John 4:43-54 Familiar, Excited, Or Believing?

by | May 2, 2024 | John, New Testament

I. Rejection Based On Familiarity Vs. 43, 44

A. Historical Setting

1. These verses seem contradictory.
2. It seems to say that a prophet is not welcomed in his own country, but that Jesus went to the Galilee region where He was from, and the Galileans welcomed Him.
3. The word country in verse 44 probably refers to Jesus’ hometown of Nazareth.
4. Nazareth was where Jesus grew up, where people were most familiar with Him.
5. Nazareth is located in the Galilee region.
6. The people of Nazareth thought they knew Jesus. He was nothing special to them.
7. We see this sentiment in Mark 6:1-6
8. In Mark 6, the people could not deny the words and works of Jesus, but they were offended that it was He that spoke such things and did such things.

a. Jesus had never been special in his earlier days, and suddenly he is famous.
b. The offense wasn’t with His words and works, but with Him.
c. They thought they knew Him. He was so familiar. Just one of them.
d. And suddenly He is desired, famous, well known, powerful, etc.

9. Guzik on Mark 6- In His hometown, Jesus faced a crowd that wondered how He became so powerful in both word and works. Jesus left Nazareth as a carpenter. He came back as a rabbi, complete with a group of disciples. It isn’t hard to see how the locals would wonder, “What happened to Jesus?”

10. Guzik- Is this not the carpenter?: Not a compliment. It was a way of pointing out that Jesus had no formal theological training. He was never a formal disciple of a rabbi, much less a prominent rabbi.
11. They knew enough about Jesus to think that they knew everything about Jesus.

B. Modern Application

1. People With People

a. Experience tells us that we can be familiar with someone to the point of thinking we know everything about them.
b. We have seen their highs and lows. We have seen them at their best and worst.
c. Human nature is such that we become bored with people, things, and experiences.
d. We can become unimpressed even with some great thing they might do or say.
e. We begin to look for the next exciting friend or spouse, etc.
f. That is why we say, “Absence makes the heart grow fonder”.

2. People With The Church

a. On a deeper level, we can become “too familiar” with our church experience.
b. A church experience can be a soulish and/or spiritual experience simultaneously.
c. An experience can touch the “soul” and yet never reach our spirit.
d. If we are not yet born again, the spirit lies dead within us, and we don’t have the capacity to connect with God.
e. If we are born again, we can default to a soulish experience with church, and miss a spiritual experience with God.
f. We come to expect little or nothing from our church experience, and become cynical
g. We come into the service, but just turn ourselves off, because of familiarity

3. People With Jesus

a. People can be mentally inoculated with Jesus, but never have true or deep faith.
b. Some have heard enough about Jesus to think they know everything about Jesus.

II. Faithless Excitement Vs. 45-48

A. Historical Setting

1. V. 45- The Galileans had seen and heard Jesus in Jerusalem.
2. Jesus had turned over the money changers’ tables; he had predicted His own death and resurrection, and had done other unspecified signs while in Jerusalem.
3. Previously, Jesus had turned water into wine in a city called Cana, which was in the Galilee region. He was now back in that city where this miracle had happened.
4. V. 45– John makes much of the fact that the Galileans had seen Jesus do many things.
5. Jesus knew that people could be excited by what they saw, but that that excitement did not automatically count as faith. See John 2:23, 24
6. Vs. 46, 47– In the midst of this excited crowd, a man came to Jesus with a request.
7. V. 48- Jesus seems to speak out a strange and inappropriate statement.

a. He doesn’t receive the man in a gentle way, but comes across as harsh.
b. V. 48– Jesus is either speaking to the man and to the crowd.
c. This man had come about 20 miles to see Jesus.

8. G. Campbell Morgan- “If belief is nothing more than admiration for the spectacular, it will create in multitudes applause” (but it won’t make converts or followers of Jesus).
9. Jesus wants to do more than heal this man’s son. He wants to send him home as a man of faith in Christ. Jesus tests the man’s request. Is it excitement, or true faith?

B. Modern Application

1. It is very easy for people to become excited about Jesus, but not have saving faith.
2. They get excited about apparent signs and wonders, fiery preachers, blue lit stages with moody and loud worship, funny entertaining preachers, nice buildings with Starbucks coffee shops, and super fun children’s ministry. (some of these things are not bad)
3. There is no shortage of gimmicks that some churches use to get people in the door.
There is no shortage of spiritual consumers that want to be entertained, tickled, and given something moral to do, and to become part of something bigger than themselves.
4. Signs can and do come from God, but Satan can do false miracles. (2 Thessalonians 2:9)
5. Individually and corporately, we don’t need to hype up Jesus to get people to believe.
6. Instead, we need to live holy, loving lives, serve people, and share the Gospel.

III. True Faith Vs. 49-54

A. The Historical Setting

1. This man was a nobleman, a man of stature, prominence, influence, power.
2. He was probably not used to being challenged or to taking orders from anyone.
3. He is not put off by Jesus’ challenging remark, but responds in faith.
4. He asks Jesus to “come”. According to his depth of faith, Jesus needs to be there.
5. Jesus wants to take him deeper. He refuses to go, but tells the man to go, his son lives.
6. V. 50– This is a very significant statement. The man believed Jesus, and did not try to control or manipulate the situation. His faith was challenged, and he responded.
7. Previously, he seems to have been attracted to Jesus because of what he had seen or heard Jesus do, but now his faith is simply based on the promise of Jesus.
8. Guzik- Why didn’t Jesus use any dramatic effects in this healing? Many long to see dramatic effects in God’s work; and sometimes God provides them. But to real faith, they are not necessary. Many times, dramatic effects in healing spur weak and ignorant faith; a mature faith does not need them.
9. The result was faith in the father’s heart, as well as in his household.

B. Modern Application- Are you “excited” about Jesus, or do you have true faith?

1. Can you accept God at His word, or do you try to make Him meet your parameters?