We all know the phrase: “seeing is believing”. It’s a saying that communicates the idea that if we see something with our own eyes we will believe it to exist or be true, no matter how unexpected or unusual it may be. On the surface it expresses a willingness to accept a reality that is verifiably evident.
What’s interesting is that the phrase was coined by Thomas Fuller, a 17th Century clergyman, and the whole phrase is: “seeing is believing, but feeling is the truth”. He was suggesting that truth and evidence are sometimes differentiated. Some truths can’t be verified so neatly.
It’s a pretty deep concept, one that is the heart of our study this Sunday as we continue in our examination of the Gospel of John. We’ll be reading John 4:43-54.
Some things to keep in mind as you read: the repeated idea of “seeing” (see, seen). This is a through-line from the last section.
In our text we are introduced to a man of means and position, a government official (likely working for Herod Antipas). He implores Jesus to come to his home and heal his son. Jesus’ response is puzzling on the surface. Who do you think he’s talking to when he says “you”? Why do you think he responded that way? In what ways do you think this man didn’t believe in Jesus?
When Jesus sends the man home, what evidence did that man have that anything had changed for his son? What was the basis for him heading home? What does that tell us about the kind of faith God is looking for from us?
The timing of the boy’s healing and Jesus’ words is highlighted by John. What might it teach us about who Jesus is and what is within his control?
In v53 we are told the man and his household believe in Jesus. How is that a different kind of faith than the believing expressed by the Galileans from v45? How would you describe the deeper faith that we are challenged to in this passage?
I’m really stoked about this section, I hope you can join us for what I think will be a intriguing but very encouraging study!