Participants: Deyvy Rodriguez & Jon Paulien
Series Code: JBOTB
Program Code: JBOTB00010A
00:20 Hello, friends, and welcome to "Books of the Book."
00:23 My name is Deyvy Rodriguez
00:25 and I'm so pleased
00:26 that you're able to join us in this Bible study.
00:28 And I am with Dr. Jon Paulien. He is a Bible scholar.
00:32 He is the dean of Religion at Loma Linda University
00:36 in Loma Linda, California.
00:38 And, Dr. Paulien, we're talking about the Gospel of John
00:44 and you've written three books on John.
00:48 Tell us about those three books?
00:50 Well, almost 20 years ago,
00:52 I was asked to participate in a Bible commentary series,
00:57 it was called the "Bible Amplifier."
00:59 And one of the purposes of those series
01:01 was kind of a study guides,
01:03 you know, it would have questions
01:05 to get people studying into the book
01:07 and then at the end reflection questions
01:09 and then, you know, I would say some of the things
01:12 that I was seeing in there.
01:15 That triggered interest and about 10 years later
01:18 I wrote an Adult Bible Study Guide
01:21 for the Seventh-day Adventist Church
01:23 and that was distributed in 18 languages,
01:26 about 15 million copies.
01:29 So that was--
01:30 Which is known as the "The Sabbath Quarterly?"
01:32 Yeah, "The Sabbath School Lesson."
01:34 "Sabbath School Lesson." This way it's often refer to.
01:37 And along with that, I published a book
01:41 that gave additional information
01:43 and told some stories to go with the lessons,
01:48 so people could read one chapter every week
01:51 as they were studying the lesson
01:52 and be more prepared to discuss.
01:55 Right. And you've not only written three books,
01:58 but you've also written more books as well,
02:00 and we're just talking about
02:02 those three in the Gospel of John, right?
02:05 Yeah. And well, what are we talking about today?
02:09 Well, we are going into the last part of chapter 4
02:11 and the first part of the chapter 5.
02:13 There's two stories here.
02:14 And of course, in John,
02:16 stories always have mean a little bit more sometimes
02:18 than what they seemed on the surface.
02:21 But the reason we're packaging these two together
02:24 is because they fit a nice slot for a program
02:28 and it lets us cover the last part of chapter 5
02:31 in a separate program where which I think
02:34 it really needs to happen.
02:36 So otherwise we could have separated these two stories.
02:40 But in John, you have this dual directional kind of thing going,
02:44 so the last story in chapter 4 is connected with chapter 5,
02:49 and also with what precedes.
02:51 But the introduction to this,
02:54 right after the Samaritan woman is in 4:43-45.
02:59 So if you're ready, why don't we take a look at that?
03:02 And well for those of us
03:04 or for those who are watching,
03:05 who would like to join us in this Bible study,
03:07 you can pick up your Bible and open it,
03:10 and again we are in chapter 4,
03:13 and you said we are reading verse--
03:15 43-45. 43-45, and it says,
03:19 "Now after the two days he departed from there,
03:22 and went to Galilee.
03:23 For Jesus Himself testified
03:25 that a prophet has no honor in his own country.
03:29 So when He came to Galilee, the Galileans received Him,
03:33 having seen all things
03:34 He did in Jerusalem at the feast
03:37 for they also had gone to the feast."
03:41 There is an interesting contradiction it seems in this.
03:46 First of all, He is in Samaria
03:48 and then He goes to Galilee
03:50 after He spent that couple of days
03:51 in the town of drunkenness,
03:53 so He goes to Galilee, and what is Galilee?
03:57 That's His home.
03:58 Nazareth is where He grew up.
03:59 Capernaum is where He is living.
04:01 So He is going home.
04:04 And as He is going home, He says,
04:07 "A prophet has no honor in his own country."
04:11 And then it says, when He arrives,
04:13 the Galileans welcomed Him gladly
04:16 because they saw the things
04:18 that He had done in Jerusalem.
04:21 So what do you make of that?
04:23 Why does Jesus say it's a lousy welcome?
04:25 And yet they welcomed Him gladly.
04:29 Because it seems that they needed
04:31 to see some evidence or some miracles
04:33 before they accepted Him as a prophet.
04:36 So the welcome that they give is grounded in the miracles
04:39 they saw in Jerusalem.
04:40 Right. So they're kind of the counterpart of Nicodemus again.
04:44 These Galileans have this inadequate faith in Jesus,
04:48 it's based on the miracles
04:50 He did in Jerusalem just as Nicodemus based His faith
04:54 on those miracles in Jerusalem.
04:56 So here He makes a statement about faith.
05:02 The Galileans have faith.
05:03 They believe in Jesus, they welcomed Him,
05:05 they receive Him gladly.
05:07 And once again He doesn't trust Himself to them.
05:11 Now in the Gospel of John, it seems like,
05:14 whenever He makes a statement like this,
05:15 He'll follow with a story that acts out that very thing.
05:20 In the story that follows, there is a Galilean
05:24 who comes to Jesus and who has imperfect faith.
05:31 And let's see what happens in that story.
05:34 And we are in verse? Verse 46-48.
05:37 I think as far as we want to go right now.
05:39 "So Jesus came to Cana of Galilee
05:42 where he had made the water wine.
05:44 And there was a certain nobleman
05:46 whose son was sick at Capernaum.
05:48 When he heard that Jesus had come out of Judaea into Galilee,
05:52 he went to him, and imploded him to come down,
05:55 and heal his son for he was at the point of death.
05:59 Then said Jesus unto him,
06:01 'Unless you people see signs and wonders,
06:03 you will by no means believe.'"
06:05 So now Jesus reveals clearly what His reluctance is.
06:09 The excitement of the Galileans is based on His miracles.
06:13 They're based on the mighty things that He has done.
06:17 And that's never in the Gospel of John,
06:19 a strong basis for genuine faith.
06:22 If it were the key, then the second generation
06:25 would be in a trouble
06:27 'cause the second generation doesn't see Jesus,
06:29 doesn't hear Him, doesn't touch Him.
06:32 And so, how's the second generation gonna come to faith,
06:35 if it's got to depend on miracles.
06:37 And so, Jesus says, "You Galileans."
06:40 He says, "Unless you see signs and wonders,
06:42 you will never believe."
06:44 Now this man is from Capernaum.
06:48 So that's Jesus' hometown.
06:50 And I've been to Capernaum,
06:52 and it's probably about the size
06:54 of a par-three hole in the golf course.
06:57 I mean, it's not a big town at all.
07:00 Yeah, maybe it had at the most a thousand people
07:03 and may be just a few hundred.
07:05 So the odds are, this man knew Jesus pretty well.
07:09 He was quite familiar with Him.
07:11 Now this story is also told in the Synoptic Gospels,
07:15 Mathew, Mark, and Luke.
07:16 And in the Synoptic Gospels, He is a Gentile.
07:19 So if this is a Gentile nobleman,
07:22 he kind of completes this tri-factor.
07:24 You have a Jew, you have a Samaritan,
07:26 and now you have a Gentile.
07:29 And all of them are engaging with Jesus
07:32 in one way or another.
07:34 So this man is hesitant
07:39 to really believe in Jesus.
07:42 He tries to hide it, but Jesus sees right through him.
07:46 And so once again Jesus knows.
07:49 You know, in the Gospel of John,
07:51 one of the great themes that's always there is Jesus knows.
07:53 You can't fool Him. He knows what's inside a person's heart.
07:57 You can come to Him and express faith like Nicodemus did.
08:01 You can express knowledge like the Samaritan woman did.
08:04 You can come to Him and say,
08:06 "I know that you can heal my son."
08:07 Jesus sees right through it.
08:09 No sense hiding in front of Jesus.
08:12 You only make a fool of yourself,
08:14 is what seems to be going on here.
08:16 So interestingly enough, this man lived with Jesus.
08:21 So what does that tell us?
08:24 The physical presence of Jesus is really no help to faith.
08:29 Again, it comes back to this overarching message of John.
08:33 John has written to people
08:35 who were losing all connection with Jesus
08:38 in any physical or direct sense.
08:40 And instead they must rely on the testimony of the disciples.
08:45 They must rely on the Holy Spirit.
08:48 And John's message is,
08:49 look when people had the living presence of Jesus,
08:52 they often didn't believe.
08:54 So what we have here is an acted parable.
08:59 Jesus has no honor in His hometown.
09:02 Even though, the people are honoring Him with their lips.
09:06 They're not honoring Him
09:07 with their genuine inner faith and actions, so--
09:15 So in verse 48, Jesus says,
09:19 "Unless you see miracles,
09:20 signs and wonders, you will never believe--"
09:25 The signs, you know, are intended to faith.
09:31 I mean, Jesus does these spectacular things.
09:33 Signs are supposed to say, this is a prophet,
09:34 this is truly a man of God, okay.
09:37 But in practice, most of the time
09:39 they produced this shallow inadequate faith.
09:44 Now, why would you say this person doesn't have true faith,
09:50 even though he expresses it?
09:53 Because he is going there to meet Jesus,
09:57 to bring Jesus back and heal his son.
10:01 He believes that the only way his son can be healed is,
10:05 if Jesus walks down that trail with him,
10:08 goes all the way to his house,
10:09 puts His hand on him and raises him up.
10:13 He doesn't believe that Jesus can heal him at a distance.
10:17 And he isn't believing enough, you said, he believed. So--
10:22 But there's three times-- three kinds of faiths.
10:25 There is this inadequate faith, that's just based on miracles.
10:29 There's an early immature faith,
10:33 which is genuine, but not complete.
10:36 And then there's a lasting, faith that cannot be shaken.
10:41 So you've three different types of faith.
10:44 And here you have an acted parable
10:47 of what that inadequate faith is like,
10:49 just as it was with Nicodemus.
10:51 So we have another poster child for inadequate faith,
10:54 but here is a difference.
10:55 Nicodemus is not portrayed as changing his mind,
10:59 at least in chapter 3, maybe later on he does.
11:02 But in chapter 3, the story ends with him
11:05 still in that same limbo kind of position.
11:09 But this royal official changes and it's crucial to understand.
11:14 How far apart are these two towns?
11:16 Jesus is in Cana again where the wedding took place.
11:20 This other man comes from Capernaum.
11:23 Capernaum is on the shore of Sea of Galilee.
11:26 Cana and Nazareth are up on the mountains.
11:28 It's 16 miles, 25 kilometers from Capernaum
11:34 all the way up to Cana.
11:36 It's about 1,700 feet, more than 500 meters
11:40 from below sea level up to this hill top over here.
11:45 So he goes 16 miles, he climbs all that way,
11:49 he is going uphill,
11:50 and he gets to Jesus at around 1 o'clock in the afternoon.
11:55 It's just after-- after the noon hour.
11:58 And he is hoping, Jesus will come back
12:00 that day and heal his son.
12:05 So let's see, what goes on here. Verses 49 and 50.
12:10 "The nobleman said to Him,
12:11 'Sir, comedown before my child dies.'
12:14 Jesus said to him, 'Go your way, your son lives.'
12:18 So the man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him
12:22 and he went his way."
12:23 Ah, you see, the difference
12:26 is this man comes to believe, to true belief.
12:31 Does he come to believe
12:32 because Jesus goes down the hill and heals his son?
12:37 No. He comes to believe before he can verify the miracle.
12:43 In other words, it's not a miracle
12:45 that changes his mind.
12:46 It's the word of Jesus.
12:49 And John is telling us something very important.
12:51 You don't need the physical presence of Jesus
12:54 to have everything that He offers.
12:56 You don't need to see miracles to have faith,
13:01 but instead the Holy Spirit
13:03 working with the words of Jesus has the power
13:06 to build in you the faith that really matters.
13:10 And this man in order to believe,
13:12 it seems that he needed the affirmation from Jesus
13:16 that his son would be healed,
13:18 but had he not heard of Jesus' words,
13:23 "Go your way, your son lives."
13:26 Would he have somehow believed anyway?
13:29 Maybe not. Maybe not.
13:31 Because in John, faith is always generated
13:35 by the words of Jesus,
13:37 and when he hears the words of Jesus,
13:39 the Holy Spirit ministers those words to his heart
13:41 and he says, "Okay, I believe."
13:44 And then he starts heading down the hill without Jesus.
13:49 And the very leaving of Jesus
13:52 is evidence of his faith at this point.
13:56 So he is a representative character just like,
14:01 Nicodemus represented the Jews
14:02 and this Samaritan woman to Samaritans.
14:05 He represents the second generation
14:07 as well as the Gentiles.
14:09 He is somebody who comes to faith through the word,
14:13 not through the miracle
14:14 and not through the physical presence of Jesus.
14:16 So the words of Jesus are as great
14:21 or if not greater than the miracles themselves.
14:25 Jesus' word is as powerful as His presence.
14:29 In fact, in this case it seems like
14:30 it's even more powerful
14:32 because His presence the man didn't have faith.
14:35 It was only when he hears the word that he has faith.
14:38 Now does he really believe? Verses 51 to 53.
14:44 "While, he was still in the way."
14:47 Right? 16 miles.
14:49 "If you came uphill 16 miles and got there at 1 o'clock,
14:55 do you think you could get home going downhill
14:57 if you're excited to find out whether you son was healed?"
15:00 Probably. Yeah.
15:01 Okay, notice what happens.
15:03 "While he was still on the way,
15:06 his servants met him with the news
15:07 that his boy was living.
15:09 When he inquired as to the time when his son got better,
15:12 they said to him,
15:13 the fever left him yesterday at the seventh hour."
15:18 Then the father realized this was the exact time
15:21 which Jesus had said to him.
15:22 "Your son would live."
15:25 You see, sometime the next day,
15:27 he is still wandering out there.
15:29 He took the scenic route home.
15:31 He stopped and smelled the flowers.
15:32 He helped somebody change a wheel on his wagon.
15:36 He knew that Jesus' word was as good as healing itself.
15:41 And he wasn't surprised to come home and find out.
15:44 Yeah, his son was healed
15:45 at the very moment that Jesus spoke.
15:47 Well, Dr. Paulien, we're gonna be
15:49 talking more about the words of Jesus
15:51 and how they are as powerful as His miracles.
15:53 So stay with us, friends,
15:55 as we continue to study the Gospel of John.