John 4:43–54—Jesus Heals the Official’s Son
43 At the end of the two days, Jesus went on to Galilee. 44 He himself had said that a prophet is not honored in his own hometown. 45 Yet the Galileans welcomed him, for they had been in Jerusalem at the Passover celebration and had seen everything he did there.
46 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. 47When 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.
48 Jesus asked, “Will you never believe in me unless you see miraculous signs and wonders?”
49 The official pleaded, “Lord, please come now before my little boy dies.”
50 Then Jesus told him, “Go back home. Your son will live!” And the man believed what Jesus said and started home.
51 While the man was on his way, some of his servants met him with the news that his son was alive and well. 52 He asked them when the boy had begun to get better, and they replied, “Yesterday afternoon at one o’clock his fever suddenly disappeared!” 53 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. 54 This was the second miraculous sign Jesus did in Galilee after coming from Judea.
Points of Interest
- ‘He himself had said’—not in John’s gospel. He does say this in Mark (6:4) and Matthew (13:57). Maybe this is another indicator that John assumes knowledge of the other gospels. At the very least, it’s pretty clear that John is not terribly interested in telling us the details of Jesus’ teaching and actions in the order in which they occur. Instead he brings them up, sometimes in sort of an offhanded way, as they become relevant to him.
- ‘the man believed what Jesus said’—Jesus’ complaint, if we take it precisely, is that people aren’t believing until they see. So, maybe what bothers Jesus about the father’s request is the father’s insistence that Jesus must come in person to the bedside. As it turns out, the father believes before seeing; he takes Jesus at his word without any visible proof, and finds out later that things happened just as Jesus had said.
- ‘This was the second miraculous sign’—John calls both of the miracles he actually describes in detail ‘signs.’ The significance of a sign is not in itself, but in the thing it points to. For example, a Starbucks sign is good news for someone who wants coffee, but only because it directs you to a coffeehouse. Without the coffeehouse, the sign is no good. The miracles John tells us about are meant to turn our attention beyond themselves. In this case, a son on his death bed gets up again, alive and well. I guess this is a sign of what will happen to Jesus: when it looks like he’s dead, don’t worry; the Son will live. Maybe this is why it’s so important to Jesus that they believe before seeing.
Taking It Home
- For you: Even in very difficult circumstances, the officer believed Jesus’ words that his son would be healed. What things do you find hard to believe that Jesus said or did? Pray for faith in Jesus’ words, even in the most difficult circumstances.
FF Family/Household Option: Try to come up with any examples of having faith in Jesus’ words in difficult circumstances. Then, pray together for faith in Jesus’ words, even in the most difficult circumstances.
- For your 6: Pray today for any of your 6 or your 6’s family members who are in dire physical condition. Ask Jesus to heal them.
- For our church: Spend some time thanking Jesus for all of the miraculous signs he has shown to our church over the years. Thank Jesus for his willingness to give us these signs of his power and goodness, and pray that our faith would be increased by them.