43 After the two days he left for Galilee. 44 (Now Jesus himself had pointed out that a prophet has no honor in his own country.) 45 When he arrived in Galilee, the Galileans welcomed him. They had seen all that he had done in Jerusalem at the Passover Festival, for they also had been there.
46 Once more he visited Cana in Galilee, where he had turned the water into wine. And there was a certain royal official whose son lay sick at Capernaum. 47 When this man heard that Jesus had arrived in Galilee from Judea, he went to him and begged him to come and heal his son, who was close to death.
48 “Unless you people see signs and wonders,” Jesus told him, “you will never believe.”
49 The royal official said, “Sir, come down before my child dies.”
50 “Go,” Jesus replied, “your son will live.”
The man took Jesus at his word and departed. 51 While he was still on the way, his servants met him with the news that his boy was living. 52 When he inquired as to the time when his son got better, they said to him, “Yesterday, at one in the afternoon, the fever left him.”
53 Then the father realized that this was the exact time at which Jesus had said to him, “Your son will live.” So he and his whole household believed.
54 This was the second sign Jesus performed after coming from Judea to Galilee. 
Why do we believe? Are we willing to take Jesus at His word or do we need to see signs and wonders?
In passages like this it almost seems like Jesus has a love/hate relationship with miracles. On the one hand he performed healing miracles willingly because of His compassion for those in need of healing. The miracles also pointed to His identity as the promised Messiah. (Jesus ministry fulfilled Isaiah 35). The miracles announced the coming of the Kingdom and pointed to the fulfillment of all things in the resurrection, when there would be no illness but only life.
But at the same time, Jesus doesn’t seem to like having to perform miracles to get people to believe. What he wants is for people to take Him at His word. He wants those who hear His word to believe it, put it into practice and follow – whether signs and wonders accompany it.
We see both of these attitudes about miracles in this passage. When Jesus is asked to perform the miracle he essentially rebukes the people for their lack of faith. But when Jesus assures the official that his son will live, the man believes without having to see the miracle. As the text says, he takes Jesus as His word.
Jesus still performs signs and wonders. He’s still God. The story I told in the sermon a couple of weeks ago about how God convinced me to go to the seminary – that was a sign and wonder. I’ve seen others in my life, interventions where God leaves His calling card, as well as healings. The whole notion of “Kairos” is built on the assumption that God is acting in our lives. And that’s all a sign and wonder is: God intervening.
And God does this I believe for the sake of His mission, for the purpose of discipling His people, out of His compassion for hurting people, etc. But I must admit that such experiences in my life are a big part of shaping and encouraging my faith.
But what Jesus wants above all, as He shows in this text, is that we simply take Him at His word. Trust what He says. When He says that He will provide, we live as though it is already provided. When He says that He will be with us, we go forward with confidence.
So my prayer is that I will grow in taking Jesus at His word. That He would grow and mature my faith. I pray in thanksgiving for all those times when I have had the privilege of witnessing the Lord taking a more direct active role, but I pray that above all I grow in simple faith, trusting my Savior today and every day.
NOTE: There will be no Abide Devotion for the next several days as Teresa and I will be away attending my parents 60th anniversary celebration. The Abide Devotion will return on October 7.
 The New International Version. 2011 (Jn 4:43–54). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.