At the heart of our Bible reading from John’s Gospel, we have two healings – the healing of a boy suffering from a fever (John 4:46-54) and the healing of a man who had been ill for thirty-eight years (John 5:1-16). In our reading from the Psalms, we have a man crying out to God for spiritual healing – the healing of a life, hardened by sin and guilt. When we come to Jesus’ miracles of physical healing, we must learn to look beyond the physical healing. We must seek to learn what God is teaching us concerning the healing of our whole life. What is God saying to us about our salvation in Jesus Christ? – This is the key question we must ask when we read the Bible. Scripture leaves us in no doubt about its central theme – “the Holy Scriptures are able to instruct you for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 3:15).
In the two healings, – the boy with the fever and the man who had been ill for thirty-eight years, we learn lessons concerning salvation. The key moment in the healing of the boy is found in John 4:50 – “Jesus said to the boy’s father, ‘Go; your son will live.’ The man believed the word which Jesus spoke to him and went his way.” When we hear Jesus saying, “your son will live”, do we think only of physical life? Do we not also get a hint of the eternal life which Jesus gives to all who trust Him? When we read the words, “your son will live”, we should recall John’s purpose in writing this Gospel: “these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His Name” (John 20:31). When we read the words – “The man believed the words that Jesus spoke to him”, do we not, again, get the hint of a deeper dimension? Believing the word also involves trusting the Person who speaks the word. we hear the Word of God and we put our trust in the Lord Jesus Christ. This is God’s way of bringing us to Himself, God’s way of bringing us into a real experience of His salvation.
When, in John 4:53, we read, “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”, surely we are reading more than the story of a physical healing. This is the story of salvation. I’m sure that this man would look back on this hour in the same way that John Newton, the author of “Amazing Grace”, looked back to his conversion: “‘Twas grace that taught my heart to fear, and grace my fears relieved. How precious did that grace appear the hour I first believed.” Again, in the story of the healing of the man who had been ill for thirty-eight years, there are lessons concerning salvation. When, in John 5:6, Jesus asks the question, “Do you want to be healed?” We must hear, in His question, another question – “Do you want to be saved?”
When Jesus brings healing, He brings a wholeness of life, which the Bible calls “salvation.” Jesus was not only concerned about the man’s physical health. He was also concerned about his spiritual welfare. In John 5:14, Jesus said to the healed man, “See, you are well! Sin no more, that nothing worse befall you.” You may enjoy good health, but are you saved? – This is the question which the Gospel keeps on pressing home to our hearts. People often say, “The most important thing is your health.” The Gospel says, “The most important thing is your salvation.” Are you saved? Do you want to be saved? These are the questions God is asking. He waits for your answer.
The prayer of the Psalmist, in Psalm 51, may help you to come to know the saving power of the Lord Jesus Christ. Here, we see the Psalmist, confessing his sin to the Lord: “For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me. Against Thee, Thee only, have I sinned, and done that which is evil in Thy sight” (Psalm 51:3-4). We hear the Psalmist, crying to God for salvation: “Hide Thy face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities. create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from Thy presence, and take not They Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of Thy salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit” (Psalm 51:9-12). We also learn of the Psalmist’s prayer that he might be a witness for the Lord: “Then I will teach transgressors Thy ways, and sinners will return to Thee … my tongue will sing aloud of Thy deliverance. O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth shall show forth Thy praise” (Psalm 51:13-15).
As we consider, prayerfully, the Psalmist’s words, we must look away from ourselves to the Lord Jesus Christ. God’s purpose is that “all may honour the Son, even as they honour the Father” (John 5:23). To those who imagine that they can worship God without coming, in faith, to the Saviour, the Lord Jesus issues this warning: “He who does not honour the Son does not honour the Father who sent Him” (John 5:23). To each of us, Jesus speaks this word of Gospel promise: “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, he does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life” (John 5:24). Has this great ‘miracle’ happened in your life? Have you passed from the death of unbelief into the eternal life, which is received by faith?