In our Sunday School classroom, we have been going over the miracles of Jesus in the gospel of John. It is interesting what all this short little story of Jesus healing an official's son says. I've read it over and over, but never did I completely understand all that was going on in the story until I had to break it down for our middle schoolers. I think Jesus was discouraged that we don't just believe in Him and all that He can do just by him saying so...we often have to see PROOF in who He is and what He can do. It has opened my eyes to how I pray and what kind of faith I have in things I pray for.
The story starts out like this:After the two days he left for Galilee. (Now Jesus himself had pointed out that a prophet has no honor in his own country.) When he arrived in Galilee, the Galileans welcomed him. They had seen all that he had done in Jerusalem at the Passover Festival, for they also had been there. Once more he visited Cana in Galilee, where he had turned the water into wine. And there was a certain royal official whose son lay sick at Capernaum. When this man heard that Jesus had arrived in Galilee from Judea, he went to him and begged him to come and heal his son, who was close to death. (John 4:43-47 NIV)
Capernaum was approximately 20 miles away from Cana of Galilee. How do you think the official traveled? How long do you think it would take him to get there?
If his son was close to death, do you think the official wanted to spend his last few hours and days away from his son? Truth is he was desperate to find a way to heal his son even if it meant he would be away from him during his last hours. He knew where Jesus would be and thought Jesus could heal his son.
Jesus sees the man, knows why he is there, and not only addresses him but the whole crowd with this:
“Unless you people see signs and wonders,” Jesus told him, “you will never believe.” (John 4:48 NIV)
What is a sign?
*A sign isn't supposed to represent an actual place, rather it is to point in the
direction of the place we are searching for. The same way all the miracles Jesus
performed pointed to Him that we might believe in Him.
Read John 20:31 which tells us why John the disciple wrote the gospel of John:
But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name. (John 20:31 NIV) Jesus's miracles are the sign that He is our savior.
The royal official said, “Sir, come down before my child dies.” “Go,” Jesus replied, “your son will live.” The man took Jesus at his word and departed. While he was still on the way, his servants met him with the news that his boy was living. When he inquired as to the time when his son got better, they said to him, “Yesterday, at one in the afternoon, the fever left him.” Then the father realized that this was the exact time at which Jesus had said to him, “Your son will live.” So he and his whole household believed. This was the second sign Jesus performed after coming from Judea to Galilee. (John 4:49-54 NIV)
Did the official think Jesus had to physically come to Capernaum and heal his son?
In verse 50, Jesus requires the official to create a higher level of faith in Him and his healing powers. What did Jesus want the official to believe?
* To believe healing could happen through His healing words.
Verse 51 says, "The man took Jesus at his word and departed." The word Jesus gave the man was LIFE! Throughout Jesus's messages, over and over, he tells us what he has to give is LIFE, just like he told the Samartian women earlier in chapter 4. No wonder, Jesus would get frustrated, he had to preform like a side show to get people to believe who he was. Have you ever been questioned about who you are and had to prove you were the real deal?
Originally, the official had faith in Jesus to heal his son. He only had a lower level of faith he put his trust in as he arrived, but Jesus taught him how to bring his faith to a higher level. Do you think Jesus does this to us today? Do you think each trial and tribulation we go through teaches us a higher level of faith in Jesus?