Text: John 4:45-54
Jesus returns to Galilee after the Passover, and the people welcomed him. They were in Jerusalem when Jesus went for the Passover. They likely witnessed Jesus cleansing the temple (John 2:15,16), they witnessed other signs which John did not describe (John 2:23), and saw that many came to believe in Jesus as a result. So it is no surprise that they welcomed Jesus back.
He eventually returns to Cana, where he performed His first sign.
Word travels fast, and word of Jesus being in Cana reached Capernaum about 15 miles away. A royal official in Capernaum, whose son is deathly ill, who heard of Jesus, travels to Cana. If Jesus is capable of doing the things he has heard about, he can heal his son – which is probably the thinking. The official went to Jesus and asked Jesus to come to Capernaum and heal his son.
Jesus responds with a rebuke. “Unless you see signs and wonders you will not believe.” The official pleads again. Jesus says to the official, “Go; your son will live.” The official believed and began to go home. During his journey home, his servants met him and said his son is getting better. He started getting better at the seventh hour. The father knew that was when Jesus said to him, “your son will live.” The father believed, and his household believed as well.
Study and Meditation Questions
- We see a rebuke in verse 48 after the official makes his initial plea to Jesus. It is important to note that Jesus was not actually rebuking the official directly. This is not so evident in the English, but the “you” in “Unless you see…” is plural. In other words, Jesus is speaking to a group of people. Another way of translating that rebuke is “Unless you peoplesee signs and wonders, you people will not believe.”Who are these people?
- The rebuke was that these people (whoever they may be) only believe if they see signs and wonders. Do we rest our faith on the good results that God has provided for you? In other words, if God healed you, you will believe. If you suffer, you won’t believe. Would that describe you? Or would you believe even if the miracles you desire did not happen?
- Jesus told the man to go, his daughter will live. It says the man believed what Jesus said. Then when the official learned that his son started to get better at the same time that Jesus said those words, it says the man believed. What is the difference between believing in Jesus words, and believing in Jesus?
There were people who saw Jesus as some type of local magician. They didn’t see him as the one who came to give sight to the blind and heal the sick. They didn’t see him as the Messiah, as Lord, as the Savior of the world. They just wanted to see a good show.
The official’s second plea led to Jesus saying the boy will live. The man had a sincere need. He wasn’t looking for a show. I believe Jesus had every intention of healing the son. But the way Jesus did it was incredibly boring. He didn’t touch him. He didn’t say to the boy, “Rise! Be well!” Jesus didn’t even go to the town where the boy lived. He simply said, “Go. Your son will live.” He couldn’t refuse the request, but Jesus also didn’t want to make a spectacle.
That simple word was enough for the official. He believed what Jesus said. He didn’t leave disappointed. But when he heard that his son was healed the same hour Jesus said those words, his belief became more. His belief was not just in the words of Jesus, but in Jesus himself.
Believing in Jesus’ words is the first step to belief in Jesus himself. Believing in Jesus himself is to put your trust in Jesus. It wasn’t about the signs anymore. You have already seen where the signs point to, and you believe.
In Week 2 of Lent, let us pay attention to the signs that have been given to us about Jesus in Scripture. Identify times where your trust in the Lord was diminished due to God not answering a prayer. While it certainly can hurt, it should not affect our trust and belief in Jesus. The Word of God has given all we need to believe in Jesus. Believe in the words that will lead you to believe in Jesus.
Rev. Alex Kolath
Vicar, Immanuel Mar Thoma Church, Virginia