Children of the Bible, Part 16 by Allan McGuirl
We have an exciting story today in our series, “Children of the Bible.” It covers only 11 verses in John 4:46-54. The first verse starts off with Jesus visiting in Cana of Galilee, not far from Capernaum, where Jesus had made a number of visits. Cana was well known for a number of events, including Jesus’ very first miracle of changing water into wine at a wedding feast. However, today we find something even more amazing happened. Jesus had been travelling from Samaria for two days before He arrived in Cana.
At the same time, there was a royal official living in Capernaum, about 16 miles away, whose son was seriously ill. The Bible says he was close to death. Many of you reading this can already sense the anxiety that this man was experiencing because you have been there. Perhaps you have been in the position of having a child who is extremely ill. You would do everything possible to care for him and nurse him back to health. This father was the same. No doubt he had sought out the best physician and tried all of the traditional methods. Nothing helped; his son was losing ground and there seemed to be little time left.
The official heard that Jesus had arrived in Cana and obviously had learned about many of the miracles and healings that Jesus had performed. Jesus was his only hope. I am sure he made that 6-to-8 hour trip in record time. He wasted no time in finding Jesus and presenting his request: “Please come and heal my dying son.” At that point, he was not even sure if his son was still alive, but Jesus was the only hope he had. He was scared, hopeful, desperate, anxious, and impatient for Jesus to move in the direction of Capernaum. Jesus’ next words are surprising: “Unless you people see signs and wonders you will never believe.” Jesus was not unaffected by this man’s situation. Instead, I believe He was nudging the man to exercise a deeper measure of faith. The man replied, “Sir, come before my child dies.” Here he was not just looking for a demonstration of Jesus’ power – he was looking to the only one who had the power to heal his son.
Jesus’ next reply is even more astounding: “Go, your son will live.” The Bible says that the man took Jesus at His word and departed. He could have begged Jesus to come anyway just to make sure. He could have taken Jesus’ words as a dismissal of his need. Instead, this father’s very act of turning around and heading back to Capernaum was the practical application of his faith. Jesus said it, I believe it, and therefore, I can count on it. That is faith. Hebrews 11:1 says, “Now faith is the confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.”
His trip back was just as hurried as his trip to Cana. I wonder how many times on the way home he rehearsed what Jesus had said. I wonder if his very conversation with Jesus, the Son of God, had affirmed his belief that Jesus could be taken at His word. I wonder, too, if doubt crept in and he worried that if he had just squandered the last few hours of his son’s life on a fruitless mission. He pushed the doubts out of his mind and held onto Jesus’ words, “Your son will live.” The journey was too long for him to make it back to Capernaum before nightfall. He resumed the trek the following morning and was surprised to see several of his servants hurrying down the road to meet him. They brought him the news, “Your son is living.” When he inquired about what time the boy became well, I believe he already knew. They told him that the fever had left the day before around 1 o’clock, and he knew that was exactly the time Jesus said his son would live.
Friends, this man believed. And in verse 53, it adds that his whole household came to faith in Jesus. This is the greater miracle. The son was restored to physical health and strength, but his whole family also now inherited eternal life through faith in the Son of God. Their faith was in Jesus Christ, the only One who can cleanse us from sin and give us everlasting life. What an amazing conclusion to this account!
By the way, if you need prayer, please call us at 1-877-242-5266. You can talk to Rev. Tim Whitehead at extension 232, or me, Rev. Allan McGuirl, at extension 225. We would love to hear from you.