Summary: The nobleman with the sick son demonstrated the faith Jesus wants to be in all of us
The Faith Jesus is Seeking for in Us
How do we demonstrate faith in Jesus? There is a surface faith in which there is no depth. Many today demonstrate a faith that has not content. This is better described as credulity. Ultimately, surface faith will be tested and found wanting. This will result in renouncing the object of faith because it was based upon improper foundations. This is what happened to so many in Israel, despite all the miracles Jesus performed there. Today we will see how one is confronted in his faith and how he responds to it
Exposition of the Text
Verse 43 states that after two days, Jesus and His disciples came into Galilee. These two days refer back to Jesus’ stay with the Samaritans. Many had believed on Him there, even though they were of mixed race and despised by the Jews. But they had accepted Jesus, a Jew, as their Messiah, and not just their Messiah. They were the first to recognize that Jesus was the Savior of all the world, not just Israel.
Verse 44 is puzzling. The Gospel of Luke records this about Jesus in relation to His rejection by his hometown of Nazareth. Is this the case here, and John just passes over the synagogue incident? Or is it referring back to Jesus’ rejection by the Jewish establishment in Judaea? They had rejected Him, but the Samaritans had accepted and honored him? This idea of coming unto His own, but his own received him not is mentioned in the eleventh verse of the first chapter and is a major theme of the gospel. This rejection was by His own Jewish nation as a whole and not just Nazareth. Another possibility is that even though the following verses show that the Jews of Galilee received Him eagerly, their commitment was shallow. Jesus who knows all hearts and what is truly in man knew this. In the end, All Israel would reject Him. He was not fooled by the Hosanna’s on Palm Sunday. He would not be deceived here either.
Jesus is emphatic when He made the statement that a prophet is without honor in his own country, Literally, the Greek says “For Jesus HIMSELF had solemnly testified, that “A prophet in his own country honor has not. What is emphasized is that Jesus had made the statement Himself and the stress of his statement is on the word “honor”. The fact that the quote is framed in the past tense indicates that Jesus had made this statement at an earlier time (the Nazareth rejection?), and that John is using it here as an editorial comment.
On the surface, verse 45 appears to indicate that Jesus received a hero’s welcome when He came back to Nazareth. They had heard and personally witnessed the mighty miracles Jesus had done in Jerusalem at the Passover. They were probably also welcoming to the Temple cleansing as the high and mighty Jerusalemites looked down their noses at the rustic Galileans. They probably had hopes that Jesus would be the Messiah they were looking for, a political deliverer who would overthrow the Romans and purge out the corruption in the Jewish priesthood.
Verse 46 states that Jesus returned to the city of Cana in Galilee where John comments here that Jesus had made the water wine. In a sense, John is taking us back to the beginning of Jesus’ public ministry. This would serve as a reset to Jesus’ ministry to the Jews. This time though, it would not be to help a poor couple avoid embarrassment at a wedding feast. This time it would be a nobleman who had a sick son. The text says that he had learned in Capernaum that Jesus had returned. He went personally to Cana to see Jesus and ask Him to heal his son. The nobleman feared for his son’s life and had obviously heard about the reports of the miracles He had done in Judaea which in all likelihood included healings. So he came believing that Jesus could heal his son as well.
Jesus answer to the nobleman’s request is unexpected. Instead of telling the man that he would come and heal the man’s son or simply speaking the word that the boy was healed, Jesus rebuffs him and all within earshot instead very harshly. “Unless you all see signs and wonders, you will not believe.” Jesus had given His mother a mild and polite rebuke in her request to intervene at the poor couple’s wedding. But Jesus gives an answer that was rather insulting, especially as this man was of high birth. The nobleman could have had Jesus arrested for insulting his honor.
Instead of responding with anger to Jesus’ rebuke, this nobleman swallows his pride. He loves his son. He knows Jesus is the only hope the boy has. In this, his faith is sound. He responds politely and reverently, addressing Jesus as his superior. “Sir (Lord), please come as my son is about to die.” Again, this nobleman by his deference and respectful answer shows that he understands more about Jesus than the leaders in Jerusalem did. He comes to Jesus as a client and sees Jesus as a benefactor.