Jesus heard that they had cast him out; and when he had found him, he said to him, Do you believe on the Son of God?…
This question was addressed to one solitary man. Jesus comes into personal contact with single individuals. "Thou." "Whom?" It was a largo question, especially when the man was smarting under a bitter penalty. Yet Jesus knew his want and met him at the point of conscious need, ready to more than compensate him.
I. WHAT IS FAITH? Note —
1. Its simplicity. Whatever mysteries there may be in the Bible, this about believing is very plain. A converted Hindoo when asked what it was, replied, "The heart clasping Jesus Christ."
2. Complete surrender to Christ. The frank simplicity of a little child, giving itself entirely into the hands of the Father, full dependence in the Father's power and love, a simple trusting and resting without concern about the next step, and the next. But people say that this is an irrational thing and altogether unmanning. Not so; you invest your money in the Government Funds, and would be surprised at any question of the reasonableness of the act, and yet you do not think about the nature of those funds. You hold a Government security, and feel perfectly safe in trusting the source of your income in the hands of the State. You decide to cross the Atlantic; the sea-worthiness of the vessel and the skill of the captain are the only matters of concern. Assured of these you give yourselves entirely into the hands of the officer. But is not this irrational. Ought you not first to study ship building and navigation, and then, standing on your manliness, persist in taking a share in the management of the vessel? Now this surrendering of self to Christ is God's plan of saving humanity and conveying it to heaven.
3. This believing in the Son of God is a saving act. Not that faith itself saves, however. It is the link that connects to Christ, who saves. It is not the door but the hand that knocks; not the sun but the eye that sees the sun.
4. This faith is elevating in its tendency. There is, first of all, a breaking down of poor, proud self, and then a giving back, not of the old self in its original impurity, but renewed, cleansed and arrayed in the robe of righteousness. And in answer to this faith a tide of gracious influences sets in which gives the soul beauty, richness, expansion, dignity, making the believer a citizen of the kingdom of heaven.
5. This faith is life — the highest thing that can be said about it. This life is a conscious, healthy, happy, ever-growing life.
II. THE OBJECT OF FAITH — "The Son of God."
1. A person, not a system. Jesus did not ask the man about his former life or religious whereabouts, nor did He inform him about His doctrines or the nature of His kingdom. One thing only is of moment — faith in Him. All else will follow from that. And the man was concerned about nothing else. "Who is He?" One may have a clear belief in Christianity and yet be devoid of saving faith. He may be able to prove it Divine and yet know nothing of its salvation, Notice the "on," suggesting dependence, trust, reliance, which is something more than "in."
2. Christ is every way adapted as the object of faith. One with the Father and yet submissive as a Son. We must keep close to this truth, or Christ's sacrifice is deprived of its power. If Christ is not Divine, He is a sinner, and if a sinner, in the least degree, He cannot atone for others, but needs atonement for Himself. When a great good is promised, the question is, Has the promiser the power and will to redeem his engagement? The New Testament is emphatic on these two qualities in the Son of God. All power is given unto Him, and He says to the wide world, "Come unto Me."
III. CHRIST IS THE APPOINTED AND ONLY OBJECT OF FAITH. "There remaineth no more sacrifice for sin," and what need we of any other? for the. claims of heaven and needs of earth are met.
1. This faith is the only source of life to the Church. Architecture, music, wealth, fashion, talent, etc., will not keep a church alive.
2. This faith is the secret of Church aggression.
3. This faith is the spring of the Church's beauty.
(J. H. Higgins.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Jesus heard that they had cast him out; and when he had found him, he said unto him, Dost thou believe on the Son of God?