Jesus Heals An Official’s Son at Capernaum (His Second Miracle)
WEEK 48: Jesus Heals an Official’s Son at Capernaum (His Second Miracle)
John 4:43-54 43 Now after two days He departed thence, and went into Galilee. 44 For Jesus Himself testified, that a prophet hath no honour in his own country. 45 Then when He was come into Galilee, the Galileans received Him, having seen all the things that He did at Jerusalem at the feast: for they also went unto the feast. 46 So Jesus came again into Cana of Galilee, where He made the water wine. And there was a certain nobleman, whose son was sick at Capernaum. 47 When he heard that Jesus was come out of Judaea into Galilee, he went unto Him, and besought Him that He would come down, and heal his son: for he was at the point of death. 48 Then said Jesus unto him, except ye see signs and wonders, ye will not believe. 49 The nobleman saith unto Him, Sir, come down ere my child die. 50 Jesus saith unto him, Go thy way; thy son liveth. And the man believed the Word that Jesus had spoken unto him, and he went his way. 51 And as he was now going down, his servants met him, and told him, saying, Thy son liveth.52 Then enquired he of them the hour when he began to amend. And they said unto him, yesterday at the seventh hour the fever left him. 53 So the father knew that it was at the same hour, in the which Jesus said unto him, Thy son liveth: and himself believed, and his whole house. 54 This is again the second miracle that Jesus did, when He was come out of Judaea into Galilee.
All 3 of the other gospels quote Jesus saying that a prophet gets no honour among his own people (Matthew 13:57, Mark 6:4, Luke 4:24). This was an ancient proverb with much the same meaning as our saying, “familiarity breeds contempt”. It seems an unlikely place to mention a lack of honour, but it highlights John’s emphasis on Jesus’ ministry, not in Galilee as the other 3 Gospels do, but the time He spent in Jerusalem. You see, unlike the other Gospels, John concentrates most of his story on Jesus’ ministry in Jerusalem. Nazareth may have been where Jesus grew up, but for John, His real city was the Holy City – Jerusalem. So John shows Him being honoured in Samaria and Galilee, but dishonoured by the very ones and in the very place that ought to have been most prepared to glorify and receive Him.
Jesus returned to the little village of Cana where He had performed His first miracle. While there, an official of Herod’s court who lived in Capernaum went to see Him. This resident of Capernaum is an official in service of Herod Antipas tetrarch of Galilee and Perea, and considered a king or royal by the populace. Capernaum is located on the northern shore of Lake Gennesaret. Cana lies in the hills 25 miles to the west; a full day’s journey. But the man is desperate because his son was near death. Verse 48 Then Jesus said to him, “Except ye see signs and wonders, ye will not believe.” In light of the man’s need, this seems a rather harsh thing for Jesus to say. If your child is dying, you’re frantic to find help. You’re not interested in just seeing a miracle because you’re bored and want a diversion. Your child is hurting and you’re driven by desperation! So why this harsh response from Jesus? Well – Jesus is not saying this to the father – He is speaking to the crowd who had gathered because of the reports of the miracles He had done in Jerusalem. They’ve come to see a show and are conditioning their faith on His complying with their desire to witness the spectacular.
Jesus performed signs and wonders as a way to validate His message and authority. The power of God verifies the truth of the Word. Our faith is built on the Revealed Word of God, what we find in the Holy Scriptures.
Romans 10:17 So then Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.
At first, the nobleman’s faith was in the healing of his son. Once his servants met him on the way home and they told him that his son was healed about 1pm yesterday – the same time that Jesus had told him “Go thy way; thy son liveth” – his faith moved to the Person and identity of Jesus Himself as the Messiah. As a result the man and all his extended household – immediate family, extended family, and servants — become believers. His faith had begun with seeing miracles, but it has gone deeper. He believes Jesus’ Word and later sees the results.
John wants us to see not only the grace of the healing, but the power of it. The boy was dying of a fever. The power of Jesus to heal is seen in the fact that He did it with a mere Word. He simply said, “Go thy way; thy son liveth” – and with that one Word, the physical chemistry of a boy’s body changed. The power is seen in that distance was not a hindrance. The boy was 15 miles away in Capernaum. He could have been 15,000 miles away – it would not have mattered. When Jesus speaks with authority, there are no spatial limitations to His power.
Romans 10:17 So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.
We must sometimes take Jesus at His Word and act before seeing the result.