Summary: This is the second of a series of messages on the signs in the Gospel of John.
Take Jesus at His Word
"Jesus replied, "You may go. Your son will live." The man took Jesus at his word and departed... So he and all his household believed"
(John 4:50, 53, NIV).
John’s purpose for writing his gospel is found toward the end of the book in verses 30-31: "But these (signs) are written that you may
• believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God"
• and that by believing you may have life in his name" (Jn. 20:31).
What is a sign? Obviously they are miracles, but miracles with a purpose. In John the miracles
• are focused upon who Jesus is, that is, the preexistent one sent from God.
• are divinely empowered acts or words which demand a decision for or against who Jesus is, that is, the preexistent one sent from God.
• elicit wonder, a puzzle, and to some looking on a misapprehension.
Signs contribute to the stages of faith; but they are never an end in themselves.
I. This Man Came to Jesus
The fist thing we note is that this man came to Jesus. He lived in Capernaum, about 20 miles from Cana. It’s not clear whether he was already in Cana on business or whether he traveled 20 miles from Capernaum specifically to see Jesus in Cana. He obviously had heard of Jesus and the miracles performed and was ready to try anything that would heal his son.
It is interesting that the man in our story today is described as a royal official. He is most likely a Roman official who was overseeing that area of Galilee in some capacity. According to Roman law, he would have had authority over Jesus, who was merely a peasant living in his jurisdiction. But he did not come giving orders, he came to Jesus in humility.
He was a nobleman, but he humbled himself and came to Jesus. There are many people who do not come to Jesus because they have to humble themselves to come. They have to admit that they cannot do it by themselves. They have to admit that they have a need. And that is hard for some people. If they could come to Jesus while standing tall and proud they would come, but when they have to come with head bowed they will not do it. This lesson teaches us if we are going to have Jesus meet our needs: we have to go to Jesus.
If you saw the movie with Tom Hanks entitled Cast Away, you know who Wilson is. Wilson is a volleyball which floated ashore in a package after the FedEx plane, in which Hanks was riding, crashed into the sea during a bad storm. Hanks plays Chuck Noland, a fast-paced FedEx executive who gets stranded on a remote island in the South Pacific after his plane crashes, with little chance for survival.
In trying to survive, he tries to start a fire with a sharp stick and cuts his hand severely. In anger, he takes the volleyball and throws it as hard as he can. When it lands he sees that his bloody hand has made an imprint that looks like a fiery head. With his finger he fashions a face in the blood — an idol, if you will. He talks to his new friend. You could even say he prays to Wilson as he attempts to make a fire.