What is our faith based on? This was something people struggled with in Jesus’ time. Many had to have signs in order to believe. In reality they weren’t believing so much in God as they were the miracles. Times haven’t changed.
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.” – John 4:46-48, ESV
I’m reminded of a famous person who once said he left the Church because he wasn’t seeing the miracles described in the Bible. He wasn’t seeing people come back to life. He wasn’t seeing people healed of blindness or crippled limbs simply by a pastor asking God for healing. Basically, without the miracles, he didn’t have faith.
This was the problem Jesus was confronting. It took a lot for the official to reach out to Jesus. Jesus’ miracles were becoming known at that point, but so was His contention with the Sanhedrin and the Pharisees. For the official, asking for Jesus’ help was a big political risk. Wasn’t this enough for Jesus? By Jesus’ response, it wasn’t. It wasn’t enough to believe in the miracles. One had to believe in the God who delivered the miracles, whether the miracles happened or not, whether the person (Jesus) was there or not. This is where the official struggled.
Jesus’ words caused a crisis of faith. It forced the official to consider who or what he truly believed in. In this case, as we will look at tomorrow, he chose to believe that God could deliver because He was God. As a result, God delivered the miracle.
However, God doesn’t always deliver the miracle. Our faith in God has to be able to handle that. God’s miracles are to glorify Him. They testify to who He is. They don’t just get handed out to satisfy our whims and desires, no matter how noble those may be. We have to go back to the example set by Daniel’s companions, Shadrach, Meshaq, and Abednego, who proclaimed that God could deliver them, but even if He didn’t, that didn’t change the fact that He was God.
What is your faith in? When God doesn’t act in the way you desire, when He doesn’t answer prayer in the way you want, is your faith okay with that? Is He still Lord over you? If the unthinkable happens in your life and great tragedy visits you, will He still be the one you turn to, the one you trust above all else? Or can your faith be shaken? Admittedly, we don’t truly know the answer if we don’t experience such an event. But we can certainly question ourselves, examine the details of our faith, and pursue God first and foremost. He wants believers in Him, not His miracles.