THE healing of the nobleman’s son (John 4:43-54) brings to us certain precious truths that apply along the entire range of experience. Our Lord was a prophet without honor in His own country (a statement declared in each of the Gospels), so we may take heart if we fare similarly.
So He comes into Galilee, and a nobleman besought Him for the healing of his son. Our Lord tests him by saying: “Except ye see signs and wonders, ye will not believe.” It is a mark of most of us today that we are “from Missouri” and still demand visible evidences before we believe. How much more blessed, our Lord told Thomas, are they who have not seen, yet believe (John 20:29). The man continues to plead for help, and Jesus tells him, “Go thy way; thy son liveth.” That probably was not the way the man expected it to be done, but he believed and went his way—and the miracle took place at that moment. There are times when we do not see our prayer answered as we expected, visibly, right before our eyes. We are merely told to go our way and trust God for the rest, like the lepers who, as they went, were cleansed (Luke 17:14). We wanted things to happen at once, but our orders are to go trusting and leave the rest with God. Can you so trust Him, going on when to all appearances nothing has changed, “yet believing”?
The nobleman reaches home and finds the wonder wrought—and wrought at the same moment that the Lord said, “Go thy way.” Observe that we read twice that the nobleman believed—once in verse 50, when our Lord sent him on his way, and again in verse 53, when he reached home and found the boy healed. He believed first because of Christ’s word, as we are plainly told, and the second time because of Christ’s work. There is a faith that takes God at His word before we see any wonder wrought; then there is a deeper faith, a surety, that comes when we behold His work. The first faith depends upon promise; the second grows out of performance. If we have enough faith to do His will, we shall know of the doctrine. We shall be as the Samaritans who first believed the word of the woman, then believed upon their own experience (John 4:42).
I have thought of that nobleman on his way home. What doubts may have assailed him! How he might have said: “Suppose I am mistaken? How do I know this will take place: I certainly do not feel any different!” It seems hard that our Lord did not go along with this troubled man, but He was teaching him to know that to believe is to see.
Many times we wish the Lord would “go along” with us when we are in trouble—in some visible sign of His love and care—but, as with Martha and Mary, He tarries in the same place where He is. Ah, it is only that we might know that His word is enough to go our way upon… and that when He gives us His word, He surely will follow it with His work. Do you believe Him enough to “go your way” though no sign is given, trusting the evidence to await you at the end of the venture of faith rather than at the beginning? Mind you, the miracle was performed when the man believed, and so it ever is, but the visible evidence often lies further on. Believe God’s Word, and you will believe again in the certainty of His work.