Day 11: Your reputation: it precedes you

Day 11: Your reputation: it precedes you

John 4:46-54

Reputations are powerful. We certainly need to earn ours. But our reputation precedes us. It does. When you are a total stranger and invited somewhere, what happens? Someone along the line asks, “Who is David? What is he like? What should I expect?” They'll google you, or look you up on Facebook before you meet. It happens.


“So, you’re David Collum. I watched your video.” My response was, “Great! Now I am up to 3 views online!” I use sarcasm to deflect. I do that. In fact, this exact situation happened to me yesterday.

Why deflect? Well, notice: they did not say, “I have been looking forward to meeting you.” No, they simply said, “I watched your video and I knew you were coming.” Hmmm. That opening line can mean a lot of things.

What, in your mind, is Jesus’ reputation? Not, “What do other people think about Jesus,” but “what do you think about Jesus?”

For me, as a person who believes that Jesus is God come to earth, it is the question every person in world needs to answer. Their eternity depends on it.

Your answer probably is based on where and how you formed that impression.

If you:

  • Do not think Jesus is God come to earth…
  • Are still wrestling with the “idea of God”…
  • Think Jesus is a nice guy, but not God…

…well then, you will have any number of reactions. It may be because you have not really met Jesus. You just have some information about him.

Many of us meet Jesus when our backs are to the wall. That was me.

When our backs are to the wall, we will try anything. Please know I am not trying to be flip. In this story, a family’s child is dying. You are not supposed to bury your children. If this brings up something painful in someone reading this blog, please hear me. I cannot imagine your pain. The pain of this father in the story.

It is the pain that brings this father to Jesus. Here is what I hope you can see in the story. Jesus feels the pain. Jesus acts. Jesus has power to heal, even from far away.

Now if you’re anything like me, your mind probably, maybe immediately, goes to a question like this: “If Jesus saved this person’s dying child, why doesn’t He do it for my friends?” It’s understandable. However, it is not the point of why John uses this story.

John chooses to insert this story to show the power of Jesus.

If you do not believe in Jesus, please consider this question: if someone in fact had the power to do such a thing, what would you think about that person?

You see, that is John’s aim. To show Jesus’ power. To get us thinking about it.

Many people today assume they know about Jesus. They will immediately jump to my skeptical question above. Pause for a moment. If you do not know Jesus, if you only know a little about him... if his “reputation is preceding him,” can you pause for a moment and consider a couple things?

  1. What has Jesus’ reputation been to you up until now?

  2. If it bothers you that people suffer, you might ask yourself why it bothers you.

  3. What would you make of a God that comes to earth, feels pain, and responds?

Day 12: Get out of your own way

Day 12: Get out of your own way

Day 10: Jesus... on the wrong side of the tracks

Day 10: Jesus... on the wrong side of the tracks