This is part 10 of 49 parts video series covering the Gospel of John. In this video, Jesus had an encounter with a noble man whose son was at the point of death. Watch how Jesus responded to the nobleman’s request.
John 4:43-54 (GNT)
JOHN 4: 43-54 (GNT)
Jesus Heals an Official’s Son
43 After spending two days there, Jesus left and went to Galilee. 44 For he himself had said, “Prophets are not respected in their own country.” 45 When he arrived in Galilee, the people there welcomed him, because they had gone to the Passover Festival in Jerusalem and had seen everything that he had done during the festival.
46 Then Jesus went back to Cana in Galilee, where he had turned the water into wine. A government official was there whose son was sick in Capernaum. 47 When he heard that Jesus had come from Judea to Galilee, he went to him and asked him to go to Capernaum and heal his son, who was about to die. 48 Jesus said to him, “None of you will ever believe unless you see miracles and wonders.”
49 “Sir,” replied the official, “come with me before my child dies.”
50 Jesus said to him, “Go; your son will live!”
The man believed Jesus’ words and went. 51 On his way home his servants met him with the news, “Your boy is going to live!”
52 He asked them what time it was when his son got better, and they answered, “It was one o’clock yesterday afternoon when the fever left him.” 53 Then the father remembered that it was at that very hour when Jesus had told him, “Your son will live.” So he and all his family believed.
54 This was the second miracle that Jesus performed after coming from Judea to Galilee.
Commentary by Enduring Word
Now after the two days He departed from there and went to Galilee. For Jesus Himself testified that a prophet has no honor in his own country. So when He came to Galilee, the Galileans received Him, having seen all the things He did in Jerusalem at the feast; for they also had gone to the feast. So Jesus came again to Cana of Galilee where He had made the water wine.
a. A prophet has no honor in his own country: Galilee was Jesus’ country – where He grew up. Because these people felt so familiar with Jesus, they did not honor Him the way they should have. In this we recognize that they really were not familiar with Jesus; if they were, they would have honored Him all the more.
i. There is such a thing as a false familiarity with Jesus; a dangerous feeling that we know all about Him. Such a dangerous feeling leads to a lack of honor towards Jesus.
ii. It’s a little hard to know if John meant to associate the place where Jesus was not honored to be Judea or Galilee. A case can be made for either; clearly the other Gospels quoted this principle and related it to Galilee (Matthew 13:57 and Mark 6:4).
iii. “He betakes himself to Galilee therefore, to avoid fame, testifying that His own country (Galilee) was that where, as a prophet, He was least likely to be honoured.” (Alford)
b. Having seen all the things He did in Jerusalem at the feast: It was customary for the Jews in Galilee to go to Jerusalem for the feasts (fulfilling Exodus 23:14-17). This particular time they remembered all that Jesus had done in Jerusalem.
i. Perhaps they remembered when Jesus turned the merchant’s tables in the outer courts of the temple (John 2:13-27). Jesus also predicted His own resurrection (John 2:18-22) and performed many other unspecified signs when in Jerusalem (John 2:23-25).
ii. “The enthusiasm of the Galileans was not soundly based. It was dependent on the wonders arising from their sight of the signs, not on a realization that Jesus was indeed the Christ, the Saviour of the world. Their very acceptance of Him was thus in its way a rejection. They gave Him honor of a sort, but it was not the honor that was due to Him.” (Morris)
2. (46b-48) The nobleman and his sick son.
And there was a certain nobleman whose son was sick at Capernaum. When he heard that Jesus had come out of Judea into Galilee, he went to Him and implored Him to come down and heal his son, for he was at the point of death. Then Jesus said to him, “Unless you people see signs and wonders, you will by no means believe.”
a. Whose son was sick at Capernaum: By this time Jesus had made His home in Capernaum (Matthew 4:13 and John 2:12). Though Jesus was at Cana (John 4:46a), the nobleman travelled the 20 or so miles (32 kilometers) from Capernaumto Cana.
i. A certain nobleman: “Literally, ‘a royal person‘…this man was probably an officer of Herod Antipas.” (Alford)
b. Implored Him to come down and heal his son, for he was at the point of death: This certain nobleman was one of many parents who came to Jesus on behalf of an afflicted child. He obviously came with passion and urgency of a father of a sick child – and at the point of death.
i. “How vapid and vain was all the showy courtlife when there rang through it, in a voice he loved so well, the wild and delirious cries of raging fever!” (Morrison)
c. Unless you people see signs and wonders, you will by no means believe: Jesus rebuked those who depended on signs and wonders before they would believe. It might seem that Jesus was harsh towards this man who wanted his son healed, but He encountered many in Galilee who were interested only in His miracles – He therefore questioned this man accordingly.
i. Signs and wonders can lead a person towards belief in God, and can validate a heavenly messenger – but they can also have no effect on a person, and Satan can also use lying signs and wonders (2 Thessalonians 2:9).
ii. Signs and wonders from God are obviously good things, but they should not form the foundation of our faith. We should not depend on them to prove God to us. In themselves, signs and wonders cannot change the heart; Israel saw incredible signs at Mount Sinai and even heard the very voice of God (Exodus 19:16-20:1), yet a short time later they worshipped a gold calf (Exodus 32:1-6).
iii. “These words imply the contrast between the Samaritans, who believed because of His word, and the Jews who would not believe but through signs and prodigies.” (Alford)
3. (49-50) Jesus declares the nobleman’s son healed, and the nobleman believes the declaration.
The nobleman said to Him, “Sir, come down before my child dies!” Jesus said to him, “Go your way; your son lives.” So the man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him, and he went his way.
a. The nobleman said to Him: This man was a nobleman, a man of high standing and stature. All of his standing and stature seemed to matter nothing in light of his great need. He experienced the leveling effect of affliction.
b. Sir, come down before my child dies! In His previous words, it seemed that Jesus discouraged the nobleman from asking for a miracle. Yet this request shows that the nobleman properly understood that Jesus did not intend to discourage asking Jesus for miraculous help, only to discourage a faith that seeks only the miraculous.
i. The nobleman did not appeal to Jesus on the basis of his noble status, but on the basis of his son’s great need. Coming to Jesus as a great and important man would gain him nothing before Jesus.
ii. “He urged no merit, but pleaded the misery of the case. He did not plead that the boy was of noble birth — that would have been very bad pleading with Jesus; nor did he urge that he was a lovely child — that would have been a sorry argument; but he pleaded that he was at the point of death. His extremity was his reason for urgency: the child was at death’s door; therefore his father begs that mercy’s door may open.” (Spurgeon)
c. Go your way; your son lives: Jesus severely tested this man’s faith, forcing him to believe in Jesus’ word alone and not in any outward demonstration of the miraculous. Despite the test, the man took Jesus at His word and departed (NIV). The nobleman demonstrated that true faith is simply taking Jesus at His word.
i. “It was worthy of His care to heal the boy; it was far more needful that He should train and lead the father to faith.” (Maclaren)
ii. “Had our Lord gone with him, as he wished, his unbelief could not have been fully removed; as he would have still thought that our Lord’s power could not reach from Cana to Capernaum: in order to destroy his unbelief at once, and bring him into the fulness of the faith of his supreme power, he cures him, being apparently absent, by that energy through which he fills both the heavens and the earth.” (Clarke)
d. Your son lives: Jesus did not use any dramatic effects in this healing. Many people want to see dramatic effects in God’s work; and sometimes God provides them. Real faith may perceive and accept the outward demonstration of the miraculous, but does not require it.
4. (51-54) The nobleman discovers that his son is healed and when it happened.
And as he was now going down, his servants met him and told him, saying, “Your son lives!” Then he inquired of them the hour when he got better. And they said to him, “Yesterday at the seventh hour the fever left him.” So the father knew that it was at the same hour in which Jesus said to him, “Your son lives.” And he himself believed, and his whole household. This again is the second sign Jesus did when He had come out of Judea into Galilee.
a. Your son lives! The nobleman believed it before the evidence, but the evidence was clearly welcome. One may only imagine how beautiful this news was to the nobleman and to know, it was at the same hour in which Jesus said to him, “Your son lives.”
i. The proof of this miracle was plain. When Jesus proclaimed the boy healed, he was in fact healed – and in a demonstrated way.
ii. According to his servants, this happened “Yesterday at the seventh hour.” This means that the nobleman took his time to return from his meeting with Jesus in Cana back to his home in Capernaum. His leisurely pace was a demonstration of faith. In fear, the nobleman ran from Capernaum to Cana; in faith he walked from Cana back to Capernaum.
iii. “The nobleman was so sure that that his child was alive and well, that he was in no violent hurry to return. He did not go home immediately, as though he must be in time to get another doctor, if Christ had not succeeded; but he went his way leisurely and calmly, confident in the truth of what Jesus had said to him.” (Spurgeon)
b. And he himself believed, and his whole household: The miraculous power of Jesus developed greater faith in both the nobleman and his household. He believed before, but now he believed more. His faith was deepened by his personal experience of God’s power.
i. “His disciples believed on him after the water had been turned into wine; the father and the rest of the household believed as the result of the healing of the boy: and in both cases the verb in the original is an inceptive aorist ‘they put their faith in Him’.” (Tasker)
ii. It would not “be easy at the court of Herod to profess faith in Jesus. He would have mockery and laughter to endure; and no doubt there would be those who thought that he had gone slightly mad.” (Barclay)
c. This again is the second sign: In the Gospel of John the signs are given to lead the reader to faith (John 20:29-31). The relation between belief and signs is clear in John chapter 2 and chapter 4.
· The first sign persuaded His disciples
· The second sign persuaded a Jewish nobleman and his household
· The Samaritans believed without a sign
i. The first two signs in the Gospel of John took place at Cana of Galilee. The first was at the best party ever – a wedding party. The second was connected with the worst tragedy ever – the illness and soon death of a child. Jesus is real in both aspects.
Commentary by Enduring Word
About the Gospel of John. The gospel of John was written to persuade people to believe in Jesus (20:30-31). The opening verses declare that Jesus is God, stressing His unique relationship with God the Father. The book focuses on seven of Jesus’ signs (miracles), to show his divinity. Jesus called people to believe in him, promising eternal life. He proved he could give life by raising Lazarus (ch.11) and by his own death and resurrection. John features Christ’s seven “I am” statements, his encounters with Nicodemus and the Samaritan woman, his upper room teachings and washing of disciple’s feet (chs. 13-16, and his high priestly prayer (ch. 17. It includes the most well-known summary of the gospel (3:16).