Sign #2 – The Nobleman’s Son

Sign #2 – The Nobleman’s Son

Sign #2 – The Nobleman’s Son.

“Jesus then went again to Cana in Galilee where He had changed the water into wine. Now there was a royal official whose son lay ill in Capernaum. When he heard that Jesus had come from Judea to Galilee, he went and begged Jesus to come down and heal his son, for he was at the point of death. Then Jesus said, ‘Unless you see signs and wonders you will not believe.’ The official said to Jesus, ‘Sir, come down before my little boy dies.’ So Jesus said to him, ‘Go; your son will live.’ The man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him and started on his way. As he was going home, his servants met him and told him that his child was alive. So he asked them the hour when he began to recover, and they said to him, ‘Yesterday at one in the afternoon the fever left him.’ The father realized that this was the hour when Jesus had said to him, ‘Your son will live.’ So he himself believed, along with his whole household. Now this was the second sign that Jesus did after coming from Judea to Galilee.” (John 4:46-54).

Creative Healings. We will be disappointed if we insist on searching for a consistent pattern in the healings of Christ. Here in the second sign in John we see Him healing a young child who lived twenty miles away, at the fervent request of a frantic father with a mustard seed faith. Looking at the four gospels we will see Jesus heal from a distance and also through a personal touch. He would heal young and old, alive and dead, a group of people all at once and a single individual. He healed big names and no-names. Sometimes He touched and sometimes He merely said the word. Sometimes He was touched at someone’s instigation. Sometimes he used His own spit, and one time He made some healing mud to bring a healing. Sometimes faith seemed to be needed, other times faith wasn’t even a factor. Sometimes He forgave sins during the healing, and other times He didn’t focus on sins at all. Most of the healings were immediate, but there was a time when there seems to be more of a gradual process (Mark 8:22-26). He loved to bring wholeness and healing to those who needed it. There are no magic words, no special formulas, no discernible pattern. We can’t put Him in a box with His healing ministry. And thank goodness He wasn’t looking for consistency. He was thinking instead of mercy.

Gentle Rebuke. Jesus told the people of Galilee that, “Unless you people are dazzled by a miracle, you refuse to believe.” (verse 48). Jesus might have been frustrated because He had just been in Samaria, where there was an outpouring of belief in the village of Sychar. There had been no miracles there, only an immediate impulse to believe. The Galileans, though, seemed to need a dramatic miracle to believe in Him. Despite that negative reaction, Jesus had no hesitation in healing the nobleman’s son with the words, “Go home. Your son lives.” Sheer mercy.

The Process of Faith. This man’s faith went through a process in this story, as faith always does. This man was called a nobleman, a royal official, because he was probably an officer in the court of the Galilean tetrarch Herod Antipas. When he first approached Jesus after a hike of twenty miles, he seemed to have just enough faith to make that long trek from Capernaum. He must have had confidence that Jesus could heal his son. He respected Jesus, he called Him “Sir.” But he didn’t go out on a limb and call Him Lord or Son of David as many others in this situation did. When Jesus said that he could return home because his son was healed, John reported that “the man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him” (verse 50). This was a sign of a growing faith, since there was no evidence that what Jesus said was actually true. Finally, when he learned during his return home that the fever broke, that his son was healed right when Jesus said the word, John says “he himself believed, and his whole household believed as well.” (verse 53). Isn’t it wonderful and poignant to realize that the son who was healed by an impersonal, long-distance word from Jesus came to believe in the Person of Christ?

Another Fever. In the case of the nobleman’s son, Jesus healed a fever with just a word. In the case of Peter’s mother-in-law who was sick with a high fever, Jesus took her by the hand and lifted her up out of bed, and the fever was healed in that very personal way (Mark 1:31). In Luke’s account of this scene, he reported that Jesus stood over her bed as she lay sick, and He rebuked the fever, and she was immediately healed (Luke 4:39). Jesus is revealed as Someone who has authority over disease, and He has the ability to heal the same sickness in different ways. He simply rebuked the sickness, and the fever obediently went away.