"Unless you see signs and wonders you will not believe."
In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.
And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.
And God saw that the light was good. And God separated the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day.
And God said, “Let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.”
And God made the expanse and separated the waters that were under the expanse from the waters that were above the expanse. And it was so. And God called the expanse Heaven. And there was evening and there was morning, the second day.
And God said, “Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear.”
And it was so. God called the dry land Earth, and the waters that were gathered together he called Seas. And God saw that it was good.
And God said, “Let the earth sprout vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind, on the earth.”
And it was so. The earth brought forth vegetation, plants yielding seed according to their own kinds, and trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening and there was morning, the third day.
And God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night. And let them be for signs and for seasons, and for days and years, and let them be lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light upon the earth.”
And it was so. And God made the two great lights—the greater light to rule the day and the lesser light to rule the night—and the stars. And God set them in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth, to rule over the day and over the night, and to separate the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening and there was morning, the fourth day.
And God said, “Let the waters swarm with swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the expanse of the heavens.”
So God created the great sea creatures and every living creature that moves, with which the waters swarm, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.
And God blessed them, saying, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.”
And there was evening and there was morning, the fifth day.
And God said, “Let the earth bring forth living creatures according to their kinds—livestock and creeping things and beasts of the earth according to their kinds.”
And it was so. And God made the beasts of the earth according to their kinds and the livestock according to their kinds, and everything that creeps on the ground according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.
Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, after Our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”
So God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”
And God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food. And to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the heavens and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.” And it was so.
And God saw everything that He had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day. Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them.
And on the seventh day God finished His work that He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work that He had done. So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all His work that He had done in creation.
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the whole Armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.
Therefore, take up the whole Armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the Belt of Truth, and having put on the Breastplate of Righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the Readiness given by the Gospel of Peace. In all circumstances take up the Shield of Faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the Helmet of Salvation, and the Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.
So [Jesus] came again to Cana in Galilee, where He had made the water wine. And at Capernaum there was an official whose son was ill. When this man heard that Jesus had come from Judea to Galilee, he went to Him and asked Him to come down and heal his son, for he was at the point of death.
So Jesus said to him, “Unless you see signs and wonders you will not believe.”
The official said to Him, “Sir, come down before my child dies.”
Jesus said to him, “Go; your son will live.”
The man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him and went on his way. As he was going down, his servants met him and told him that his son was recovering. So he asked them the hour when he began to get better, and they said to him, “Yesterday at the seventh hour the fever left him.”
The father knew that was the hour when Jesus had said to him, “Your son will live.”
And he himself believed, and all his household. This was now the second sign that Jesus did when He had come from Judea to Galilee.
*Transcript was edited for readability.
Grace to you and peace from God our Father our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
The Beloved Disciple, the Evangelist John the fourth chapter: The official said to Him, “Sir, come down before my child dies.” Jesus said to him, “Go; your son will live.”
The man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him and went on his way.
It's been said there's a crisis of fathers and perhaps it's true. Seems there's a battle these days between the men and the women. Instead of the beautiful working together that the Father in heaven grants the Church, of which you've heard of in the very creating of the heavens and the earth this morning in that rather lengthy reading of Genesis 1, seems there's a crisis of fatherhood, the boys are rebellious.
I think I've heard over fifty percent of children are born outside of the Institute of marriage these days. Fathers oftentimes don't do their tasks that God would give sadly so and women don't encourage them to do so. So it's good to ponder the work of a father. I take a stab and say everyone in the room has an interest in fatherhood because we all have one. So if we're here, we're here living and moving and breathing because the Father in heaven saw fit that we would have a father on earth. Maybe he was outstanding, maybe he wasn't but were to give thanks to God in heaven because we've had a father. He's yet alive he deserves our prayers, maybe our honor, certainly our encouragement.
This text before you today it’d have you ponder the work maybe of your father, maybe of your husband, maybe of your dad or maybe the work that's given to you yourself with the high honor and godly calling of being a father.
This man has a sick son. This man, the text as we hear translated “official” doesn't really get to it, he's a kingly fellow maybe in the courts of Herod. He's impressive, wealthy, has strength. This man is a father who comes to the Lord Jesus who leads him to his Father who is above, and so thus the beautiful task of a Christian father to bring their children to Jesus and all the more to the Father in heaven who is above.
A lot of fathers think they’re insufficient for the task, that they don't have what it takes to bless their children and thereby the world, and it's probably quite frankly true. All fathers are insufficient to the task due to the fall into sin. So it's a beautiful thing if you could think about this man this week and his fatherhood for his dying of the son. He does perfectly well because he stands aside, he turns his son over to Jesus the savior of the world and thereby he makes way for the Father in heaven to love and to rescue, to bless and save his son on earth, whom of course he dearly loves.
If you want to do well as a Christian father, as you encounter the Holy Scriptures, well then bring your children to the Father in Heaven that he might perfectly love them, that he might grant them a life in abundance, life eternal, that he might correctly teach them and protect them, and guide them through this life unto our heavenly home of fathers and sons, so this text.
Now the man doesn't say in a corner will commend him to God, my boy. He doesn't say to his wife well let's just pray about it maybe that will help. The man is a man of action so that's a good model for a father to have some activity as opposed to inactivity. The Holy Spirit, of course, works through people, fathers and mothers, and Christians. If you want your neighbor to be a Christian and come to the Father who is in heaven of course you pray but you also act and the Holy Spirit both hears your prayer and blesses your action. The Holy Spirit works through people. If your child is sick you don't just pray, of course, you do pray, but you also spring into action and you implore the doctors or the nurses or whomever it might be to help and in that way, the Holy Spirit works to both protect and bless those for whom you love.
The Holy Spirit especially works through fathers in bringing them to the Father who is in heaven. Of course through mothers too - we heard about them about six weeks ago, the widow at Nain who prayed to Jesus in whom the resurrection came and was known. Mothers also, Mary, who here in this place Cana the first miracle that was done asked Jesus to bless the husband and the wife. The Holy Spirit works in the family but especially in your hearing today the Holy Spirit is at work through fathers to bless their children through them. Jesus hears father's prayers. Jesus takes their prayers to the Great Father who is in heaven. Jesus blesses the Christian work of the fathers. They're not unneeded but they're so very necessary for our lives to be blessed in this world.
So like all in the Christian family, things go poorly it when we're selfish and things are better when we care for others. So what could we say about selfish fathers? Are they a blessing to their families, probably not. What can we say about this father, was he selfish, was he unconcerned, did he give the task of caring for his son to his servants as he had many? No, this father was unselfish in loving his son. So he wasn't proud though he certainly was wealthy. He wasn't conceited though he certainly had authority. No, he humbles himself, journeys quite a way to find the Lord Jesus Christ of whom he had heard and to turn his son over to the Savior and the father who is in heaven because he didn't have what it took to rescue his own boy from death.
You certainly were better in life when your father wasn't concerned only about himself but was concerned for you. Maybe you suffered when your father was a bit conceited and a bit selfish and didn't have time for you and instead was only worried about himself. After all, fathers here on earth are fallen, sinful men. So the best we can do is to lead our children to the perfect father who is above. Quite frankly if your father never even was around or was a wretched horrible individual, well you've found your way by God's grace somehow to the Father that is above and He certainly stands in all the better to bless and to do in your life good things; that the Holy Spirit might work through you to maybe bless your children and your sons and your daughters and those you love.
This man is insufficient. My father's insufficient. I'm insufficient. So he does well, he carries his son to the Lord Jesus Christ and he asked Jesus to rescue him in his hour of need. He asked Jesus to come down, as you heard, to his house; it appears he's quite a journey away. He trusts Jesus to help, he learns from Jesus, he attends to Jesus word and lo and behold Christ that does for his son exactly what His word promises. As he comes to his home or on his way to his home he hears the outcome and at that hour he himself believes and all his household.
Jesus is sufficient to bring us to the Father in heaven. Jesus is sufficient to complete in your lives and to give to you and me what our fathers on earth cannot give, especially life everlasting. Jesus is sufficient to bring us to the Father in heaven so that even the fatherless in this life can know they're loved, can see through Faith the protection of the Holy Angels, can know that their prayers are heard. That even though they don't have the example themselves of a father on this earth, through Jesus can see the beautiful fathering of the father in heaven for all the world and can learn from Him what to do for their children here on earth.
Jesus and His Word, it's so much more than a parenting manual, but Jesus and His Word will certainly bless the fathers of earth to be better men and their families to be places of faith and strength and beautiful lights in this world, for the world which is outside in the darkness. So he believed and his household followed him. It's not the age of women, it's not a contest after all, that everything will be better if the men are weaker and the women take the reins. No, I don't think that's the testimony of the Lord Jesus Christ. There are different forms of strength in
the world, known in men, known in women, known in body, known in faith, known in spirit, known in the things that we would pursue, but the world needs strong women, most certainly true, who don't worry about themselves but who trust in the father who is in heaven.
The world needs strong men, most certainly true, who follow after the Lord Jesus Christ and who don't worry about themselves but who love their Father who is above that their children here below might be blessed with them. The world follows after strong men, you can look through human history and see that it's true. You can consider at this time some of the rulers of the world, and whether you even like our own president or not, people have followed after him because of his strength. The world follows after strong men. If you're a wife to a husband it's your task to try to strengthen your husband, not to somehow compete with him and make him weaker. The world is blessed by a strength, in men, and in women, and there are many different forms of strength.
This father didn't have the strength to save so he followed after of course the strongest man, the Lord Jesus Christ. The Lord Jesus Christ has men following after him, his disciples, to bless us through their teaching and their witness and even their martyrdom. The world follows after strong men. I would say our church is in part blessed because we have strong men here. We have fathers that love their children here, who love the father who is above. Obviously, we don't have everything together as a congregation, we have our troubles, but one of the blessings of this place is there are some strong fathers here who have some beautiful strong wives and together are bringing their children to the Father who is above; the world follows strong men. This man followed Jesus and his household followed him and it was unto their blessing. The man trusted Jesus and so his household trusted Jesus.
It's been shown that if men will come to church their children will continue to come to church. If fathers cease coming to the Father who is in heaven, sooner or later their children perhaps will cease coming to their father who is in heaven. If dad is involved it's better for all of us, to lead us above to the perfect Father that he might bless us. This man's family followed him.
And so, there's much to ponder here as there always is. It's a great and happy task for me, not always to preach, that I dread a little bit, but to study these various texts and to see all of the glorious things there. So perhaps this week you can think about your task as it relates to fatherhood and you can think about how you might encourage fatherhood, what it should be doing for you, what it shouldn't be doing for you, and you can know today if somehow through fatherhood you're involved in coming to your great Father who is in heaven. That through Jesus you might hear his voice and with Jesus, you might be declared the beloved sons of the Father in heaven, then your life is going well.
God is not far off from you but his help is very very close and so we simply voice it and if we've forgotten and thought that Jesus cannot help, he is always near as was the case for this son of the Father who is in heaven who dearly loves us all.
May he so bless this place.
HYMN OF THE DAY:
FROM DEPTHS OF WOE I CRY TO YOU (LSB 607)
A versified summary of Psalm 130 by Martin Luther, the hymn text has some additions. The psalm begins, “Out of the depths I cry to You, O Lord,” which the hymn retains, but also states that all Christians endure tribulation in this life. The Christian cries for mercy, for without mercy God would not deign to help. Only His mercy, grace, and love avail; even the Christian’s holiest works fail to conquer sin. Only the blood of Christ crucified cancels sin. Therefore, the Christian does not have a wishful hope but a sure and strong hope. The Lord will send the needed aid, even though sometimes He delays until the best time. When Christians sing of Israel, they sing about the Israel from above—the Church. Thus, the line, “O Israel, trust in God your Lord,” sings about the Church, “Born of the Spirit and the Word” (cf. Romans 9:6; Galatians 4). Though great is our sin, far greater is the mercy of our Lord Who hears our cries (Romans 5:20–21) and frees us from our direst enemy, sin. —Kantor Lock for Logia Online
Sunday School October Memory Verses:
October 7 – 1 Corinthians 6:20 – “For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.”
October 14 – Job 28:28 - 'Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom, and to turn away from evil is understanding.'
October 21 – Psalm 119:105 – “Your word is a lamp to my feet, and a light unto my path.”
October 28 – Matthew 5:6 – “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled.”