John 4:46-54 And He Believed

The love of a father knows no bounds

Jesus has just come back from Jerusalem and is in Cana. John tells us this visit would involve only the second miracle Jesus did in this region. It wasn’t Jesus second miracle in total though. He was very busy previously in Jerusalem. I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that He performed a few miracles while He was in Samaria, on the way, too.

In our story we meet an official from Capernaum. As soon as he hears that Jesus is in the he sets out to find Him. This father is desperate! His son is “at the point of death” (verse 47). I was curious to see how far he had to travel to get to Jesus so I googled it. In today’s modern Israel the two cities have merged and google says that it is 0 miles between them. But in Jesus’ day it was a 16 mile journey to get from one to the other. About a day’s journey. I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that this father made it in record time! Even with his hurry, he still needed to get Jesus back to his house before his son died. When he met Jesus I imagine he was nearly beside himself with worry.

I don’t know what Jesus is doing when this official approached Him but He didn’t give in to his plea to follow him home. Why was that? Jesus went with other people who came to fetch Him. Why not this man? I’m wondering at Jesus’ choice of words too; “Unless you see signs and wonders you will not believe” (verse 48). Who was He addressing this to? Was it only for our official or was it also for the people currently around Him? I’m thinking it is the latter because our official would receive his miracle, just not in front of the audience currently surrounding Jesus.

I’m imagining the scene where the father approaches Jesus. There are a lot of people surrounding Jesus when he arrives. Jesus is in the middle of a discussion with them. They have been asking Him to perform some kind of miracle for them. They have heard about all the things He had done in Jerusalem and want to see for themselves if what they are hearing is true. Our official begins working his way through the crowd. He is desperate to get to Jesus. He has no difficulty at all recognizing Jesus in this crowd because all eyes are on Him.

(I’m tired of calling this desperate father “our official.” I’m going to name him Jacob.) Jacob finally reaches Jesus. Being an official could easily assert his priority in this situation but being a good Jew, Jacob waits for a break in the conversation before addressing Jesus. “Sir, I need Your help! My son is very sick. Please come home with me and heal him.”

Jesus looks around at the crowd, then back at Jacob. “Unless you see signs and wonders you will not believe.”

“Sir, PLEASE come with me now! My son is about to die! There is no time to waste!”

Jesus looks him straight in the eye and puts a hand on his shoulder. “Go; your son will live” (verse 50).

Jacob is stunned. He expected Jesus to come with him straight away. But Jesus’ eyes communicate something more than just His words did. His eyes speak of certainty and authority. Jacob knows instantly that he can trust what Jesus says. He gives a quick thank You to Jesus and turns toward home. He knows his request has been heard and answered as he exits the crowd. In the background he hears the people asking Jesus why He didn’t go with Jacob, but Jacob doesn’t bother to listen for Jesus’ response. He KNOWS that Jesus has already met his need. Nothing more matters to him.

As Jacob makes his way home he is not hurrying any more. He is walking with confidence and certainty. Nearing his home Jacob is met by one of his servants. The servant is excited to be bringing good news to his master. “Master, your son is recovering!”

Jacob thanks him for the news and asks, “So, what time did he start getting better?”

The servant has no indication as to Jacob’s motives in asking this question and simply tells him the details; “Yesterday at the seventh hour the fever left him” (verse 52).

Jacob closes his eyes and silently thanks Jesus again for this gift. His servant is looking at him strangely when he opens his eyes. “Have I got a story to tell you. But first, let’s get home so I can hug my son.”

The two walk in compensable silence the rest of the way home. As soon as they enter the home Jacob sees his son sitting at the table eating and he walks over to him and hugs him. Jacob, with tears in his eyes looks to his servant and tells him to please assemble the rest of the household.

Jacob has everyone take a seat. While sitting in his seat he reaches over and pulls his son (I’m going to call him Andrew) onto his lap. “You all know how sick Andrew was. Most of you know that I went to see Jesus, the Man they say was doing all those amazing works in Jerusalem. I was hoping to bring Him here so he could heal Andrew. I was willing to do whatever it took to get Him here, for Andrew’s sake, but He didn’t come. Instead He did something even better!”

Andrew pauses a moment to be sure every eye is on him. Then he continues to share how Jesus had simply spoken to him and assured him that Andrew would live. He also shared the certainty he felt at Jesus’ words and how that belief had carried him back home.

Jacob’s wife speaks up and voices a question that the rest of the room is thinking; “Why didn’t He come with you though? I’m grateful for Andrew’s healing, but why was Andrew left to suffer alone?”

“I wasn’t alone mother. I remember someone reaching out and holding my hand. He told me I would get better, and then I did!”

“I kept telling you that son”, said his mother.

“No mother, it wasn’t you it was a man who glowed bright white. His eyes were so nice! I just KNEW what He said was true. And it was too!”

At that moment, Jacob’s entire house recognized the presence of God had indeed visited Andrew at the direction of Jesus. They believed in Jesus as the true Messiah. No one would ever convince them otherwise.

Father God, I identify with the parent in Jacob who was willing to do whatever it took to get help for his child. As a ruler he would have had access to the best physicians money could buy and the authority to command others to do his bidding. His earthly authority and money was useless though. I can hear his jaw snap shut as he realizes the authority in Jesus’ command. No more arguments. No more pleading. Simply obey. GO. Would I have had that kind of faith if I had been face to face with Jesus that day? Or would my worries have sunk me like Peter’s did while he walked on water? I pray it would be the first.

On this Father’s day, thank You for sharing the faith of a father with us. Thank You for also sharing the lengths a father will go to for his children. You, the PERFECT Father went to the ultimate extremes for His children. Thank You for all You have done for me. Thank You Jesus for Your ultimate obedience to Your Father. This too is a lesson we need to remember today.

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