Taking God at His Word
“‘Go,’ Jesus replied, ‘your son will live.’ The man took Jesus at his word and departed.”--John 4:50
Last night at our Awaken Bible Study our small group ran across this verse in the book of John. The context is that of a desperate nobleman whose son is at the “point of death.” This man had heard that Jesus was in the area, went over twenty miles to find him, and upon finding him--he begged. The character of this nobleman is that of desperation, of stopping at nothing until his son was healed.
Though Jesus rebukes the man for limiting his power to a specific location, the nobleman keeps asking. He does not care: just come heal my son! Jesus stays true to form and rewards the desperate persistence. He tells him to leave, “your son will live.”
How would you have responded in this situation? Would you have believed him? Would you have kept asking for Jesus to come to your house to save your son--even after he said that he will live? I find the official’s reaction profound yet simple: He took Jesus at his word and departed.
It would be impossible for the man to have taken Jesus at his word and continued to ask him to come heal his son. Why? Because actions reveal beliefs. The official did not just believe Jesus, he also acted on that belief—and turned back home. The story ends happily, with not just the physical healing of the official’s child, but with the nobleman and his family ultimately believing in Jesus.
What about us today? How can we take Jesus at His Word?
1. We must know the words of God. We cannot take Jesus at his word like the nobleman unless we are informed as to what his words are. That is why it is so important to read the Bible. The Bible is the true Word of God that is filled with: the way of salvation, promises, commands, blessings, wisdom--truth that is just as relevant today as it ever was. In order to take Jesus words to heart, we first need to know what he is saying to us. We do this by primarily reading the Bible.
2. We must take God’s words to heart. It is not enough to just read the Bible, simply filling our intellectual coffers with facts and details. No, we must take his words to heart. We must be changed by his words, believing his words just as the official did when Jesus told him that his son was healed. We also have some help with this if we but ask (John 16:8-13).
3. We must remind ourselves the words of God. We are forgetful beings and our feelings fluctuate daily (some more than others). How can we stay true to the words of God if we do not: dwell on them, hide them in our hearts, and continually preach even the most basic tenants to ourselves? We cannot and therefore: "preaching to ourselves" is a habit that must be developed quickly or we will forget.
4. We must act on the words of God. Like the official who believed and then departed, we also need to act on what we believe. I would like to think that all of our actions will just be the natural overflow of the heart, but human nature seems a lot more fickle. There then has to be intentional obedience on our part as we understand God’s words. Do you really believe they are true? Then prove it. Let’s stop talking—let’s act.