Jesus is back in Cana after a little trip to Capernaum where he started preaching. We have already read about one miracle- the changing of water into wine at the wedding feast. Here we see our first healing miracle of Jesus. This probably isn’t the first time he as healed someone, it’s just the first time it is recorded in Scripture. Let’s read the text:
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.
“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.
Let’s start with the royal official. This man presumably worked in Herod’s household. He was most likely not Jewish as Jews would not willingly work for a Roman. Anyway this guy’s son was sick, in fact he was deathly ill. The official, “heard that Jesus had arrived in Galilee from Judea.” We can assume that he had heard about the miracles Jesus was performing and this is why he sought him out. As a side note: it is remarkable how word about Jesus was spreading in a time before modern communication. This was all word of mouth. I don’t know if you know this but Capernaum is about 20 miles away from Cana. People must have been talking and spreading the news about what Jesus was doing and his whereabouts for knowledge of his location to reach that far away. It took more than one day to travel there. Talk about snail mail! Anyway, the official had gotten word that Jesus was in Cana and that he had some kind of power, even the power to heal the sick. Because of this he sought out Jesus and begged him to travel with him to Capernaum and heal his son.
To understand Jesus’ reply to the official we must try to understand the circus mindset that was beginning to surround him. Yes, there were people who had faith that Jesus could perform miracles but there were even more people who followed Jesus around just to see a show. This is why Jesus says, “Unless you people see signs and wonders you will never believe.” The word “you” is plural in the original language. Jesus may be talking to the official but he is talking about the Galileans as a whole. The official actually shows remarkable faith here. Don’t forget all he went through just to find Jesus, not even sure he would be able to locate him or that he would come back home with him or even that Jesus would heal his son. The official is seeking a miracle here but not a magic show, he is seeking God’s power. Desperate for Jesus to come help him, he says, “Sir, come down before my child dies.” The word child here literally means “little boy”. Yet, though the official has some faith, notice he asks Jesus to come with him. He doesn’t have faith enough yet to believe that Jesus can just speak healing into the situation. Oh, but he will! Jesus tells the man, “Go, your son will live.” Can you imagine the increasing faith of the official? I would have been dumb founded and nervous as I turned to go back to my son to see if what Jesus said was truth but it says that he took Jesus at his word and left for home. His servants met him on the way back to Capernaum and told him about how his son was still living. But the official already knows what happened, his growing faith already told him that not only was his son still living, but he asks when did he get better! He expected not only to find his son alive, but also fully restored. This is an important thing to catch. In fact just to prove the glory of God, he asks what time the boy got better and it was the exact time that Jesus said his son would live. Because of this the whole household believed and had saving faith in Jesus.
So what can we learn from the royal official? Think about the kind of faith that this man had to have. He had to leave his dying son to travel a couple days to find a guy he’d never met before and who might not even still be there. I imagine he would’ve also had to overcome the pride that came with his position. I mean what would a high ranking Roman official be doing seeking some poor Jewish man he didn’t even know? He had faith that Jesus could heal his son and that faith was greater than all the risk involved. Faith without risk is weak faith at best. It doesn’t matter if the risk is great like losing a son or small like telling others about Jesus there is still risk involved. In other words, it’s easy to say you have faith when everything is going well and easy but will you still have faith when you are challenged by God?
Here’s another lesson- Sometimes God uses bad situations to bring about salvation. He had to allow a little boy to almost die so that a whole family could be brought to salvation. Yes, sometimes life stinks but God can use even these bad things to bring about glory to Himself. And isn’t this what we should seeking at all times? God’s glory? Shouldn’t we be constantly asking God for, “your will [to] be done, your kingdom [to] come on earth as it is in heaven? For yours is the kingdom, the power and the glory forever and ever.” Everything God does is designed to bring glory to himself. The word glory is mention 283 times in the Bible. It’s obviously a big deal to God. In fact, he is the King of Glory (Psalm 24:10). The Bible also says that he provides salvation to us to bring himself glory (Psalm 79:9). So it would be fair to say that sometimes God allows bad things to happen so that he may bring glory to his name.
The last thing I want to touch on is that faith based on God’s word is stronger than the faith based on works and miracles. Jesus said, “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” Faith on works and miracles is good… as long as the works and miracles are happening but what happens when they stop? The faith that is dependent on works stops as well. Faith based on the Word of God is deep on the other hand because the Word of God is forever. Isaiah 40:8 says, “The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God endures forever.” This is another reason why it is so important to know the word of God and to study it. It is the basis for our belief in Christ.
I think we are finally all caught up with the stuff I missed in our chronological study of Jesus. Sorry about all that, but I’m learning just like y’all. Next time we will look at Jesus’ calling of more disciples.