“So he came again to Cana in Galilee, where he had made the water wine. And at Capernaum there was an official whose son was ill. When this man heard that Jesus had come from Judea to Galilee, he went to him and asked him to come down and heal his son, for he was at the point of death. So Jesus said to him, “Unless you see signs and wonders you will not believe.” The official said to him, “Sir, come down before my child dies.” Jesus said to him, “Go; your son will live.” The man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him and went on his way. As he was going down, his servants met him and told him that his son was recovering. So he asked them the hour when he began to get better, and they said to him, “Yesterday at the seventh hour the fever left him.” The father knew that was the hour when Jesus had said to him, “Your son will live.” And he himself believed, and all his household. 54 This was now the second sign that Jesus did when he had come from Judea to Galilee.” (John 4:46-54 (ESV)
So I don’t know what happened yesterday, evidently not the whole sermon posted. I fixed that this morning. Today we finish up with the fourth chapter of John.
Jesus said to him, “Unless you see signs and wonders you will not believe.” This is a recurring theme with Jesus. He is at times uneasy about performing signs, they distract from his preaching, from the good news that he has to share. “An evil generation seeks a sign.” The signs are supposed to fortify faith. But if a person won’t believe, Jesus knows the signs won’t help.
The official doesn’t argue with Jesus. He doesn’t begin to talk about how much faith he has to try to convince Jesus. He just lays out his need. And when Jesus tells him, “Go: your son will live”. He goes knowing that it is done. It does however fortify the man’s faith when he hears that it has been done. He himself believed and all his household.
And all his household. The faith of the father was decisive for the rest of the family. It’s amazing how this happens so often in the New Testament. The leader of the house determines the faith of the house. “As for me and my house we will serve the Lord.” That’s how Joshua put it. There was no sense of letting the kids grow up and make a choice for themselves when the time was ready. No, God commands that we raise them up in the faith. And by that he doesn’t mean merely the morals accepted by society, he means the faith. In the Old Testament you circumcised your son at 8 days. In the New Testament you baptize them as soon as possible knowing that the promise is for you and for your children. Christian parents have an obligation to this both to their Lord and the children whom they love. Ignore at your own peril. It can’t help but be a rejection of one’s own baptism, a rejection of the faith not to listen to the Lord in these matters. And it isn’t as if your children aren’t free to decide for themselves later on in life anyhow. When they leave the nest and make their own home they are free to do any number of things you wouldn’t allow them to do under your roof. But at least by then you know you have instructed them in what is right. You have taught them those things that are important to you, and aren’t important to you. And when you forsake to bring them up in the faith, well then you have taught them to despise it, and the sins of the Father’s are visited “upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate me.” Some harsh law, yes it is. It’s very harsh the things God has to say about those who abuse their children by not raising them in the faith, by denying them the grace of God. I’d like to bring this back to gospel somehow. Well it stands before you today. Even today. It is the day of salvation, repent, be baptized, believe, know the grace of God and the forgiveness of sins in your own life, but for the love of God, share it with your children and do not deny them, but rather bring them unto Jesus that they might possess the kingdom of heaven.