? They are not seeing it! In their prejudices and assumptions they lacked faith in the power of God. We often look at people as annoyances, projects, prospects but God sees them as people who He came to save.

The harvest is now! (35, Ecc 11:4). They failed to see what was right in front of them – the woman, the people of Samaria!

I was recently on Safari in Chobe, Botswana with a good friend of mine. Steve is an avid birder. I like to see the “Big Five”, cats and crocs. We were driving along in the bush in our open safari vehicle when Steve excitedly said, “Look, look!” Standing only about 10 meters away was a huge elephant browsing on the leaves of a small tree. My friend continued to point and tell me to look. I realized that what he was looking at was not the elephant, but a small orange bird sitting above and to the left of the elephant, he had not even noticed the elephant right in front of us!

That is the way we can be in gospel work! We miss the “elephant” staring us in the face because we are focused on something else.

The harvest is shared – some sow others reap. The sower labors in anticipation of what is to come. The reaper must never forget that the harvest he enjoys is the fruit of someone else’s toil. We all have differing gifts and differing tasks but we share in the same harvest (36, 38). When participating in God’s harvest there will be eternal rewards. Paul called it the fruit that abounds to your account. (Phil. 4:17)

The harvest also results in unspeakable joy to both the sower and reaper. (36b) When one person repents, believes and receives salvation there is rejoicing in heaven! (Lk. 15:7)

One final thought before we move on, Jeus makes it clear that the Lord of the Harvest is the one who sends reapers into the field (38).

Matthew 9:37 Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. 38 Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.”


A. The Woman’s Perspective changed (28-29)

Her perspective changed about her task. She had come to the well to fetch water. Now she was so excited and in such a hurry that she forgot to take the water with her back to the city. Perhaps she left her water pot so that Jesus & the disciples could have a drink knowing she was coming back and rushed into town. Regardless, encountering Jesus changed everything!!
Her perspective changed about herself. She publicly rushed iff into town and began to invite everyone: “Come and see…” This is the same woman who appeared to be avoiding people by coming to the well at noon.
Her perspective changed about Christ. She believed in Him! This faith is reflected in her statement to the townspeople, “could this be the Christ?”

A. The Samaritan’s Perspectives changed (30,39-42)

Their daily duties and responsibilities were temporarily pushed aside. The indication in the text is that they rushed out (went out with haste) of the city to meet Jesus. (28b)

Their religious ideas and beliefs were changed – Jesus stated that Samaritans did not know who they were worshipping (22). They were worshippers, but they were ignorant of what they worshipped. They were worshipping for the sake of worship, because of tradition or to meet some personal agenda; but they were not worshipping “in spirit and in truth!” (23-24).

Now they too put their faith in Jesus! They begged him to stay with them – they wanted to hear more!

It began with the testimony of a woman who drank of the living water that Christ offered (39). The Samaritans listened to Jesus as he talked and explained the truth over the course of the next two days. (What did they talk about? See what Jesus told Nicodemus (3:16) and the woman (4:13-14)). As a result many more Samaritans believed in Jesus as their Savior. (40-41) They testified to the woman that they too know and believe that Jesus was indeed the Christ, the Savior of the World. (42)


To those of you who are already faith followers of Jesus, the text today is pleading with you to open your eyes and see the world that Christ sees! A world that is ready! The harvest is in front of you!

To those of you who are like the Samaritans, you are searching for answers, for someone or something to satisfy your life – Repent of your sin and believe in Jesus right now!

Anybody, anywhere can come to Christ – anytime! Christ in love has intentionally “passed through Samaria” to find you! Believe in Him today!

Download the .pdf version of Perspectives on the Harvest