Transformed by a Word

Transformed by a Word

J.C. Thompson |

This week, we’ll see how Jesus transformed a man simply by His words. While this man approached Jesus in a way that lacked understanding of who Jesus was, Jesus still felt compassion and healed the man’s son.

Jesus at the Center of Transformation
Transformed by a Word • Message 2
J.C. Thompson
February 25, 2024

A. Introduction

Today, we are going to talk about trust. What do you think trust means?

Merriam-Webster defines trust in this way:

Trust: an assured reliance on the character, ability, strength, or truth of someone or something

I think this is probably the clearest picture of trust…

A bridge

Or maybe something even scarier.

Tightrope walker across Niagara Falls.

While I think these are accurate pictures of trust, here is how we practice it on retreats or in corporate culture.

While I think each of these makes sense with the definition of trust, I think we can agree that there are different levels of trust after viewing this photo.

Have you ever had to trust someone without any physical evidence at all? Or what if you didn’t know the person’s character and had to trust in something deeper or perhaps less sure than what you would normally trust?

So, let’s see the second of Jesus’ signs as a man is Transformed by a Word.


B. Transformed by a Word

First, I want us to see that…

  1. Burden beckons Belief. (John 4:46-48. C/R: Psalm 34:17-18; 55:22; John 4:1-45)

As He traveled through Galilee, He came to Cana, where He had turned the water into wine. There was a government official in nearby Capernaum whose son was very sick. When he heard that Jesus had come from Judea to Galilee, he went and begged Jesus to come to Capernaum to heal his son, who was about to die.

John 4:46–47 (NLT)


Jesus heads back to the place where he performed the miracle of turning water into wine.

As he returns, there is a government official whose son is very sick.

I think it is necessary to see this sort of prelude that John writes before this particular story.

… Jesus went on to Galilee. He Himself had said that a prophet is not honored in his own hometown. Yet the Galileans welcomed Him, for they had been in Jerusalem at the Passover celebration and had seen everything He did there.”

John 4:43–45 (NLT)


John gives us this small tidbit. Jesus Himself had said that a prophet is not honored in his hometown. Yet…

They welcomed Him… but why do they welcome Him?

Because they have seen everything He did there. They recognized His miraculous power.

Jesus, after talking with this man, responds to this man’s request in this way.

Jesus asked, “Will you never believe in Me unless you see miraculous signs and wonders?”

John 4:48 (NLT)


The word you is plural. Jesus is not only speaking to the man but also to the crowd of Galileans.

I believe that John wants the reader to see something specific here. Because of the context of this section of Scripture, John wants us to compare this response to those of the Samaritans.

Many Samaritans from the village believed in Jesus because the woman had said, “He told me everything I ever did!” When they came out to see Him, they begged Him to stay in their village. So He stayed for two days, long enough for many more to hear His message and believe. Then they said to the woman, “Now we believe, not just because of what you told us, but because we have heard Him ourselves. Now we know that He is indeed the Savior of the world.”

John 4:39–42 (NLT)


You can see that they believed, based on the testimony of a woman who was afraid to even show her face in public!

And in verse 42, we heard Him for ourselves, and we know who He is; He is indeed the Savior of the World.

ILL - Parents and Kids. - Parents, do you feel like your kids only believe what you say when your words are accompanied by signs and wonders? Is there affection dependent on how much you do for them?

Parents, how about you? Is your affection and love for your children dependent on how much they do for you? Emotionally?

Yet this man has a real, legitimate burden. That is many of you in this room right now.

I imagine that some of you even coming into this place was difficult. Even talking about God with the suffering or burden you feel is difficult.

Some of us have trusted and seen God do amazing things in the past, but right now, at this moment in time, we are struggling, and we are coming to Christ out of desperation and asking, with how He responded to these people, can He be trusted?

The Psalmist records it in this way.


The LORD hears His people when they call to Him for help. He rescues them from all their troubles. The LORD is close to the brokenhearted; He rescues those whose spirits are crushed.

Psalm 34:17–18 (NLT)


Christ can be trusted with our calamities.

Christ hears our prayers when we are burdened. We must approach Him in faith without knowing the specifics of how He will rescue us. That is the essence of faith.

We also have to recognize that…

  1. BELIEF comes before BREAKTHROUGH. (John 4:49-50. C/R: Romans 8:24-25; 2 Corinthians 5:7; Hebrews 11:1, 6)


The official pleaded, “Lord, please come now before my little boy dies.” Then Jesus told him, “Go back home. Your son will live!” And the man believed what Jesus said and started home.

John 4:49–50 (NLT)


Did this man approach Jesus in the right way?

No. He is demanding of the Lord. Not just to heal his son but to come to his home to do it. This man was not asking. He was begging. He didn’t understand fully the character or the mission of Christ.

Also, this is not the only time someone has made such a request of Christ in the Scriptures.

When Jesus returned to Capernaum, a Roman officer came and pleaded with Him, “Lord, my young servant lies in bed, paralyzed and in terrible pain.” Jesus said, “I will come and heal him.” But the officer said, “Lord, I am not worthy to have You come into my home. Just say the word from where You are, and my servant will be healed. I know this because I am under the authority of my superior officers, and I have authority over my soldiers. I only need to say, ‘Go,’ and they go, or ‘Come,’ and they come. And if I say to my slaves, ‘Do this,’ they do it.”

Matthew 8:5-9 (NLT)


Notice the difference in approach. Recognition of who Jesus was. Lord

Desperation and Demand are not the same thing. You can be desperate and still not demand things from God. Desperation is brought on by trials and suffering. Demand is rooted in pride.

He pleaded; Jesus did not kowtow to this man’s request. He did not leave that place. Yet, in the midst of not doing things the way the man wanted, Jesus still showed compassion towards this man.

Have you ever approached Christ in this way? So desperate for an outcome that you throw all the things you know out the window.

I think some of you in this room might be approaching Jesus in the same way this man did. You might be desperate, you might be angry, you might be disappointed, but you’ve heard about Jesus working in other people’s lives. But you want Him to do it your way. You want His blessing, but you might not want all the rest of the stuff that comes with following Christ.

Jesus does things His way.

Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through Me.”

John 14:6 (NLT)


Jesus is and always has been God. He has a plan and a purpose for each of us. Yet, we often want Him to bend to our plan and purpose. I think this man was no different.

I think some of you might see what Jesus did as insensitive. This is a desperate father reaching out to Jesus to heal his son on what may be a far-reaching ideal, and Jesus told him to go back home, your son will live.

But is Jesus being insensitive here? Is Jesus a ruthless prophet with no time for little sick boys?

No! Jesus’ disposition is compassion and love towards us, but He is also not a magician doing tricks for everyone.

I also think that Jesus is more concerned for this man’s faith and the crowd’s faith than continuing to do miracles. He presses in on this man’s response to His word.

While this man’s approach to Jesus was not correct, his response to Jesus’ Word was. He immediately left, he did not argue, he went home.

Before he knew if his son would be healed, he left to go back home. This is the response of faith. Not based on a result but based on trust. Trust in Christ’s character and His Word.

Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.

Hebrews 11:1 (NLT)


Jesus, with His Word, healed this man’s son. Before this man knew of his son’s condition after Jesus’ Word, before his breakthrough, he had to trust Christ’s Word.

We also see…

  1. BLESSINGS beyond the MIRACLE. (John 4:51-54. C/R: 2 Corinthians 4:17-18; Ephesians 3:20-21; 3 John 1:4)

Could you, for just a moment, imagine what this man must be feeling? One moment, he is begging a stranger who he has heard might have the ability to heal his son.

‌The next, he has left that man, who has told him that his son will live and is traveling back to him.

‌What would you be feeling?

Anger? Surely, this man must have many important things to do, but you are important, and this is your son whom you love so dearly. This man wouldn’t even take the time to go back to your home to visit with your son.

Despair? This man was your last hope. Your son will now surely die, and you only want to be back with him to spend whatever remaining time he has on earth together.

Hope? Or as the Scriptures call it, faith. This man said your son will live, and maybe it was the way He said it or almost like He knew something that you didn’t. It wasn’t said desperately or out of anger, but almost as if He was stating a fact that you haven’t experienced yet.

I believe this was the man’s response. Check out the rest of this story.

While the man was on his way, some of his servants met him with the news that his son was alive and well. He asked them when the boy had begun to get better, and they replied, “Yesterday afternoon at one o’clock his fever suddenly disappeared!” Then the father realized that that was the very time Jesus had told him, “Your son will live.” And he and his entire household believed in Jesus.

John 4:51–53 (NLT)


Our burdens, when transformed by Christ, are not only beneficial to us, but they are beneficial to others as we can share with them how Christ worked in our story.



All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.

2 Corinthians 1:3–4 (NLT)



I could have no greater joy than to hear that my children are following the truth.

3 John 4 (NLT)



“And they have defeated him by the blood of the Lamb and by their testimony. And they did not love their lives so much that they were afraid to die.”

Revelation 12:11 (NLT)


These 3 verses give an example of the blessings that you can participate in as a result of breakthrough in your life or in the lives of those around you.

As we close, I wanted to share more of that story of trust with you with a picture of what I think Jesus is asking of us.

In 1859, a man named Charles Blondin walked 160 feet above Niagara Falls several times back and forth between Canada and the US. Huge crowds on both sides looked on with shock and awe. Once, he crossed in a sack, once on stilts, another time on a bicycle, and once, he even carried a stove and cooked an omelet!

On July 15, Blondin walked backward across the tightrope to Canada and returned pushing a wheelbarrow blindfolded.

He looked at the crowd that was so impressed with his amazing skills and wanted them to participate. He asked them, do you believe that I can walk across this tightrope while pushing a wheelbarrow?

They cheered and shouted, absolutely we do; you are amazing, you are gifted, and you are doing things we’ve never seen before.

Do you think I can walk across this tightrope and push this wheelbarrow with a person inside it? They screamed, they yelled, they were pumped. Of course, you can; we’ve seen you do amazing things already.

So, he asked the crowd, Who will get in the wheelbarrow?

I think Christ is asking the same of us today. As our Care Volunteers come down front, this burden or struggle that you are facing is an opportunity today for you to approach Christ. As you approach Him, will you trust Him at His Word?

If you confess with your mouth and believe in your heart that Jesus is Lord, you will be saved (Romans 10:9).

Will you believe His Word before you experience a breakthrough?

Are you willing to share in the blessings that go beyond breakthrough?

Will you get in the wheelbarrow with Christ today? Let’s pray.

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