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September 29, 2013 Today we’ll finish chapter four in our study through John. It’s important to remember that the main purpose is “that we might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing we might have life through His name” (Jn. 20:31). What we’ve already read and what we read here serves toward accomplishing that purpose. Jesus has already been to Cana of Galilee once where He turned the water into wine (2:11). Shortly afterwards He went to the Passover feast in Jerusalem where He did some other miracles (2:23) which many people saw and were amazed. Then He baptized in the province of Judea (3:22) until the jealous Pharisees heard about and Jesus left for the province of Galilee (4:3). Along the way He stopped in Samaria to talk to the woman at the well and stays with the Samaritans: Now after two days he departed thence, and went into Galilee. 44For Jesus himself testified, that a prophet hath no honour in his own country. This is one of those places where it’s helpful to read Greek. The word translated as “for” is better translated as “indeed;” it literally says, “Himself indeed Jesus testified...” In other words, Jesus went to Galilee (His hometown) where He said He would have no honor (Lk. 4:16-30).
Then when he was come into Galilee, the Galilaeans received him, having seen all the things that he did at Jerusalem at the feast: for they also went unto the feast. This seems like a contradiction, but look at verse 48. They received Him in the sense that they would receive any miracle-worker. He was an amazing magician who piqued their interest. As a miracle-worker they received Him, but as a prophet they would not.
So Jesus came again into Cana of Galilee, where he made the water wine. And there was a certain nobleman, whose son was sick at Capernaum. So here we have one of the main characters of this story. The man is royalty; he’s connected to Herod Antipas. He has access to doctors and medicine and the best of Galilee. And there’s nothing he can do.
When he heard that Jesus was come out of Judaea into Galilee, he went unto him, and besought him that he would come down, and heal his son: for he was at the point of death.
He makes the trip from Capernaum to Cana, finds Jesus, and asks Him for help.
Then said Jesus unto him, Except ye see signs and wonders, ye will not believe. The first thing I want to point out is that the “ye” is plural. He’s not talking just to the nobleman but to everyone around. Second, the word for “wonders” can also mean something monstrous. 1 “Unless you see something amazing you simply won’t believe.” Third, note the stark contrast between these Jews and the earlier Samaritans! What miracle did He do at the well? He was received into Galilee because of His miracles in Jerusalem, but they still want more! When is it enough? Signs and wonders were good; they proved that Jesus was the Messiah. But these people chase miracles; He was thrilling in Jerusalem and He’ll be thrilling in Galilee, but they still don’t believe. It’s similar to the mass feedings. When they came for a second helping He rejected them saying, “Ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled” (Jn. 6:26). The earthly thing should have pointed them to the spiritual thing, but they missed the point. Well, the rebuke serves its purpose but it doesn’t deter the man:
The nobleman saith unto him, Sir, come down ere my child die.
I can’t help but think that the man’s perspective has changed a little bit. Maybe he first asked thinking Capernaum could use a miracle-worker. Maybe he was thinking to put Jesus to the test personally. I guess now he’s thinking correctly though. This time he asks with proper motive.
Jesus saith unto him, Go thy way; thy son liveth.
Note the two commands: the royal official who says “come.” And now Jesus who says “go.” The man’s prayer is answered with no miracle. Will he believe? And the man believed the word that Jesus had spoken unto him, and he went his way.
It seems so sudden in reading doesn’t it? Jesus says it, and the man just walks off delighted. The word is enough. I’m not sure he’s a full-fledged believer, but he will be this time tomorrow.
And as he was now going down, his servants met him, and told him, saying, Thy son liveth. The change in the boy was so abrupt and plain that the servants went after their master to bring him home.
Then enquired he of them the hour when he began to amend. And they said unto him, Yesterday at the seventh hour the fever left him. 53So the father knew that it was at the same hour, in the which Jesus said unto him, Thy son liveth: Imagine his eyes when they told him! He must have had chills and goose-bumps! and himself believed, and his whole house. 54This is again the second miracle that Jesus did, when he was come out of Judaea into Galilee. Here’s something interesting that goes along with the theme of miracles: no one actually saw the miracle. It could have been coincidence or the nobleman could be lying about the time. But these people hear the story of the miracle and believe. This is the real point of the story. It’s not about a miracle; it’s about believing that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing we might have life through His name. Let’s close with a few thoughts: #1- Jesus came to do the will of the Father and He did it. He probably could have stayed in Samaria longer than He did; He was popular there. He could have set up a little church or home Bible study and called the world to come pay Him a visit. But He had an appointment with the nobleman in Cana. He left Samaria when it was time to go. It’s also worth noting that He hasn’t left a single person out of His appointment schedule: poor fishermen? Check. Religious leader? Check. Outcast? Check. Royalty? Check. It makes me think of Paul’s charge to Timothy: “I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; 2For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. 3For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; 4Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth” (I Tim. 2:1-4).
#2- Jesus is much more than a Miracle-worker; He is God’s only begotten Son and the Savior of the world. There’s a big difference between the way the Samaritans and the Galileans received Him, and we see the same thing today. There are many who receive Him because He is God and Man and Mediator and King; but there are too many who only want Him for His magical properties. They want a genie in a bottle. They want Him at their command and they want Him to perform or they won’t believe. A wicked generation asks for a sign; they don’t believe what’s already been shown to them. We believe God still does miracles, but the time of proving that Jesus is the Christ, that the Apostles have power, and that the Gentiles are grafted into the branch is over. The Samaritans and the nobleman believed the word! #3- Jesus often afflicts us to bring us near in faith. Our first and most natural reaction to suffering is to get away from it or to complain about it, but if we’re heirs of the promise then we believe all things are for our good. I’m not saying that we don’t seek shelter from suffering, but we do recognize its value. When things just won’t go our way (when the boy has a fever) we ought to see that it’s because we have an appointment with Christ that won’t be missed. Paul complained about a thorn in his side and was content upon hearing, “My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness”(II Cor. 12:9). It’s my prayer that we’ll trust in Him through every circumstance without wavering! newgracebaptistchurch.wordpress.com
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