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Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

John 4:48

So Jesus said to him, "Unless you people see signs and wonders, you simply will not believe."
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Nave's Topical Bible - Capernaum;   Children;   Faith;   Jesus, the Christ;   Miracles;   Nobleman;   Sign;   Unbelief;   Thompson Chain Reference - Curiosity;   Distrust;   Faith-Unbelief;   Infidelity;   Scepticism;   Sign-Seekers;   Signs Sought;   Unbelief;   Unbelievers;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Miracles;   Miracles of Christ, the;  
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Cana;   Miracle;   Shechem;   Wells and Springs;   Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Healing;   John, gospel of;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Miracle;   Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - Commentary;   Patience;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Jesus Christ;   Nobleman;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Diseases;   Galilean;   John, the Gospel of;   Miracles, Signs, Wonders;   Sign;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Faith;   Lazarus;   Miracles;   Mss;   Sign;   Woman;   Wonders;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Authority of Christ;   Children;   Coming to Christ;   Cures;   Dates (2);   Faith ;   Individuality;   Joanna ;   John (the Apostle);   Lazarus;   Logia;   Miracles;   Miracles (2);   Popularity ;   Struggles of Soul;   Temptation;   Unbelief (2);   Wonders;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Miracles;   The Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary - Samaria;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Chief parables and miracles in the bible;   Miracle;  
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - John, Gospel of;   Sign;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - New Testament;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

Verse 48. Except ye see signs and wonders, c.] Our Lord does not tell this man that he had no faith, but that he had not enough. If he had had none, he would not have come from Capernaum to Cana, to beg him to heal his son. If he had had enough, he would have been contented with recommending his son to our Lord, without entreating him to go to Capernaum to heal him which intimates that he did not believe our Lord could do it at a distance. But the words are not addressed to the nobleman alone, but to all the Galilean Jews in general; for our Lord uses the plural number, which he never does when addressing an individual. These people differed widely from the people of Sychar: they had neither a love of the truth, nor simplicity of heart; and would not believe any thing from heaven, unless forced on their minds by the most striking miracles. They were favoured with the ministry of John Baptist; but, as that was not accompanied with miracles, it was not generally credited. They require the miracles of Christ, in order that they may credit the advent of the Messiah. There are many like these Galileans still in the world: they deny that God can have any influence among men; and as to the operations of the Holy Spirit, they, in the genuine Galilean spirit, boldly assert that they will not credit any man who professes to be made a partaker of them, unless he work a miracle in proof of his pretensions! These persons should know that the grace of working miracles was very different from that by which a man is saved; and that the former might exist, even in the most astonishing measure, where the latter did not. See 1 Corinthians 13:2.

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These files are public domain.
Bibliographical Information
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on John 4:48". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". 1832.

Bridgeway Bible Commentary

25. Son of an official healed (John 4:46-54)

Jesus was in the town of Cana when a government official arrived from Capernaum with an urgent request for Jesus to heal his son. Again Jesus was careful not to perform miracles to satisfy those who thought of him as merely a wonder-worker. But when he saw the man’s distress, he accepted what little faith the man had and announced that the son would live (John 4:46-50). The man accepted Jesus’ word and set out for home. When he learnt of the time and circumstances of his son’s healing, he came to complete faith, along with his household (John 4:51-54).

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Flemming, Donald C. "Commentary on John 4:48". "Brideway Bible Commentary". 2005.

Coffman Commentaries on the Bible

Jesus therefore said unto him, Except ye see signs and wonders, ye will in no wise believe.

Except ye see ... is plural, thus it seems that Jesus was here identifying this man with that extensive class of Jews of the same attitude, suggesting that the nobleman himself was a Jew.

Signs and wonders ... is not a reference to two kinds of miracles, but rather to the two qualities in every miracle. A wonder is something exciting, phenomenal, and extraordinary; but the same deed, viewed in the light shed upon the person of Jesus, is a sign of the Lord's deity. If the nobleman had indeed been in Jerusalem and had witnessed Jesus' mighty wonders there, the rebuke would have reference to the weakness of his faith in the light of the evidence he had witnessed. The rebuke, however, was so stated as to encourage the nobleman to believe more fully.

Copyright Statement
Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.
Bibliographical Information
Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on John 4:48". "Coffman Commentaries on the Bible". Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

Except ye see signs ... - This was spoken not to the nobleman only, but to the Galileans generally. The Samaritans had believed without any miracle. The Galileans, he said, were less disposed to believe him than even they were; and though he had performed miracles enough to convince them, yet, unless they continually saw them, they would not believe.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Bibliographical Information
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on John 4:48". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". 1870.

Chuck Smith Bible Commentary

Chapter 4

Now when the Lord knew how the Pharisees had heard that Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John, (though Jesus himself baptized none, but his disciples,) ( John 4:1 )

Now this can mean one of two things. Jesus baptized not, but His disciples, or, He only baptized His disciples; or, He didn't baptize at all, it was only His disciples who were baptizing. So, you have a choice. But when Jesus heard that the Pharisees had heard these things,

He left Judea ( John 4:2 ),

The Pharisees had heard now that He was baptizing even more than John, so He left the area of Judea, the area near Jerusalem, where most of the Pharisees hung out.

and he departed and went again into the area of Galilee ( John 4:3 ).

From Judea, on into Galilee.

And he had to go through Samaria ( John 4:4 ).

For Samaria lies between Judea, Jerusalem and the Galilee. The area of Samaria lies between the two, through the middle part of the country. Now,

He came to a city of Samaria, which was called Sychar [or Shechem], near a parcel of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph. Now Jacob's well was there. Jesus therefore, being wearied with his journey, sat on the well: for it was about noon. And there came a woman of Samaria to draw water: and Jesus said unto her, Give me a drink. (For his disciples were gone away unto the city to buy meat.) Then said the woman of Samaria unto him, How is it that you, being a Jew, are asking me for a drink, for I am a woman of Samaria? for the Jews have no dealings with Samaritans. Jesus answered and said unto her, If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that said unto you, Give me a drink; you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water. And the woman said unto him, Sir, you have nothing to draw with, and the well is deep: where are you going to get this living water? Are you greater than our father Jacob, which gave us the well, and drank from it himself, and his children, and his cattle? And Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinks of this water shall thirst again: but whosoever drinks of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life. And the woman said unto him, Sir, give me some of this water, so I will never thirst again, and I won't have to come out here and draw water everyday ( John 4:5-15 ).

Now, up to this point, this woman is being rather saucy with Jesus, sort of pert and cute. She's not a very upright woman. In fact, she's sort of a low-moral character. She's probably very well known in Shechem because of her not-so-illustrious past. She's got a bad reputation. She's probably known as a flirt and available. And probably that kind who is pretty worldly-wise and able to handle men pretty well, and that type which...every man is sort of a challenge. So, when she came to draw water and saw this person sitting there, and He said to her, "Will you give me a drink?" rather than just obliging and giving Him a drink without saying anything, she has to open up the door and ask him, "How come you're asking me for a drink? You're a Jew and I'm a Samaritan, and we're not supposed to have dealings with each other." And Jesus said, "If you knew the gift of God and who it was that was asking you for a drink, you would have been asking Him for a drink."

Now, I'm sure that her motives in talking to Jesus at this point are far different from His. But she continued on in saying, "Why would I ask you for a drink? That well is deep and you don't have anything to draw it with. " She said, "Where are you going to get this living water? Are you greater than Jacob who gave us this well?" Jesus said to her, "Whosoever drinks of this water shall thirst again."

When Jesus is talking to this woman about water, about living water, she did not understand what He was talking about, even, I'm sure, as Nicodemus did not fully understand what Jesus was talking about when He first said, "You've got to be born again." You know, he got this mental picture of his going back into his mother's womb. Jesus was talking again about spiritual things and she was thinking only of material things. But Jesus said to her, "If you drink of the spiritual water, the living water, you'll never thirst again." "Oh, I'd like some of this water so I don't have to come out here and drink again, so I don't get thirsty any more."

Now, the statement, "He who drinks of this water shall thirst again," there Jesus is referring to that physical water in the well. Carrying it one step further, Jesus, in talking about thirst, spoke not of physical thirst but of spiritual thirst. Man is a threefold being: he is body, mind and spirit. And there are physical thirsts, there are emotional thirsts, and is a spiritual thirst. Jesus said to the woman, "If you're going to drink of this water, you're going to thirst again." That can be said of every physical experience that you might possess or seek or find.

There are always those who feel, "If I could just..." and you fill in the blank. "...then I would be happy and satisfied." What's in your blank? "If I just had blank, I would be satisfied and happy!" It seems that man is always setting out a goal or a thing whereby he feels that, "If I could just achieve, if I could just attain, if I could just have, then I would be satisfied. I wouldn't be thirsty any more!" Jesus said, "Not so! You drink of this water and you will thirst again."

Now, you ought to be able to prove that in your own mind, because surely in times past, you have set those temporary goals that you felt, "If I could just have a new bicycle I wouldn't want anything again as long as I live." I know there was a time when I lusted after a bicycle. And I thought, "If I could just have that bicycle, oh, I would just be so happy. I would never want anything again as long as I lived." And, I got that bicycle. But it wasn't long before..."If I just had a speedometer on this bicycle, I wouldn't want anything again, you know." And then, "If I just had a headlight with a generator, oh, I would never want anything again." So, there have been those intermediate goals that I have achieved and attained, but you know what? I thirsted again. They didn't fully satisfy me. As Jesus said, "Drink of this water, you're going to thirst again." And it has been true in my life, as I have achieved those goals, those intermediate goals that I had established, and I thought, "Oh, if I could just have," and I then had, but it didn't satisfy. I thirsted again. But Jesus said, "If you drink of the water that I give, you'll never thirst again. It'll be like a well just springing up inside of you." The woman said, "Sir, I'll take some of that water."

And Jesus said, Well, first go call your husband. And she said, I don't have any husband ( John 4:16-17 ).

I'm available.

And the Jesus said to her, You have well said, I have no husband: for you have had five husbands; and you've finally just moved in with a man without marrying him ( John 4:17-18 ).

Now, notice the whole switch of her attitude. No longer is she a cute little flirt. Her mask has been ripped off. You know, a lot of people go around wearing masks. They have a cute, clever exterior. "I can handle myself, I know how to get around, I don't need any help, I've got it made." But when that mask has been removed, underneath there is a great thirst and a great need, and the thirst and the need that man has is for God, every man, no matter who they are. You may try to pretend that you don't need God. "That's for weak people! I don't need to commit my life to God, I don't need God, I can handle it, I'm able to make my way in life. The battle is for the strong and I'm strong. I don't need help." And you may put up a very tough, formidable front, a mask. But deep down inside every man's heart is crying out for God. No matter what kind of a front you may be putting up. And when Jesus took away her mask, when suddenly she realized she wasn't kidding this fellow, "He's looking right inside of me and He knows what is inside of me. He knows the truth about me. I'm not fooling Him at all." The mask was gone. Her spirit was open and naked and revealed; and she knew it. And so, suddenly, the whole attitude and tenor changes, and what is her question?

Our fathers worshipped in this mountain; and you say, in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship ( John 4:20 ).

The question was, "Where do I find God? Our fathers said we find God in this mountain, you say we find God in Jerusalem. Where can I find God?" And down deep inside of every man there is that haunting question, "Where can I find God?" Because we all need God, no matter what kind of a front we may be putting up to others. Down deep inside all of us need God, and there is that cry of our hearts, "Where can I find God?" And so her whole attitude changed, "Sir, I perceive you're a prophet."

"Our fathers say we are to worship God in these mountains," that is in Mount Gerizim, which is there in Samaria, the mountains upon which the tribes of Israel stood on the top and pronounced God's blessings when they came into the land, opposite to Mount Ebal, where the curses were pronounced.

And so, the Samaritans, those people who inhabited the northern province after the Syrian captivity, those who were not accepted into Judaism when the Jews returned from the Babylonian captivity, because they could not prove the purity of their lineage, who had intermarried with the people brought into the land by the Assyrians, sort of half-breeds, were called Samaritans. And because they were not allowed by the Jews in Jerusalem to help with the temple or to enter into the worship there, they began to establish their own worship center on Mount Gerizim, making their own sacrifices there and creating quite a breach between the Jews and the Samaritans, not dealing with each other. And they began to say that it was on Mount Gerizim that Abraham had offered Isaac. And they also affirm that on Mount Gerizim, Solomon had built the temple, that this is the place to worship God. And they would discourage the Samaritans from going to Jerusalem to worship God. God is found in this mountain, God is worshipped in this mountain.

Now even to the present day, the Samaritans, and, of course, they have dwindled, there are only about twelve hundred Samaritans left in the world. And they are fast passing off the scene, because of the inbreeding, most of them are sort of on the lunatic fringe, because they won't marry outside of that close knit group, and so the intermarriages are too close and there's not been the infusion of outside blood, so you've got idiocy going among them now. And they are fast passing away. But to the present day, they still offer a sacrificial lamb on Gerezim to the present day. They still affirm, those Samaritans that are left, that Gerizim is the place where men find God. But basically her question is, "Where can I find God?" and that's the question that burns in the heart of every man.

Jesus said, Woman, believe me, the hour is coming, when you will neither in this mountain, nor at Jerusalem, worship the Father ( John 4:21 ).

And then He said something that is very revealing.

You do not know what you worship ( John 4:22 ):

How true that is of so many people today. They really don't know what they are worshipping. He said,

we know what we worship; for salvation is of the Jews. But the hour is coming, and even now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father is seeking such to worship him. For God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth ( John 4:22-24 ).

Where's God found? He's found wherever you are. He surrounds us. God is not localized, nor can you localize God. So often in our minds we make that mistake of localizing God. How glorious it is to gather tonight in the presence of God here in the sanctuary. Well, that's true in a sense, but yet, in another sense, God doesn't just dwell here in the sanctuary. God dwells in your car as you're driving to the sanctuary. God dwells in your house as you're yelling at your kids getting ready to go to the sanctuary, because they're not getting dressed fast enough. We need to become more conscious of the all-prevailing presence of God wherever I am. God is a spirit; I am surrounded by Him. For in Him we live and we move and we have our being. And you cannot localize Gerizim, or Jerusalem, or in any other locality. He doesn't dwell there any more than any other place. God dwells in the hearts and in the lives of every child of God, and He surrounds us all. In Him we live, we move, we have our being. God is a spirit, and if you want to worship Him, you've got to worship Him in spirit. That's spiritual worship of God and in truth.

So the woman said unto him, I know that when the Messiah comes, which is called Christ ( John 4:25 ):

The word Christ is a Greek word. It is the translation into Greek of the Hebrew word Messiah. And so, you have the Greek word Christ, but it is a word that is the translation of the word Messiah. So John points that out here. "I know that when the Messiah comes," which in Greek is called Christ, Christos.

when he is come, he will tell us all things. And Jesus said unto her, I who speak unto you am he ( John 4:25-26 ).

Can you imagine what she must have felt at that moment? "I was flirting with Him?" "I who speak unto you am He."

And upon this the disciples returned, and they marveled that he was talking with the woman: yet none of them said, What are you seeking? or, Why are you talking with her? And the woman then left her waterpot, and went her way unto the city, and said to the men ( John 4:27-28 ),

The women probably wouldn't talk to her.

Come, and see a man, which told me everything I ever did: is not this the Messiah? And they went out of the city, and come unto him. And in the meantime his disciples prayed him, saying, Master, eat. But he said unto them, I have meat that you don't know about. Therefore said his disciples one to another, Has someone brought him something to eat? And Jesus said unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work ( John 4:29-34 ).

And interesting, the phrase "to finish His work." The work of redemption was not yet finished. Later, on the cross Jesus will cry, "It is finished." But God's work of redemption was not yet complete. And so, "I came not to do my own will, I came to do the will of Him who sent Me." Jesus was a man on a mission, sent by the Father to finish the Father's work, the work of redemption of mankind.

And then He said,

Don't say, There are four months, and then the harvest will come? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields ( John 4:35 );

Now at this point, the men of Shechem were coming out through the fields to the well where Jesus was. And most of them wore these white turbans, and so, as you looked on the fields you saw these white turbans, all of them, descending from the city towards the well. And Jesus said to His disciples, "Don't say four months and the harvest will come. Look unto the fields right now."

behold they are white unto harvest ( John 4:35 ).

Hungry souls searching for God. Where can you find God?

He that reaps receives wages, and gathers fruit unto life eternal: and both he that sows and he that reaps may rejoice together. And herein is that saying true, One sows, another reaps ( John 4:36-37 ).

Paul said, "One plants, one waters. God gives the increase."

I sent you to reap whereon you bestowed no labor: other men labored, and you are entered into their labors. And many of the Samaritans believed on him for the saying of the woman, which testified, He told me everything I ever did. So when the Samaritans were come unto him, they begged him that he would stay with them: and so he remained there for two days. And many more believed because of his own word; then they said unto the woman, Now we believe, not because of what you said: for we have heard him ourselves, and we know that this is indeed the Messiah, the Savior of the world. Now after two days he departed from there, and went into Galilee. For Jesus himself testified, that a prophet has no honor in his own country. And when he was come into Galilee, the Galileans received him, having seen all of the things which he did at Jerusalem at the feast: for they also went unto the feast. So, he came again to Cana of Galilee ( John 4:38-46 ),

Now Cana was a little village there in the valley as you're coming from Nazareth, up over the top of the hill, you drop into this little valley and Cana sits there in the valley, and it's on the road from Nazareth to the Sea of Galilee. So, as He came to Cana, it's probably twenty miles from the Sea of Galilee to Cana. And so, He came unto Cana of Galilee,

where he made the water wine. And there was a certain nobleman, whose son was sick at Capernaum ( John 4:46 ).

Now Capernaum was at least twenty miles from Cana.

And when he heard that Jesus was come out of Judea back to Galilee, he went unto him, and besought him that he would come down, and heal his son: because he was at the point of death ( John 4:47 ).

He's asking Jesus to go from Cana down to Capernaum, twenty miles, to heal his son. Of course, if you've got a son that's dying and you're the dad, you're going to be desperate. You're going to do your best if you feel that, "Here's a man that can help my dying son."

And Jesus said unto him, Except you see signs and wonders, you will not believe. And the nobleman said unto him, Sir, come or my child is going to die. And Jesus said unto him, Go your way; your son lives. And the man believed the word that Jesus had spoken to him, and he went his way ( John 4:48-50 ).

He believed the word so much he didn't even go home. He just believed it. Because, the next day

As he was going down, his servants met him, and said, Your son is alright. And he inquired and he said, At what hour did the change take place? And they said, At about one o'clock in the afternoon. And he knew that that was exactly the time that Jesus said, Your son lives ( John 4:51-53 ):

Now you see, if it were one o'clock in the afternoon and he was really concerned for his son, he would have taken off for Capernaum and probably could've made it there by evening on a fast jog. But he wasn't worried any more. He believed the word of Jesus. And so the father knew it was the same hour in which Jesus said unto him, "Your son lives."

and himself believed ( John 4:53 ),

That moment Jesus said it, and he believed it and it was.

and his whole house believed. This is again the second miracle that Jesus did [that is in Cana], when he was come out of Judea into Galilee ( John 4:53-54 ).

Now, in chapter 5, we leave Galilee and we go back to Jerusalem and to the pool of Bethesda and the events that were there. And John concentrates the most of his gospel with the ministry of Jesus around Jerusalem. It tells little about the ministry in Galilee, where the other gospels concentrate most on the Galilean ministry. So, John doesn't leave us long in Galilee before we go back to Jerusalem to the feast of the Jews there in Jerusalem. And so, we'll get into that next week, as we continue chapters 5 and 6 next week of the gospel according to John.

May the Lord be with you and bless and keep you in His love, and may your life be enriched daily this week as you study the Word and as you worship God in spirit and in truth. For God is seeking such to worship Him. May your life in Christ grow, be enriched and developed more and more, day-by-day, that you might come to that fullness that God would have you to experience, the fullness of His grace and love towards you through Jesus our Lord. So, may the Lord bless and keep, strengthen and guide, and give you just a totally beautiful week, walking in the Spirit and the love of Jesus Christ. "

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Copyright © 2014, Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa, Ca.
Bibliographical Information
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on John 4:48". "Chuck Smith Bible Commentary". 2014.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

E. Jesus’ resumption of His Galilean ministry 4:43-54

Jesus continued to move north, back into Galilee, where He healed a nobleman’s son.

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Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.
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Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on John 4:48". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". 2012.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

2. The second sign: healing the official’s Song of Solomon 4:46-54

This incident completes a cycle in John’s Gospel. Jesus performed His first sign in Cana (John 2:1), and now He returned and did another miracle there (John 4:46). There is even a second reference to Capernaum (John 2:12; John 4:46). John’s account of Jesus’ first miracle in Cana (John 2:11) ended with a reference to the weak faith of the Jews that rested only on miracles (John 2:23-25). His account of Jesus’ second miracle in Cana (John 4:54) opens with a similar reference (John 4:45; John 4:48). In short, this section seems to be an inclusio framed by two miracles in Cana with two conversations occurring between them. Jesus’ conversation with Nicodemus is typical of the reception that the Jews gave Him, but His conversation with the Samaritan woman shows the reception that non-Jews more typically gave Him. We see these two attitudes toward Jesus not only in the Gospel accounts of His ministry but also in Acts. The center section that the structure highlights is essentially an exposition of Jesus’ mission (John 3:16-36).

A    Jesus’ first sign in Cana John 2:1-11

    B    A reference to Capernaum, Jesus’ headquarters John 2:12

        C    Hostility toward Jesus in Jerusalem John 2:13-25

            D    Nicodemus’ response to Jesus John 3:1-15

                E    The importance of Jesus’ mission John 3:16-36

            D’    The Samaritan woman’s response to Jesus John 4:1-38

        C’    Acceptance of Jesus in Samaria John 4:39-42

    B’    A reference to Galilee, Jesus’ major ministry arena John 4:43-45

A’    Jesus’ second sign in Cana John 4:46-54

This pericope (John 4:46-54) constitutes the closing incident in John’s account of Jesus’ early public ministry (chs. 2-4). It shows Him returning to Cana, Nathanael’s hometown (John 21:2), where He performed another significant miracle. John evidently included it to show that Jesus’ demonstration of His authority resulted in some Jews believing on Him.

"Both the miracles performed at Cana . . . are thus shown to have been prompted by trust. Mary trusted her Son to do something to relieve the embarrassment of their host at the wedding. The father of the sick boy was equally confident that he could rely on Jesus’ help. Both miracles are also shown to have resulted in a personal surrender to Jesus which is full Christian faith. His disciples believed on him after the water had been turned into wine; the father and the rest of his household believed as the result of the healing of the boy: and in both cases the verb in the original is an inceptive aorist ’they put their faith in Him’." [Note: Tasker, pp. 82-83.]

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Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on John 4:48". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". 2012.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

The official was responding as most of the Galileans did. Jesus used the plural "you" indicating that this man’s unbelief was typical of most of his countrymen. Jesus’ mention of "signs" (Gr. semeia) pointed to the significance of His miracles. This is the only place in John’s Gospel where "wonders" occurs. This word (Gr. terata) stresses the wonder or awe that miracles produce in those who witness them. Jesus’ use of the word suggests that the people wanted to see miracles just so they could marvel at them.

Jesus implied that the man did not believe in Him. He did, of course, believe that Jesus could heal His son, but he had not yet come to believe that He could heal from a distance. Jesus viewed that second level of belief as the significant one. The official may well have thought, What do you mean I do not believe on you? The man probably felt rebuked by Jesus’ comment, but Jesus’ aim was to bring him to deeper faith in Himself.

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These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on John 4:48". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". 2012.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

Then said Jesus unto him,.... With some degree of roughness in his speech, and severity in his countenance, in a way of reproof for his unbelief, as if he could not heal his son without going down to Capernaum along with him:

except ye see signs and wonders ye will not believe. This was the cast of the Jews every where, both in Judea and Galilee; they required signs and miracles to be wrought, in confirmation of Christ's being the Messiah, and which indeed was but right; and Christ did perform them for that purpose: but their sin of unbelief lay in this, that they wanted still more and more signs; they could not be contented with what they had seen, but required more, being sluggish and backward to believe. Our Lord seems to say this chiefly for the sake of the Galilaeans, that were about him; who, though they might be acquainted with his former miracles, when among them, of turning water into wine, and had seen his wondrous works at the feast at Jerusalem, yet were very desirous of seeing more, and perhaps very pressing for this cure.

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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rights Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855
Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on John 4:48". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". 1999.

Matthew Henry's Complete Commentary on the Bible

The Nobleman's Son Restored.

      43 Now after two days he departed thence, and went into Galilee.   44 For Jesus himself testified, that a prophet hath no honour in his own country.   45 Then when he was come into Galilee, the Galilæans received him, having seen all the things that he did at Jerusalem at the feast: for they also went unto the feast.   46 So Jesus came again into Cana of Galilee, where he made the water wine. And there was a certain nobleman, whose son was sick at Capernaum.   47 When he heard that Jesus was come out of Judæa into Galilee, he went unto him, and besought him that he would come down, and heal his son: for he was at the point of death.   48 Then said Jesus unto him, Except ye see signs and wonders, ye will not believe.   49 The nobleman saith unto him, Sir, come down ere my child die.   50 Jesus saith unto him, Go thy way; thy son liveth. And the man believed the word that Jesus had spoken unto him, and he went his way.   51 And as he was now going down, his servants met him, and told him, saying, Thy son liveth.   52 Then enquired he of them the hour when he began to amend. And they said unto him, Yesterday at the seventh hour the fever left him.   53 So the father knew that it was at the same hour, in the which Jesus said unto him, Thy son liveth: and himself believed, and his whole house.   54 This is again the second miracle that Jesus did, when he was come out of Judæa into Galilee.

      In these verses we have,

      I. Christ's coming into Galilee, John 4:43; John 4:43. Though he was as welcome among the Samaritans as he could be any where, and had better success, yet after two days he left them, not so much because they were Samaritans, and he would not confirm those in their prejudices against him who said, He is a Samaritan (John 8:48; John 8:48), but because he must preach to other cities,Luke 4:43. He went into Galilee, for there he spent much of his time. Now see here,

      1. Whither Christ went; into Galilee, into the country of Galilee, but not to Nazareth, which was strictly his own country. He went among the villages, but declined going to Nazareth, the head city, for a reason here given, which Jesus himself testified, who knew the temper of his countrymen, the hearts of all men, and the experiences of all prophets, and it is this, That a prophet has no honour in his own country. Note, (1.) Prophets ought to have honour, because God has put honour upon them and we do or may receive benefit by them. (2.) The honour due to the Lord's prophets has very often been denied them, and contempt put upon them. (3.) This due honour is more frequently denied them in their own country; see Luke 4:24; Matthew 13:57. Not that it is universally true (no rule but has some exceptions), but it holds for the most part. Joseph, when he began to be a prophet, was most hated by his brethren; David was disdained by his brother (1 Samuel 17:28); Jeremiah was maligned by the men of Anathoth (Jeremiah 11:21), Paul by his countrymen the Jews; and Christ's near kinsmen spoke most slightly of him, John 7:5; John 7:5. Men's pride and envy make them scorn to be instructed by those who once were their school-fellows and play-fellows. Desire of novelty, and of that which is far-fetched and dear-bought, and seems to drop out of the sky to them, makes them despise those persons and things which they have been long used to and know the rise of. (4.) It is a great discouragement to a minister to go among a people who have no value for him or his labours. Christ would not go to Nazareth, because he knew how little respect he should have there. (5.) It is just with God to deny his gospel to those that despise the ministers of it. They that mock the messengers forfeit the benefit of the message. Matthew 21:35; Matthew 21:41.

      2. What entertainment he met with among the Galileans in the country (John 4:45; John 4:45): They received him, bade him welcome, and cheerfully attended on his doctrine. Christ and his gospel are not sent in vain; if they have not honour with some, they shall have with others. Now the reason given why these Galileans were so ready to receive Christ is because they had seen the miracles he did at Jerusalem,John 4:45; John 4:45. Observe, (1.) They went up to Jerusalem at the feast, the feast of the passover. The Galileans lay very remote from Jerusalem, and their way thither lay through the country of the Samaritans, which was troublesome for a Jew to pass through, worse than Baca's valley of old; yet, in obedience to God's command, they went up to the feast, and there they became acquainted with Christ. Note, They that are diligent and constant in attending on public ordinances some time or other meet with more spiritual benefit than they expect. (2.) At Jerusalem they saw Christ's miracles, which recommended him and his doctrine very much to their faith and affections. The miracles were wrought for the benefit of those at Jerusalem; yet the Galileans who were accidentally there got more advantage by them than they did for whom they were chiefly designed. Thus the word preached to a mixed multitude may perhaps edify occasional hearers more than the constant auditory.

      3. What city he went to. When he would go to a city, he chose to go to Cana of Galilee, where he had made the water wine (John 4:46; John 4:46); thither he went, to see if there were any good fruits of that miracle remaining; and, if there were, to confirm their faith, and water what he had planted. The evangelist mentions this miracle here to teach us to keep in remembrance what we have seen of the works of Christ.

      II. His curing the nobleman's son that was sick of a fever. This story is not recorded by any other of the evangelists; it comes in Matthew 4:23.

      Observe, 1. Who the petitioner was, and who the patient: the petitioner was a nobleman; the patient was his son: There was a certain nobleman. Regulus (so the Latin), a little king; so called, either for the largeness of his estate, or the extent of his power, or the royalties that belonged to his manor. Some understand it as denoting his preferment--he was a courtier in some office about the king; others as denoting his party--he was an Herodian, a royalist, a prerogative-man, one that espoused the interests of the Herods, father and son; perhaps it was Chuza, Herod's steward (Luke 8:3), or Manæn, Herod's foster-brother, Acts 13:1. There were saints in Cæsar's household. The father a nobleman, and yet the son sick; for dignities and titles of honour will be no security to persons and families from the assaults of sickness and death. It was fifteen miles from Capernaum where this nobleman lived to Cana, where Christ now was; yet this affliction in his family sent him so far to Christ.

      2. How the petitioner made his application to the physician. Having heard that Jesus was come out of Judea to Galilee, and finding that he did not come towards Capernaum, but turned off towards the other side of the country, he went to him himself, and besought him to come and heal his son,John 4:47; John 4:47. See here, (1.) His tender affection to his son, that when he was sick he would spare no pains to get help for him. (2.) His great respect to our Lord Jesus, that he would come himself to wait upon him, when he might have sent a servant; and that he besought him, when, as a man in authority, some would think he might have ordered his attendance. The greatest men, when they come to God, must become beggars, and sue sub forma pauperis--as paupers. As to the errand he came upon, we may observe a mixture in his faith. [1.] There was sincerity in it; he did believe that Christ could heal his son, though his disease was dangerous. It is probable he had physicians to him, who had given him over; but he believed that Christ could cure him when the case seemed deplorable. [2.] Yet there was infirmity in his faith; he believed that Christ could heal his son, but, as it should seem, he thought he could not heal him at a distance, and therefore he besought him that he would come down and heal him, expecting, as Naaman did, that he would come and strike his hand over the patient, as if he could not cure him but by a physical contact. Thus we are apt to limit the Holy One of Israel, and to stint him to our forms. The centurion, a Gentile, a soldier, was so strong in faith as to say, Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof,Matthew 8:8. This nobleman, a Jew, must have Christ to come down, though it was a good day's journey, and despairs of a cure unless he come down, as if he must teach Christ how to work. We are encouraged to pray, but we are not allowed to prescribe: Lord, heal me; but, whether with a word or a touch, thy will be done.

      3. The gentle rebuke he met with in this address (John 4:48; John 4:48): Jesus said to him, "I see how it is; except you see signs and wonders, you will not believe, as the Samaritans did, though they saw no signs and wonders, and therefore I must work miracles among you." Though he was a nobleman, and now in grief about his son, and had shown great respect to Christ in coming so far to him, yet Christ gives him a reproof. Men's dignity in the world shall not exempt them from the rebukes of the word or providence; for Christ reproves not after the hearing of his ears, but with equity,Isaiah 11:3; Isaiah 11:4. Observe, Christ first shows him his sin and weakness, to prepare him for mercy, and then grants his request. Those whom Christ intends to honour with his favours he first humbles with his frowns. The Comforter shall first convince. Herod longed to see some miracle (Luke 23:8), and this courtier was of the same mind, and the generality of the people too. Now that which is blamed is, (1.) That, whereas they had heard by credible and incontestable report of the miracles he had wrought in other places, they would not believe except they saw them with their own eyes, Luke 4:23. They must be honoured, and they must be humoured, or they will not be convinced. Their country must be graced, and their curiosity gratified, with signs and wonders, or else, though the doctrine of Christ be sufficiently proved by miracles wrought elsewhere, they will not believe. Like Thomas, they will yield to no method of conviction but what they shall prescribe. (2.) That, whereas they had seen divers miracles, the evidence of which they could not gainsay, but which sufficiently proved Christ to be a teacher come from God, and should now have applied themselves to him for instruction in his doctrine, which by its native excellency would have gently led them on, in believing, to a spiritual perfection, instead of this they would go no further in believing than they were driven by signs and wonders. The spiritual power of the word did not affect them, did not attract them, but only the sensible power of miracles, which were for those who believe not, while prophesying was for those that believe,1 Corinthians 14:22. Those that admire miracles only, and despise prophesying, rank themselves with unbelievers.

      4. His continued importunity in his address (John 4:49; John 4:49): Sir, come down ere my child die. Kyrie--Lord; so it should be rendered. In this reply of his we have, (1.) Something that was commendable: he took the reproof patiently; he spoke to Christ respectfully. Though he was one of those that wore soft clothing, yet he could bear reproof. It is none of the privileges of peerage to be above the reproofs of the word of Christ; but it is a sign of a good temper and disposition in men, especially in great men, when they can be told of their faults and not be angry. And, as he did not take the reproof for an affront, so he did not take it for a denial, but still prosecuted his request, and continued to wrestle till he prevailed. Nay, he might argue thus: "If Christ heal my soul, surely he will heal my son; if he cure my unbelief, he will cure his fever." This is the method Christ takes, first to work upon us, and then to work for us; and there is hope if we find him entering upon this method. (2.) Something that was blameworthy, that was his infirmity; for, [1.] He seems to take no notice of the reproof Christ gave him, says nothing to it, by way either of confession or of excuse, for he is so wholly taken up with concern about his child that he can mind nothing else. Note, The sorrow of the world is a great prejudice to our profiting by the word of Christ. Inordinate care and grief are thorns that choke the good seed; see Exodus 6:9. [2.] He still discovered the weakness of his faith in the power of Christ. First, He must have Christ to come down, thinking that else he could do the child no kindness. It is hard to persuade ourselves that distance of time and place are no obstructions to the knowledge and power of our Lord Jesus; yet so it is: he sees afar off, for his word, the word of his power, runs very swiftly. Secondly, He believes that Christ could heal a sick child, but not that he could raise a dead child, and therefore, "O come down, ere my child die," as if then it would be too late; whereas Christ has the same power over death that he has over bodily diseases. He forgot that Elijah and Elisha had raised dead children; and is Christ's power inferior to theirs? Observe what haste he is in: Come down, ere my child die; as if there were danger of Christ's slipping his time. He that believeth does not make haste, but refers himself to Christ. "Lord, what and when and how thou pleasest."

      5. The answer of peace which Christ gave to his request at last (John 4:50; John 4:50): Go thy way, thy son liveth. Christ here gives us an instance, (1.) Of his power, that he not only could heal, but could heal with so much ease, without the trouble of a visit. Here is nothing said, nothing done, nothing ordered to be done, and yet the cure wrought: Thy son liveth. The healing beams of the Sun of righteousness dispense benign influences from one end of heaven to another, and there is nothing hid from the heat thereof. Though Christ is now in heaven, and his church on earth, he can send from above. This nobleman would have Christ come down and heal his son; Christ will heal his son, and not come down. And thus the cure is the sooner wrought, the nobleman's mistake rectified, and his faith confirmed; so that the thing was better done in Christ's way. When he denies what we ask, he gives what is much more to our advantage; we ask for ease, he gives patience. Observe, His power was exerted by his word. In saying, Thy son lives, he showed that he has life in himself, and power to quicken whom he will. Christ's saying, Thy soul lives, makes it alive. (2.) Of his pity; he observed the nobleman to be in pain about his son, and his natural affection discovered itself in that word, Ere my child, my dear child, die; and therefore Christ dropped the reproof, and gave him assurance of the recovery of his child; for he knows how a father pities his children.

      6. The nobleman's belief of the word of Christ: He believed, and went away. Though Christ did not gratify him so far as to go down with him, he is satisfied with the method Christ took, and reckons he has gained his point. How quickly, how easily, is that which is lacking in our faith perfected by the word and power of Christ. Now he sees no sign or wonder, and yet believes the wonder done. (1.) Christ said, Thy son liveth, and the man believed him; not only believed the omniscience of Christ, that he knew the child had recovered, but the omnipotence of Christ, that the cure was effected by his word. He left him dying; yet, when Christ said, He lives, like the father of the faithful, against hope he believed in hope, and staggered not through unbelief. (2.) Christ said, Go thy way; and, as an evidence of the sincerity of his faith, he went his way, and gave neither Christ nor himself any further disturbance. He did not press Christ to come down, did not say, "If he do recover, yet a visit will be acceptable;" no, he seems no further solicitous, but, like Hannah, he goes his way, and his countenance is no more sad. As one entirely satisfied, he made no great haste home; did not hurry home that night, but returned leisurely, as one that was perfectly easy in his own mind.

      7. The further confirmation of his faith, by comparing notes with his servants at his return. (1.) His servants met him with the agreeable news of the child's recovery, John 4:51; John 4:51. Probably they met him not far from his own house, and, knowing what their master's cares were, they were willing as soon as they could to make him easy. David's servants were loth to tell him when the child was dead. Christ said, Thy son liveth; and now the servants say the same. Good news will meet those that hope in God's word. (2.) He enquired what hour the child began to recover (John 4:52; John 4:52); not as if he doubted the influence of Christ's word upon the child's recovery, but he was desirous to have his faith confirmed, that he might be able to satisfy any to whom he should mention the miracle; for it was a material circumstance. Note, [1.] It is good to furnish ourselves with all the corroborating proofs and evidences that may be, to strengthen our faith in the word of Christ, that it may grow up to a full assurance. Show me a token for good. [2.] The diligent comparison of the works of Christ with his word will be of great use to us for the confirming of our faith. This was the course the nobleman took: He enquired of the servants the hour when he began to amend; and they told him, Yesterday at the seventh hour (at one o'clock in the afternoon, or, as some think this evangelist reckons, at seven o'clock at night) the fever left him; not only he began to amend, but he was perfectly well on a sudden; so the father knew that it was at the same hour when Jesus said to him, Thy son liveth. As the word of God, well-studied, will help us to understand his providences, so the providence of God, well observed, will help us to understand his word; for God is every day fulfilling the scripture. Two things would help to confirm his faith:--First, That the child's recovery was sudden and not gradual. They name the precise time to an hour: Yesterday, not about, but at the seventh hour, the fever left him; not it abated, or began to decrease, but it left him in an instant. The word of Christ did not work like physic, which must have time to operate, and produce the effect, and perhaps cures by expectation only; no, with Christ it was dictum factum--he spoke and it was done; not, He spoke and it was set a doing. Secondly, That it was just at the same time that Christ spoke to him: at that very hour. The synchronisms and coincidents of events add very much to the beauty and harmony of Providence. Observe the time, and the thing itself will be more illustrious, for every thing is beautiful in its time; at the very time when it is promised, as Israel's deliverance (Exodus 12:41); at the very time when it is prayed for, as Peter's deliverance, Acts 12:12. In men's works, distance of place is the delay of time and the retarding of business; but it is not so in the works of Christ. The pardon, and peace, and comfort, and spiritual healing, which he speaks in heaven, are, if he pleases, at the same time effected and wrought in the souls of believers; and, when these two come to be compared in the great day, Christ will be glorified in his saints, and admired in all them that believe.

      8. The happy effect and issue of this. The bringing of the cure to the family brought salvation to it. (1.) The nobleman himself believed. He had before believed the word of Christ, with reference to this particular occasion; but now he believed in Christ as the Messiah promised, and became one of his disciples. Thus the particular experience of the power and efficacy of one word of Christ may be a happy means to introduce and settle the whole authority of Christ's dominion in the soul. Christ has many ways of gaining the heart, and by the grant of a temporal mercy may make way for better things. (2.) His whole house believed likewise. [1.] Because of the interest they all had in the miracle, which preserved the blossom and hopes of the family; this affected them all, and endeared Christ to them, and recommended him to their best thoughts. [2.] Because of the influence the master of the family had upon them all. A master of a family cannot give faith to those under his charge, nor force them to believe, but he may be instrumental to remove external prejudices, which obstruct the operation of the evidence, and then the work is more than half done. Abraham was famous for this (Genesis 18:19), and Joshua, John 24:15; John 24:15. This was a nobleman, and probably he had a great household; but, when he comes into Christ's school, he brings them all along with him. What a blessed change was here in this house, occasioned by the sickness of the child! This should reconcile us to afflictions; we know not what good may follow from them. Probably, the conversion of this nobleman and his family at Capernaum might induce Christ to come afterwards, and settle at Capernaum, as his head-quarters in Galilee. When great men receive the gospel, they may be instrumental to bring it to the places where they live.

      9. Here is the evangelist's remark upon this cure (John 4:54; John 4:54); This is the second miracle, referring to John 2:11; John 2:11, where the turning of water into wine is said to be the first; that was soon after his first return out of Judea, this soon after his second. In Judea he had wrought many miracles, John 3:2; John 4:45. They had the first offer; but, being driven thence, he wrought miracles in Galilee. Somewhere or other Christ will find a welcome. People may, if they please, shut the sun out of their own houses, but they cannot shut it out of the world. This is noted to be the second miracle, 1. To remind us of the first, wrought in the same place some months before. Fresh mercies should revive the remembrance of former mercies, as former mercies should encourage our hopes of further mercies. Christ keeps account of his favours, whether we do or no. 2. To let us know that this cure was before those many cures which the other evangelists mention to be wrought in Galilee, Matthew 4:23; Mark 1:34; Luke 4:40. Probably, the patient being a person of quality, the cure was the more talked of and sent him crowds of patients; when this nobleman applied himself to Christ, multitudes followed. What abundance of good may great men do, if they be good men!

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These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.
Bibliographical Information
Henry, Matthew. "Complete Commentary on John 4:48". "Matthew Henry Complete Commentary on the Whole Bible". 1706.

Spurgeon's Verse Expositions of the Bible

Characteristics of Faith

May 27th, 1860 by C. H. SPURGEON (1834-1892)

"Then said Jesus unto him, Except ye see signs and wonders, ye will not believe." John 4:48 .

You will remember that Luke, in his letter to Theophilus, speaks of things which Jesus began both to do and to teach, as if there was a connection between his doings and his teachings. In fact, there was a relation of the most intimate kind. His teachings were the explanation of his doings his doings confirmations of his teachings. Jesus Christ had never occasion to any, "Do as I say, but not as I do." His words and his actions were in perfect harmony with one another. You might be sure that he was honest in what he said, because what he did forced that conviction upon your mind. Moreover, you were led to see that what he taught you must be true, because he spoke with authority, an authority proved and demonstrated by the miracles he wrought. Oh my brethren in Christ! when our biographies shall come to be written at last, God grant that they may not be all sayings, but that they may be a history of our sayings and doings! And may the good Spirit so dwell in us, that at the last it may be seen that our doings did not clash with our sayings! It is one thing to preach, but another thing to practice; and unless preaching and practice go together, the preacher is himself condemned, and his ill practice may be the means of condemning multitudes through his leading them astray. If you make a profession of being God's servant, live up to that profession, and if you think it necessary to exhort others to virtue, take care that you set the example. You can have no right to teach, if you have not yourself learned the lesson which you would teach to others. Thus much by way of preface; and now concerning the subject itself. The narrative before us seems to me to suggest three points, and those points each of them triplets. I shall notice in this narrative, first, the three stages of faith, in the second place I shall notice the three diseases to which faith is subject; and then I shall come, in the third place, to ask three questions about your faith. I. To begin, then, with the first point. It seems to me that we have before us FAITH IN THREE OF ITS STAGES. Doubtless, the history of faith might with propriety be divided just as accurately into five or six different stages of growth; but our narrative suggests a threefold division, and therefore we stand to that this morning. There is a nobleman living at Capernaum; he hears a rumor that a celebrated prophet and preacher is continually going through the cities of Galilee and Judea, and is given to understand that this mighty preacher does not merely enthral every hearer by his eloquence, but wins the hearts of men by singularly benevolent miracles which he works as a confirmation of his mission. He stores these things in his heart, little thinking that they would ever be of any practical service to him. It comes to pass on a certain day that his son falls sick, perhaps his only son, one very dear to his father's heart, the sickness, instead of diminishing, gradually increases. Fever breathes its hot breath upon the child, and seems to dry up all the moisture in his body, and to blast the bloom from his cheek. The father consults every physician within his reach; they look upon the child and candidly pronounce him hopeless. No cure can possibly be wrought. That child is at the point of death; the arrow of death has almost sunk into his flesh; it has well nigh penetrated his heart; he is not near death merely, but at death's very point; he has been forced by disease upon the barbed arrows of that insatiate archer. The father now bethinks himself. and calls to recollection the stories he had heard of the cures wrought by Jesus of Nazareth. There is a little faith in his soul; though but a little, still enough to make him use every endeavor to test the truth of what he has heard. Jesus Christ has come to Cana again; it is some fifteen or twenty miles. The father travels with all speed; he arrives at the place where Jesus is: his faith has got to such a stage that, as soon as he sees the master, he begins to cry, "Lord, come down ere my child die." The Master, instead of giving him an answer which might console him, rebukes him for the littleness of his faith, and tells him, "Except ye see signs and wonders, ye will not believe." The man, however, pays little regard to the rebuke, for there is a desire which has absorbed all the powers of his soul. His mind is so overwhelmed with one anxiety, that he is oblivious of all beside. "Sir," said he, "come down ere my child die." His faith has now arrived at such a stage that he pleads in prayer, and earnestly importunes the Lord to come and heal his son. The Master looks upon him with an eye of ineffable benevolence, and says to him, "Go thy way, thy son liveth." The father goes his way cheerfully, quickly, contentedly, trusting in the word which as yet no evidence has confirmed. He has now come to the second stage of his faith; he has come out of the seeking stage into the relying stage. He no more cries and pleads for a thing he has not; he trusts and believes that the thing is given to him, though as yet he has not perceived the gift. On his road home, the servants meet him with joyful haste; they say, "Master, thy son liveth." He enquires quickly at what hour the fever left him. The answer is given him, about the seventh hour the fever abated; nay, it stayed its course. Then he comes to the third stage. He goes home; he sees his child perfectly restored. The child springs into his arms, covers him with kisses; and when he has held him up again and again to see if he was really the little one that lay so wan, and pale, and sick, he triumphs in a higher sense still. His faith has gone from reliance up to full assurance; and then his whole house believed as well as himself. I have given you just these outlines of the narrative, that you may see the three stages of faith. Let us now examine each more minutely. When faith begins in the soul, it is but as a grain of mustard seed. God's people are not born giants. They are babes at first; and as they are babes in grace, so their graces are as it were in their infancy. Faith is but as a little child, when first God gives it; or to use another figure, it is not a fire, but a spark, a spark which seems as if it must go out, but which is nevertheless fanned and kept alive until it cometh to a flame, like unto the vehement heat of Nebuchadnezzar's furnace. The poor man in the narrative, when he had faith given him, he had it but in a very small degree. It was seeking faith. That is the first stage of faith. Now just notice that this seeking faith excited his activity. As soon as ever God gives a man the seeking faith, he is no more idle about religion, he does not fold his arms with the wicked Antinomian, and cry, "If I am to be saved, I shall be saved, and I will sit still, for if I am to be damned, I shall be damned." He is not careless and indifferent, as he need to be, as to whether he should go up to the house of God or no. He has got seeking faith, and that faith makes him attend the means of grace, leads him to search the Word, leads him to be diligent in the use of every ordained means of blessing for the soul. There is a sermon to be heard: no matter that there are five miles to walk, seeking faith puts wings upon the feet. There is a congregation where God is blessing souls; the man, if he enters, will probably have to stand in the crowd; but it does not signify, seeking faith gives him strength to bear the uneasiness of his position, for, "Oh," he says, "if I may but hear the Word." See how he leans forward that he may not lose a syllable for, "Perhaps," saith he, "the sentence that I lose may be the very one that I want." How earnest he is that he may not only be sometimes in the house of God, but very often there. He becomes amongst the most enthusiastic of hearers, the most earnest of men that attend that place of worship. Seeking faith gives a man activity. More than this, seeking faith, though it is very weak in some things, gives a man great power in prayer. How earnest was this nobleman "Lord, come down ere my child die." Ay, and when seeking faith enters into the soul, it makes a man pray. He is not content now with muttering over a few words when he rises in the morning, and then, half asleep, ringing the same chimes at night when he goes to bed; but he gets away he steals a quarter of an hour from his business if he can, that he may cry to God in secret. He has not the faith yet which enables him to say, "My sins are forgiven;" but he has faith enough to know that Christ can forgive his sins, and what he wants is that he may know that his sins are really cast behind Jehovah's back. Sometimes this man has no convenience for prayer, but seeking faith will make him pray in a garret, in a hay-loft, in a saw-pit, from behind a hedge, or even walking the street. Satan may throw a thousand difficulties in the way, but seeking faith will compel a man to knock at mercy's door. Now the faith that you have received doth not vet give you peace, it doth not put you where there is no condemnation, but yet it is such a faith, that if it grows it will come to that. It has but to be nourished, to be cherished, to be exercised, and the little one shall become mighty, seeking faith shall come to a higher degree of development, and you that knocked at mercy's gate shall enter in and find a welcome at Jesus' table. And I would have you further notice, that the seeking faith in this man's case did not simply make him earnest in prayer, but importunate in it. He asked once, and the only answer he received was an apparent rebuff He did not turn away in a sulk, and say, "He rebukes me." No. "Sir," saith he, " come down ere my child die." I cannot tell you how he said it, but I have no doubt it was expressed in soul-moving terms, with tears starting from his eyes, with hands that were placed together in the attitude of entreaty. He seemed to say, "I cannot let thee go except thou come and save my child. Oh, do come. Is there anything I can say that can induce thee? Let a father's affection be my best argument; and if my lips be not eloquent, let the tears of my eyes supply the place of the words of my tongue. Come down ere my child die." And oh! what mighty prayers those are which seeking faith will make a man pray! I have heard the seeker sometimes plead with God with all the power that Jacob ever could have had at Jabboks brook. I have seen the sinner under distress of soul seem to take hold of the pillars of the gate of mercy and rock them to and fro as though he would sooner pull them up from their deep foundations than go away without effecting an entrance. I have seen him pull and tug, and strive and fight, and wrestle, rather than not enter the kingdom of heaven, for he knew that the kingdom of heaven suffered violence, and the violent would take it by force. No wonder that you have not any peace, if you have been bringing before God your cold prayers. Heat them red-hot in the furnace of desire, or think not they will ever burn their way upwards to heaven. You that merely say in the chill form of orthodoxy, "God be merciful to me a sinner," will never find mercy. It is the man that cries in the burning anguish of heart-felt emotion "God be merciful to me a sinner; save me or I perish;" that gains his suit. It is he who concentrates his soul in every word, and flings the violence of his being into every sentence, that wins his way through the gates of heaven. Seeking faith when once it is given can make a man do this. Doubtless there are some here who have got as far as that already. I thought I saw the tears starting from many an eye just now brushed away very hastily, but I could see it as an index that some said in their souls, "Ay, I know the meaning of that, and I trust God has brought me thus far." One word I must say here with regard to the weakness of this seeking faith. It can do much, but it makes many mistakes. The fault of seeking faith is that it knows too little, for you will observe that this poor man said, "Sir, come down, come down." Well, but he need not come down. The Lord can work the miracle without coming down. But our poor friend thought the Master could not save his son, unless he came and looked at him, and put his hand upon him, and knelt down perhaps upon him as Elijah did. "Oh, come down" saith he. So is it with you. You have been dictating to God how he shall save you. You want him to send you some terrible convictions, and then you think you could believe; or else you want to have a dream or a vision, or to hear a voice speaking to you, saying, "Son, thy sins are forgiven thee." That is your fault you see. Your seeking faith is strong enough to make you pray, but it is not strong enough to cast out of the mind your own silly fancies. You are wanting to see signs and wonders, or else you will not believe. O nobleman, if Jesus chooses to speak the word and thy son is healed, will not that suit thee as well as his coming down? "Oh," saith he, "I never thought of that?" and so, poor sinner, if Jesus chooses to give thee peace this morning in this hall, will not that suit thee as well as being a month under the whip of the law? If as you pass out of these doors you be enabled simply to trust in Christ, and so find peace, will not that be as good a salvation as though you should have to go through fire and through water, and all your sins should be made to ride over your head? Here, then, is the weakness of your faith. Though there is much excellence in it because it makes you pray, there is some fault in it because it makes you imprudently prescribe to the Almighty how he shall bless you makes you in effect to impugn his sovereignty, and leads you ignorantly to dictate to him in what form the promised boon shall come. We will now pass on to the second stage of faith. The Master stretched out his hand and said, "Go thy way, thy son liveth." Do you see the face of that nobleman? Those furrows that were there seem smoothed in a moment, all gone. Those eyes are full of tears, but they are of another sort now they are tears of joy. He claps his hands, retires silently, his heart ready to burst with gratitude, his whole soul full of confidence. "Why are you so happy, sir?" "Why my child is cured," saith he. "Nay, but you have not seen him cured." "But my Lord said he was, and I believe him." But it may be that when you get home you will find your faith to be a delusion and your child a corpse." "Nay," saith he, "I believe in that man. Once I believed him and sought him, now I believe him and have found him.' "But you have no evidence whatever that your child is healed." "Nay," saith he, "I do not want any. The naked word of that divine prophet is enough for me. He spake it and I know it is true. He told me to go my way; my son lived; I go my way, and I am quite at peace and at ease." Now mark, when your faith gets to a second stage in which you shall be able to take Christ at his word, then it is you shall begin to know the happiness of believing, and then it is your faith saves your soul. Take Christ at his word, poor sinner. "He that believeth on the Lord Jesus Christ shall be saved." "But," saith one, "I feel no evidence." Believe it none the less for that. "But," says another, "I do not feel enjoyment in my heart." Believe it, be your heart never so gloomy: that enjoyment shall come afterwards. That is an heroic faith which believes Christ in the teeth of a thousand contradictions. When the Lord gives you that faith, you can say, "I consult not with flesh and blood. He who said to me, 'Believe and be saved,' gave me grace to believe, and I therefore am confident that I am saved. When I once cast my soul, sink or swim, upon the love and blood and power of Christ, though conscience give no witness to my soul, though doubts distress me and fears plague me, yet it is mine to honor my Master by believing his Word, though it be contradictory to sense, though reason rebel against it, and present feeling dare to give it the lie." Oh! it is an honorable thing when a man has a follower, and that follower believes that man implicitly. The man propounds an opinion which is in contradiction to the received opinion of the universe, he stands up and addresses it to the people, and they hiss and hoot, and scorn him; but that man has one disciple, who says, "I believe my Master; what he has said I believe is true." There is something noble about the man who receives such homage as that. He seems to say, "Now I am master of one heart at least," and when you, in the teeth of everything that is conflicting, stand to Christ and believe his words, you do him greater homage than Cherubim and Seraphim before the throne. Dare to believe; trust Christ, I say, and thou art saved. In this stage of faith it is that a man begins to enjoy quietness and peace of mind. I am not quite certain as to the number of miles between Cana and Capernaum, but several excellent expositors say it is fifteen, some twenty. I suppose the miles may have altered in their length lately. It need not, however, have taken this good man long to get home to his son. It was at the seventh hour that the Master said, "Thy son liveth." It is evident from this text, that he did not meet his servants till the next day, because they say, "Yesterday at the seventh hour the fever left him." What do you conclude from that? Why I draw this inference: the nobleman was so sure that that his child was alive and well, that he was in no violent hurry to return. He did not go home immediately, as though he must be in time to get another doctor, if Christ had not succeeded; but he went his way leisurely and calmly, confident in the truth of what Jesus had said to him. Well says an old father of the church, "He that believeth shall not make haste." In this case it was true. The man took his time. He was, it may be, twelve hours or more before he reached his home though probably it was but fifteen miles for him to travel. He who takes the naked word of Christ to be the basis of his hope, stands on a rock while all other ground is sinking sand. My brothers and sisters, some of you have got as far as this. You are now taking Christ at his word; it shall not be long before you will get to the third and best stage of faith. But if it should be ever so long still stand here; still believe your Lord and Master, still trust him. If he does not take you into his banqueting house, still trust him. Nay, if he locks you up in the castle, or in the dungeon, still trust him. Say, "Though he slay me, yet will I trust him." Should he let the arrows of affliction stick fast in your flesh, still trust him; should he break you to pieces with his right hand still trust him; and by-and-bye your righteousness shall come forth as the light, your glory as a lamp that burneth. We must now hurry on to the third and best stage of faith. The servants meet the nobleman his son is healed. He arrives at home, clasps his child and sees him perfectly restored. Add now, says the narrative "Himself believed and his whole house.' And yet you will have noticed that in the fiftieth verse, it says that he believed. "The man believed the word that Jesus had spoken unto him." Now some expositors have been greatly puzzled; for they did not know when this man did believe. Good Calvin says, and his remarks are always weighty, and always excellent (I do not hesitate to say that Calvin is the grandest expositor that ever yet thought to make plain the Word of God; in his commentary I have often found him cutting his own institutes to pieces, not attempting to give a passage a Calvinistic meaning, but always trying to interpret God's Word as he finds it) Calvin says this man had in the first place, only a faith, which relied for one thing upon Christ. He believed the word Christ had spoken. Afterwards he had a faith which took Christ into his soul, to become his disciple, and trust him as the Messiah. I think I am not wrong in using this as an illustration of faith in its highest state. He found his son healed at the very hour when Jesus said he should be. "And now," he says, "I believe;" that is to say, be believed with full assurance of faith. His mind was so rid of all its doubts; he believed in Jesus of Nazareth as the Christ of God, sure he was a prophet sent from God, and doubts and misgivings no longer occupied his soul. Ah! I know many poor creatures who want to get up to this state, but they want to get there all at first They are like a man who wants to get up a ladder without going up the lowest rounds. "Oh," they say, "if I had the full assurance of faith, then I should believe I am a child of God." No no, believe, trust in Christ's naked word, and then you shall come afterwards to feel in your soul the witness of the Spirit that you are born of God. Assurance is a flower you must plant the bulb first, the naked, perhaps unseemly bulb of faith plant it in the grain, and you shall have the flower by-and-bye. The shrivelled seed of a little faith springs upwards, and then you have the ripe corn in the ear of full assurance of faith. But here I want you to notice that when this man came to full assurance of faith, it is said his house believed too. There is a text often quoted, and I do not think I have heard it quoted rightly yet. By the way, there are some people who know no more of authors than what they hear quoted, and some who know no more of the Bible than what they have heard quoted too. Now, there is that passage, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved" What have the last three words done that they should be cut off? "And thy house;" those three words seem to me to be as precious as the first. "Believe and thou shalt be saved and thy house." Does the father's faith save the family? Yes! No! Yes it does. in some way; namely, that the father's faith makes him pray for his family, and God hears his prayer, and the family is saved. No, the father's faith cannot be a substitute for the faith of the children, they must believe too. In both senses of the word, I say "Yes, or No." When a man has believed, there is hope that his children will be saved. Nay, there is a promise; and the father ought not to rest satisfied until he sees all his children saved. If he does, he has not believed right yet. There are many men who only believe for themselves. I like, if I get a promise, to believe it as broad as it is. Why should not my faith be as broad as the promise? Now, thus it stands, "Believe and thou shalt be saved, and thy house! "I have a claim on God for my little ones. When I go before God in prayer, I can plead, "Lord, I believe, and thou hast said I shall be saved, and my house; thou hast saved me, but thou best not fulfilled thy promise fill thou hast saved my house too." I know it is sometimes thought that we who believe that the baptism of infants is heresy, and not a single text of Scripture gives it so much as an inferential support, neglect our children. But could there have been a greater slander? Why instead thereof we think we are doing our children the greatest service that we can possibly do them, when teaching them that they are not members of Christ's church, that they are not made Christians in the day that they are christened, that they must be born again, and that that new birth must be in them a thing which they can consciously realize, and not a thing we can do for them in their babyhood, while they are yet in their long clothes, by sprinkling a handful of water in their faces. We think they are far more likely to be converted than those who are brought up in the delusive notion taught them in that expression of the catechism a most wicked, blasphemous, and false expression "In my baptism wherein I was made a member of Christ, a child of God, an inheritor of the kingdom of heaven." The Pope of Rome never uttered a sentence more unholy than that, never said a syllable more contradictory to the whole tenor of God's Word. Children are not saved by baptism, nor grown-up people either. "He that believeth shall be saved; and he that believeth and shall be saved," but the baptism precedes not the belief. Nor doth it co-act or co-work in our salvation, for salvation is a work of grace, laid hold of by faith and faith alone. Baptized or unbaptized, if you believe not, you are lost; but unbaptized, if you believe you are saved. And our children dying in their infancy without any unhallowed or superstitious rite, are saved notwithstanding. II. And now we come to the second department of our subject, the THREE DISEASES TO WHICH FAITH IS VERY SUBJECT, and these three diseases break out in different stages. First with regard to seeking faith. The power of seeking faith lies in its driving a man to prayer And here is the disease; for we are very likely, when we are seeking to begin, to suspend prayerfulness. How often does the devil whisper in a man's ear, "Do not pray, it is of no use. You know you will be shut out of heaven!" Or, when the man thinks he has got an answer to prayer, then Satan says, "You need not pray any more, you have got what you asked for." Or, if after a month of crying he has received a blessing, then Satan whispers, "Fool that thou art to tarry at Mercy's gate! Get gone! get gone! That gate is up and barred fast, and you will never be heard." O my friends! if you are subject to this disease while seeking Christ, I bid you cry against it, and labor against it; never cease to pray. A man can never sink in the river of wrath so long as ever be can cry. So long as ever you can cry to God for mercy, mercy shall never withdraw itself from you. Oh! let not Satan push you back from the closet door, but push in, whether he will or not. Give up prayer, and you seal your own damnation; renounce secret supplication, and you renounce Christ and heaven. Continue in prayer, and though the blessing tarry, it must come; in God's own time it must appear to you. The disease which is most likely to fall upon those in the second stage, namely, those who are trusting implicitly on Christ, is the disease of wanting to see signs and wonders, or else they will not believe. In the early stage of my ministry, in the midst of a rural population, I used to meet continually with persons who thought they were Christians because, as they imagined, they had seen signs and wonders and since then, stories the most ridiculous have been told me by earnest and sincere people, as reasons why they thought they were saved. I have heard a narrative something like this: "I believe my sins are put away." Why? "Well, sir, I was down in the back garden and I saw a great cloud, and I thought, now God can make that cloud go away if he pleases, and it did go away; and I thought the cloud and my sins were gone too, and I have not had a doubt since then." I have thought, Well, you have good reason to doubt, for that is totally absurd. Were I to tell you the whims and fancies that some people get into their heads, you might smile, and that might not be to your profit. Certain it is that men patch up any idle story, any strange fancy, in order to make them think that they may then trust Christ. Oh! my dear friends, if you have no better reason to believe you are in Christ than a dream or a vision, it is time you began again. I grant you there have been some who have been alarmed, convinced, and perhaps converted, by strange freaks of their imagination, but if you rely on these as being pledges from God, if you look on these as being evidences that you are saved, I tell you that you will be resting on a dream, a delusion. You may as well seek to build a castle in the air, or a house upon the sands. No, he who believes Christ, believes Christ because he says it, and because here it is written in the Word, he does not believe it because he dreamed it, or because he heard a voice that might probably be a blackbird singing, or because he thought he saw an angel in the sky, which was just as likely to be mist of a peculiar shape as anything else. No, we must have done with this desire to see signs and wonders. If they come, be thankful: if they come not, trust simply in the Word which says, "All manner of sin shall be forgiven unto men." I do not wish to say this to hurt any tender conscience, which conscience may perhaps have found some little comfort in such singular wonders, but I only say this honestly, lest any of you should be deceived: I do solemnly warn you to place no reliance whatever on anything you think you have seen, or dreamed, or heard. This volume is the sure word of testimony, unto which ye do well if ye take heed, as unto a light which shineth in a dark place. Trust in the Lord; wait patiently for him; cast all thy confidence where he put all thy sins, namely, upon Christ Jesus alone, and thou shalt be saved, with or without any of these signs and wonders. I am afraid some Christians in London have fallen into the same error of wanting to see signs and wonders. They have been meeting together in special prayer-meetings to seek for a revival; and because people have not dropped down in a fainting fit, and have not screamed and made a noise, perhaps they have thought the revival has not come. Oh that we had but eyes to see God's gifts in the way God chooses to give them! We do not want the revival of the North of Ireland, we want the revival in its goodness, but not in that particular shape. If the Lord sends it in another, we shall be all the more glad to be without these exceptional works in the flesh. Where the Spirit works in the soul, we are always glad to see true conversion, and if he chooses to work in the body too in London, we shall be glad to see it. If men's hearts are renewed, what matter it though they do not scream out. If their consciences are quickened, what matters it though they do not fall into a fit; if they do but find Christ, who is to regret that they do not be for five or six weeks motionless and senseless. Take it without the signs and wonders. For my part I have no craving for them. Let me see God's work done in God's own way a true and thorough revival, but the signs and wonders we can readily dispense with, for they are certainly not demanded by the faithful, and they will only be the laughing-stock of the faithless. Having thus spoken of these two diseases, I will only just mention the other. There is a third then, which lies in the way of our attaining the highest degree of faith, namely, full assurance, and that is, want of observation. The nobleman in our text made careful enquiries about the day and the hour when his son was healed. It was by that he obtained his assurance. But we do not observe God's hand as much as we should. Our good puritanic forefathers, when it rained, used to say, that God had unstopped the bottles of heaven. When it rains now-a-days, we think the clouds have become condensed. If they had a field of hay out, they used to plead of the Lord that he would bid the sun shine. We, perhaps, are wiser as we think; and we consider it hardly worth while to pray about such things, thinking they will come in the course of nature. They believed that God was in every storm, nay, in every cloud of dust. They used to speak of a present God in everything; but we speak of such things as laws of nature, as if laws were ever anything, except there was some one to carry them out, and some secret power to set the whole machine in motion. We do not get our assurance, because we do not observe enough. If you were to watch providential goodness day-by-day, if you noticed the answers to your prayers; if you would just put down somewhere in the book of your remembrance, God's continued mercies towards you, I do think you would become like this father who was led to fall assurance of faith, because he noticed that the very hour when Jesus spoke, was the very hour when the healing came. Be watchful, Christian. He that looks for providences will never lack a providence to look at. Take heed then of these three diseases; of ceasing from prayer; waiting to see signs and wonders, and neglect of observing the manifest hand of God. III. And now I come to my third and last head, upon which solemnly, though briefly, there are THREE QUESTIONS TO BE ADDRESSED TO YOU ABOUT YOUR FAITH. First, then, thou sayest, "I have faith." Be it so. There be many a man who saith he hath gold that hath it not, there be many that think themselves rich and increased in goods, that are naked, and poor, and miserable. I say unto thee, therefore, in the first place, does thy faith make thee pray? Not the praying of the man who prates like a parrot the prayers he has learned; but dost thou cry the cry of a living child? Dost thou tell to God thy wants and thy desires? And dost thou seek his face, and ask his mercy? Man, if thou invest without prayer, thou art a Christless soul; thy faith is a delusion, and thy confidence which results from it, is a dream that will destroy thee. Wake up out of thy death-like slumbers; for as long as thou art dumb in prayer, God cannot answer thee. Thou shalt not live to God, if thou dost not live in the closet, he that is never on his knees on earth shall never stand upon his feet in heaven; he that never wrestles with the angel here below, shall never be admitted into heaven by that angel above. I know I speak to some to-day that are prayerless ones. You have plenty of time for your counting-house, but you have none for your closet. Family prayer you have never had; but] will not talk to you about that. Private prayer you have neglected. Do you not sometimes rise in the morning so near the time when you must keep your appointments, that you do kneel it is true, but where is the prayer? And as to any extra occasions of supplication, why, you never indulge yourselves in them. Prayer with you is a sort of luxury too dear to indulge in often. Ah! but he who has true faith in his heart, is praying all day long. I do not mean that he is on his knees; but often when he is bargaining, when he is in his shop, or in his counting-house, his heart finds a little space, a vacuum for a moment. and up it leaps into the bosom of its God, and it is down again, refreshed to go about its business and meet the face of man. Oh! those ejaculatory prayers not merely filling the censer in the morning with incense, but that casting in of little bits of cinnamon and frankincense all day long, so as always to keep it fresh that is the way to live, and that is the life of a true genuine believer. If your faith does not make you pray, have nothing to do with it get rid of it, and God help thee to begin again. But thou sayest, "I have faith." I will ask thee a. second question. Does that faith make thee obedient? Jesus said to the nobleman, "Go thy way," and he went without a word, however much he might have wished to stay and listen to the Master, he obeyed. Does your faith make you obedient? In these days we have specimens of Christians of the most sorry, sorry kind; men that have not common honesty. I have heard it observed by tradesmen, that they know many men that have not the fear of God before their eyes, that are most just and upright men in their dealings; and on the other hand, they know some professing Christians who are not positively dishonest, but they can back and hedge a little; they are not horses that will not go, but every now and then they jib; they do not seem to keep up to the time if they have a bill to pay; they are not regular, they are not exact; in fact sometimes and who shall hide what is true? you catch Christians doing dirty actions, and professors of religion defiling themselves with acts which merely worldly men would scorn. Now, sirs, I bear my testimony this morning as God's minister, too honest to alter a word to please any man that lives, you are no Christian if you can act in business beneath the dignity of an honest man. If God has not made you honest, he has not saved your soul. Rest assured that if you can go on, disobedient to the moral laws of God, if your life is inconsistent and lascivious, if your conversation is mixed up with things which even a worldling might reject, the love of God is not in you. I do not plead for perfection, but I do plead for honesty; and if your religion has not made you careful and prayerful in common life; if you are not in fact made a new creature in Christ Jesus; your faith is but an empty name, as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. I will ask you one more question about your faith, and I have done. Thou sayest, "I have faith." Has thy faith led thee to bless thy household? Good Rowland Hill once said, in his own quaint way, that when a man became a Christian, his dog and his cat ought to be the better for it, and I think it was Mr. Jay who always would say that a man when he became a Christian, was better in every relation. He was a better husband, a better master, a better father, than he was before, or else his religion was not genuine. Now, have you ever thought, my dear Christian brethren and sisters, about blessing your household? Do I hear one saying, "I keep my religion to myself?" Do not be very anxious about its ever being stolen, then; you need not put it under lock and key; there is not enough to tempt the devil himself to come and take it from you. A man who can keep his godliness to himself has so small a proportion of it, I am afraid it will be no credit to himself, and no blessing to other people. But you do sometimes, strange to say, meet with fathers that do not seem as if they interested themselves in their children's salvation any more than they do about poor children in the back slum. of St. Giles's. They would like to see the boy put out well, and they would like to see the girl married comfortably; but as to their being converted, it does not seem to trouble their head. It is true the father occupies his seat in a house of worship, and sits down with a community of Christians; and he hopes his children may turn out well. They have the benefit of his hope certainly a very large legacy: he will no doubt when he dies leave them his best wishes, and may they grow rich upon them! But he never seems to have made it a matter of anxiety of soul, as to whether they shall be saved or not. Out upon such a religion as that! Cast it on the dunghill; hurl it to the dogs; let it be buried like Koniah, with the burial of an ass; cast it without the camp, like an unclean thing. It is not the religion of God. He that careth not for his own household, is worse than a heathen man and a publican. Never be content, my brethren in Christ, till all your children are saved. Lay the promise before your God. The promise is unto you and unto your children. The Greek word does not refer to infants, but to children, grand-children, and any descendants you may have, whether grown up or not. Do not cease to plead, till not only your children but your great grand-children, if you have such, are saved. I stand here today a proof that God is not untrue to his promise. I can cast my eye back through four or five generations, and see that God has been pleased to hear the prayers of our grandfather's grandfather, who used to supplicate with God that his children might live before him to the last generation, and God has never deserted the house, but has been pleased to bring first one and then another to fear and love his name. So be it with you: and in asking this you are not asking more than God is bound to give you. He cannot refuse unless he run back from his promise. He cannot refuse to give you both your own and your children's souls as an answer to the prayer of your faith. "Ah," says one, "but you do not know what children mine are." No, my dear friend, but I know that if you are a Christian, they are children that God has promised to bless. "O but they are such unruly ones, they break my heart." Then pray God to break their hearts, and they will not break your hearts any more. "But they will bring my grey hairs with sorrow to the grave." Pray God then that he may bring their eyes with sorrow to prayer, and to supplication, and to the cross, and then they will not bring you to the grave. "But," you say, "my children have such hard hearts." Look at your own. You think they cannot be saved: look at yourselves, he that saved you can save them. Go to him in prayer, and say, "Lord, I will not let thee go except thou bless me;" and if thy child be at the point of death, and, as you think, at the point of damnation on account of sin, still plead like the nobleman, "Lord, come down ere my child perish, and save me for thy mercy's sake." And oh, thou that dwellest in the highest heavens thou wilt never refuse thy people. Be it far from us to dream that thou wilt forget thy promise. In the name of all thy people we put our hand upon thy Word most solemnly, and pledge thee to thy covenant. Thou hast said thy mercy is unto the children's children of them that fear thee and that keep thy commandments. Thou hast said the promise is unto us and unto our children; Lord, thou wilt not run back from thine own covenant; we challenge thy word by holy faith this morning "Do as thou hast said."

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Bibliographical Information
Spurgeon, Charle Haddon. "Commentary on John 4:48". "Spurgeon's Verse Expositions of the Bible". 2011.