Yesterday we saw Jesus leaving Jerusalem and passing through Samaria, and we also saw his encounter with the Samaritan woman at the well while he was passing through Samaria. And in today’s section of John’s Gospel Jesus has arrived back in Galilee and is about to perform the second and final numbered sign in John’s Gospel, which brings to a close the section John’s Gospel that began all the way back in Chapter 2.
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.—4:43-47
Jesus left Samaria for Galilee after two days. John parenthetically adds Jesus’ statement that a prophet has no honor among those who know him best (v. 44). The Galileans did, however, welcome him as a powerful miracle worker. The father of the seriously ill boy traveled about 16 miles from Capernaum to Cana to beg Jesus to heal his son. The royal official was probably an official in Herod’s service.
“Unless you people see signs and wonders,” Jesus told him, “you will never believe.”
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.—4:48-54
In verse 48, Jesus’ response seems harsh, but he was confronting a mentality that saw him simply as a miracle worker. He directed his comment to both the royal official and the Galilean people. The father demonstrated faith by trusting in Jesus’ word and immediately returning home after Jesus pronounced his son healed. As the official traveled home, he encountered his servants along the way and learned that his son had been healed the previous day, at the very time Jesus pronounced it. The fact that Jesus healed the boy from such a great distance demonstrates that Jesus is the divine Messiah. The father and his household believed in Jesus. This section concludes with reference to the fact that this was the second sign Jesus performed in Cana. And we will pickup from here tomorrow, when we move into Chapter 5 and the healing at the pool in Jerusalem.
Tomorrow’s Bible Readings:
1 Samuel 5-7, John 6:1-21, Psalm 106:13-31 and Proverbs 14:32-33