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Jesus and Faith

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JESUS HONOUR’S A MAN’S FAITH  

Scripture: John 4:46–54; 1 John 5:14

Memory verse: 1 John 5:14
"This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us."

Lead—In

Provide Bibles, Bible concordances, paper, and pencils. Tell the students that the key topics of this week’s study are faith, belief, and obedience. Tell them to look up believe in a concordance and locate the verses under that listing. (There are many.)

To add interaction, you might want to pair the students. One student can look up the word in the concordance while the other finds the individual verses and reads them aloud.

While working, instruct the students to look for specific things. For example, they could list on their paper things people believed for examples of times Jesus told the people to believe, the results of believing, or the results of not believing. After several minutes let the students report what they have found.

Explain that in today’s study they will learn of a man who showed his faith by coming to Jesus for help. He also obeyed Jesus’ seemingly strange command. The man’s faith and obedience were rewarded in a wonderful way.

Hearing God’s Word

Ask: “What was Jesus’ first miracle? Where did this miracle take place?” (Allow responses. Briefly review Lesson 4.)

Jesus travelled a lot in the area around Jerusalem. Everywhere He went He told the people about God. Jesus soon became well-known in that area for His miracles and His words about God.

An Official Comes to Jesus

A while after His first miracle, Jesus and His disciples were in Cana again. The Bible says a royal official went to Cana to see Jesus. This official was a government leader, perhaps like a city council member today. He made a special trip from his home in Capernaum. The Bible does not say he knew Jesus before this. It is likely he had never seen Jesus before, but he had heard of Him. He made the journey to see Jesus for one important reason: his son was very sick.

Imagine how desperate the official probably was. Try to think of yourself as a father whose son is dying. The Bible says the official’s son was “close to death.” With his son about to die, the official must have felt frantic about the time it would take to travel to Cana, find Jesus, and then journey with Jesus back to Capernaum.

Jesus’ Surprising Response

When the official asked Jesus to come with him, he received what must have been a surprising answer.

Ask: “How did Jesus answer him?” (Have a student read John 4:48. Encourage discussion. Some students may consider Jesus’ response heartless or weak.)

Let us try to figure out what Jesus really thought of the official’s request.

Ask: “When we take our requests to Jesus in prayer what does Jesus ask that we have?” (Encourage discussion.)

The essential requirement is faith. We must believe God will answer our prayer. We must also believe He has power to do what we ask of Him and be willing to take part in the miracle ourselves.

When Jesus said, “Unless you people see miraculous signs and wonders…you will never believe,” it sounds as if He were accusing the man of not believing when the man had just been begging Him to heal his son. The key to what Jesus meant is almost hidden in John 4:47. (Ask a student to read this verse.) The official was asking Jesus to come back to Capernaum with him to heal the boy. Jesus decided to take this opportunity to teach a lesson about faith in His word instead of in His signs and miracles.

The Importance of Faith and Obedience

As the Son of God, Jesus is all-powerful. He could easily heal the boy without moving a step. The official apparently did not know this—or did not believe Jesus is that powerful. He might not have known anything about Jesus except rumours that He could heal people of sicknesses. If that were the case, Jesus needed to teach the official and the others standing nearby about His divine power. If the official did know Jesus could heal people even at great distances, then he still needed to be taught about faith in the power of God and the importance of obedience in following God’s instructions.

We cannot be sure what Jesus’ reasons were for not going to Capernaum with the official. But by understanding the event in the Bible as it is, we can learn: (1) Jesus is all-powerful; nothing is impossible with Him. (2) We must believe in His power in order to receive answers to our prayers; and (3) we must obey Him. (Write these points on the chalkboard.)

Ask: “What is the memory verse this week? (Repeat the memory verse.)

This reminds us to believe in God and not insist on everything happening the way we think it should. God knows what is best. We can take our needs and desires to Him and let Him work them out as He sees fit. He has the power to meet our needs. As we do His will, we can depend on Him to help us.

The Official Shows His Faith

Ask: “Did the official have faith? What did he do to show he had faith in Jesus’ power?” (Allow responses.)

John 4:50 says he believed Jesus’ word and went his way. He did not wait for a sign from Jesus. Because Jesus told him to go and his son would live, the man believed and left. He put his faith into action. As he expressed his faith by going home at Jesus’ command, his faith was strengthened.

The Official’s Faith Rewarded.

Ask: “What signs or events occurred that reinforced the official’s faith?” (Allow responses. Refer the students to John 4:51-53.)

His servants met him with the good news that his son was well. Also, the boy had begun to get well at exactly the same time Jesus had said, “Your son will live.” This was not a coincidence. The healing was the work of Jesus in direct response to the official’s faith.

Remember that miracles bring glory to God and build believers’ faith. This miracle glorified God because the official and his whole household believed on Jesus. (Ask a student to read John 4:53 again.) Believing in God’s power without having to see miracles is true faith.

Faith in a Faithless World

More and more the world is turning away from faith—not just faith in God, but faith in anything. People have become disappointed with their religious, political, and social leaders. Many people find themselves not believing what they hear and read because in the past some of it has turned out to be false.

God knew from the beginning that people would need faith to lead good, rich, fulfilling lives. He gave faith to those of us who believe in Him so we could have this abundant life.

People may disappoint us, make false statements, and turn their backs on faith. Yet we can keep our faith in God’s perfect love because it never fails. We can also show our faith by putting it into action. We do this each time we obey God and share our beliefs with others.

Accepting God’s Word

Sometimes it is hard to trust people. They may let you down or hurt you, but you can always trust Jesus. He is all-knowing and all-powerful. He will always do what is best for you. It is great to have someone you can trust. Jesus wants everyone to trust Him. To trust Him, you must know Him as your Saviour. He came to earth and gave His life so your sins could be forgiven. Ask if anyone would like to invite Jesus into their life. Pray individually with each one who responds.

Water Source 

My day of research among the Pulaar was focused on the nomadic Fulbe-Jeeri in northern Senegal. Driving from Louga toward Dara, I noticed the village of Moukh Moukh with its tall water tower. The well and tower were provided by a Japanese government aid program. It supplies water not only to the villagers, but also to the nomadic Pulaar in the area.

I noticed a lot of activity around the tower as shepherds with their herds of goats, sheep and cattle gathered. Women with donkey-drawn carts moved along the road with containers of water from the tower.

As I stopped to take pictures, I observed a migration of other shepherds and herds coming toward Moukh Moukh. It became evident that this was the village where I could make contact with the Pulaar.

REMEMBER TO PRAY!
Pray for Fulbe Jeeri to Hear God's Story 

1. Have access to a Bible in their language,
2. Have time with one of God's messengers,
3. Hear the full story of God's love for a sinner.

Prayer Promise

"But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8).

Remember: JESUS HONOUR’S A MAN’S FAITH

Memory verse: 1 John 5:14
"This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us."

1. Faith is complete trust in God and His promises.
2. My actions are stimulated by my faith.
3. My prayer: "Lord, increase my faith."

Pray for Fulbe Jeeri to hear God's story.

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Study 8 | Will of God / Jesus is Lord | africaatts.org/go-teach

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