Summary: Second in series on Miracles of Jesus. The healing of the Nobleman’s son.
Miracle # 2
A Nobleman’s Son Healed.
A lot has happened in John’s gospel between
last week’s sermon and our text today. Jesus has cleansed the temple, running out the money changers (John 2:13-22). Jesus has preformed miracles in Jerusalem during Passover Week (John 2:23) which have convinced the religious leadership that God must be with him (John 3:2) He has met with Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews who felt his first birth was sufficient to get him into heaven. Jesus told him he had to be born again to even see the Kingdom (John 3:1-15).
John the Baptist declares that he must
decrease and Jesus must increase (John 3:22-36). Traveling through Samaria, Jesus encounters an immoral woman and offers her eternal life. She accepts his offer and goes back to the city and tells everyone what happened (John 4:1-42).
Now He’s back in Galilee talking to a nobleman who’s son is ill.
Let’s pick up with the story in John 4 and verse forty six, “So Jesus came again to Cana of Galilee where He had made the water wine. And there was a certain nobleman whose son was sick at Capernaum. (47) 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. (48)Then Jesus said to him, "Unless you people see signs and wonders, you will by no means believe." (49) The nobleman said to Him, "Sir, come down before my child dies!" (50) 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. (51) And as he was now going down, his servants met him and told him, saying, "Your son lives!" (52) 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." (53) 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. (54) This again is the second sign Jesus did when He had come out of Judea into Galilee.”
Before we deal with this miracle this is one area that I would like to clear up. Some people say this story is just another version of the healing of the Centurion’s servant (Matthew 8:5-13; Luke 7:2-10). Although there are some similarities there are more differences. I just want to point our a few of these differences:
• The Centurion was a Gentile; the Nobleman appears to be Jewish.
• The Centurion’s slave suffered from a paralysis; the Nobleman’s son was ill with a fever.
• The Centurion is in Capernaum; the Nobleman is in Cana.
• The Centurion’s faith wins Jesus’ praise; the Nobleman and others are rebuked for a deficient faith.
• The Centurion urges Jesus not to come, but only to speak the word; the Nobleman urges Jesus to come.
• The Centurion has Jewish elders to plead his case; the Nobleman pleads with Jesus personally.
When John says that this is the “second miracle (sign)” (v. 54) he means that it was the second miracle that Jesus did in the Galilee area.
The first miracle was associated with a wedding and is a time of festivity and joy, the second miracle is associated with sickness and is a time of anxiety and sorrow. In comparing the two occasions we have to see that life has as much of one as it does the other and that Jesus is needed in both circumstances.
When Jesus turned the water into wine it was a miracle of time, he simply did in a moment what He usually does in a growing season. The healing of the nobleman’s son was a miracle of space; Jesus healed the boy from twenty miles away.
1. The Nobleman’s Plea (v. 47)
“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.”
In the story we are introduced to a man that John calls a nobleman (basilikos) which is derived from (basileus) which means king. Although it can mean a member of the royal family (Herod’s) it probably indicates someone in the service of the king. The fact that he lived in Capernaum indicates that he was an official in the service of Herod Antipas, tetrarch of Galilee and Perea.
The twenty miles from Capernaum to Cana was not the only distance the nobleman had too cross, he had to cross an even greater distance socially. He a nobleman had to lower himself to seek help from a humble villager carpenter and iterant preacher.