The Gospel of John Commentary Chapters 1-11 (by chapter)

John 4:43-54 - Jesus Heals the Nobleman's Son


v43 After the two days (at Samaria) He left for Galilee. 
v44 Now Jesus himself had pointed out that a prophet has no honour in his own country (Galilee) 

At this point (February AD 31), Jesus starts a new phase of ministry in Galilee that is recorded in all the Gospels and continues to the Feeding of the 5,000 at Passover AD 32 (Matthew 4:17-14:12, Mark 1:14-6:30, Luke 4:14-9:10). Only John however tells us about this first miracle of this new ministry-phase.

v45 When He arrived in Galilee, the Galileans welcomed Him. They had seen all that he had done in Jerusalem at the Passover Feast, for they also had been there. 

v46 Once more he visited Cana in Galilee, where he had turned the water into wine. And there was a certain royal official whose son lay sick at Capernaum. 

v47 When this man heard that Jesus had arrived in Galilee from Judea, he went to him and begged him to come and heal his son, who was close to death. 

v48 "Unless you people see miraculous signs and wonders," Jesus told him, "you will never believe." 

v49 The royal official said, "Sir, come down before my child dies." 

v50 Jesus replied, "You may go. Your son will live." The man took Jesus at his word and departed. 

v51 While he was still on the way, his servants met him with the news that his boy was living. 
v52 When he inquired as to the time when his son got better, they said to him, "The fever left him yesterday at the seventh hour." 
v53 Then the father realised that this was the exact time at which Jesus had said to him, "Your son will live." So he and all his household believed. 

v54 This was the SECOND miraculous SIGN that Jesus performed, having come from Judea to Galilee. 

Introduction (v43-46a): 
“After the two days (at Samaria) He (Jesus) left for Galilee. Now Jesus Himself had pointed out that a prophet has no honour in his own country (Galilee). When He arrived in Galilee, the Galileans welcomed Him. They had seen all that He had done in Jerusalem at the Passover Feast, for they also had been there. Once more He visited Cana in Galilee, where He had turned the water into wine (He was probably visiting His mother who had been living there since the Wedding in John 2. He had been away for almost a year).” 

John 2:23-25 tells us that Jesus had done miracles in Jerusalem, making Him popular with many but He knew their faith was superficial
“Now when He was in Jerusalem at the Passover, during the Feast, many believed on His Name, beholding His signs which He did. But Jesus did not trust Himself to them, for He knew all men, and He needed not for anyone to bear witness concerning man; for He Himself knew what was in man. 

Those from Galilee who had returned from the Feast now welcomed Him, but mostly because of the miracles. Jesus however, was looking for a deeper faith-commitment to Him as a Person, as the Messiah - not just as a entertainer or wonder-worker. So, He warned His disciples not to be fooled by the warm welcome, for not all would receive His claims: ‘a prophet has no honour in his own country

The Nobleman: “And there was a certain royal official (from the Court of King Herod the Tetrach), whose son lay sick at Capernaum (he would have tried everything money could buy to heal his boy but without success). When this man heard that Jesus had arrived in Galilee from Judea, he went to Him and (persistently) begged him to come and heal his son, who was close to death” (v46b,47). He had real faith in Jesus as a prophet of God, but not yet as the Messiah - hence he felt Jesus would have to travel to physically touch his son.

Jesus speaks to the people: "Unless you people see miraculous signs and wonders," Jesus told him,"you will never believe" (v48). 

This striking response takes us by surprise. First, He was making a statement of fact - that Israel rightly required signs of Messiahship before receiving Him as the Messiah. In so doing, He was announcing to the people that He was about to give them another such sign that they might believe in Him. But it was also designed as a challenge to the unbelief of the people (including the Nobleman) who were slow to commit themselves to Him in faith as their Saviour-King. They were just waiting for the next miracle, watching the best show in town, thinking: ‘Show us more, Jesus, then we will believe.’ They were not really believing in Him, but just living from one miracle to the next. Signs are given, not to entertain, but to bring people to faith in Jesus as Lord, leading to changed lives. Jesus took this opportunity to address their carnal mind (unbelief) which must SEE before BELIEVING. Jesus is calling this Nobleman to true faith in Him as the Son of God and to trust in His Word alone (without any other confirming evidence that he could see, feel or touch). 

SIGNS are illustrated messages, showing us how the Kingdom works (how God wants to work in our lives). This Second Sign is included (selected) in God’s Word because it carries an important message for us. Here Christ reveals Himself as our HEALER, the Restorer of those about to die, whose power is not limited by distance. It also reveals the kind of true FAITH God desires to develop in us by which we receive life 
(trusting in Jesus as the Christ and in His Word alone). 

The Nobleman’s response (v49): “The royal official said, "Sir, come down before my child dies." He was not put off, but showed faith by persisting with his request out of great love for his boy. He had a limited faith, for he believed Jesus could heal, but only if He was there in the flesh to do it. Moreover he assumed that Jesus could not resurrect the boy. He was not believing in Him as Messiah yet. He could believe and understand that if he could see Jesus come and touch the boy, then somehow he could be healed. But Jesus is not satisfied with this kind of faith.

In v50, Jesus now stretches his faith, bringing him to the point where he has to decide whether he will trust completely in His word: 
“Jesus replied, "GO YOUR WAY. Your son will live." 
“The man took Jesus at His word and departed” (v50). 

The man had been at a low-level of faith that required a lot of sensory support, he had needed the assurance of Jesus’ Presence, but now he was required to just believe His Word (without seeing it work or understanding how it could work). This required total trust. He could not lean on his understanding, his senses, sight or feelings but purely on the Word of Jesus. This tested the genuineness of his faith in Christ. Was he like many others who would not believe until they saw or felt it, or would he believe Jesus purely based on His word? He was being called to real faith (trusting in the Person of Christ, in the reliability of His character and word). 

He had a decision. Would he say: ‘No, Jesus, come with me’ or ‘How can I be sure, give me a sign or a tingling feeling’? Jesus would have said: ‘NO - you have my Word, that is enough’. The only evidence faith needs is the WORD: ‘He took Jesus at His word’ - this is simple faith which has corresponding actions: ‘and he departed (for home).’ He saw the look of love, strength and faithfulness in the face (Presence) of Jesus and took Him at His word. He BELIEVED (without understanding how it could work) then he SAW. 

The Nobleman is our example of faith
. When we hear God’s Word from the Presence of Jesus, faith comes (Romans 10:17) and we’re not to look for more signs. Is His Word enough for us or do we need to feel or see something extra before believing? If we’re just looking for more signs or feelings to convince us we have unbelief, and are in a babyhood level of faith. Jesus calls us to greater faith, as He did with this man. 

The only evidence strong faith needs is the WORD: 
1. Seek His Presence and receive His Word into your heart (then faith comes with the Word).
2. Take God at His Word, with simple pure faith.
3. Walk the walk of faith like the Nobleman. Add corresponding actions to your faith. Walk and talk as if the promise were true - don’t go desperately looking for feelings and signs. Go your way holding onto the word, thanking God for bringing it to pass: ‘I am healed, blessed and saved, because God says it and that settles it.’ If I don’t feel it, that does not change the Word. God’s Word is true and that is what counts. It is final reality, everything else is subject to change. The only evidence strong faith needs is the WORD.

Examples: * God says: ‘I will bless (prosper) you.’ 
Don’t say: ‘When someone gives £1000, then I’ll believe’

* God says: ‘I am your Healer.’ 
Don’t say: ‘When I fall down, feel hot and tingling, then I’ll know’

* God says: “I give you wisdom’ (James 1:5). 
Don’t say: “I don’t know what to do.”
But say by faith: “God is leading me step by step” (Psalm 23). 

* Thank God for giving you: “a spirit of power, love and discipline” (2Timothy 1:7) even when you don’t feel it. 

* Know that God hears your prayers, if they are according to His will (1John 5:14, 1Peter 3:12).

* Believe His promise that His plans for you are good (Eph 2:10, Jer 29:11)

Imagine a newly Married Couple. She is first assured by his loving presence and touch. Then they are separated by war. She must now trust his word alone. This is a deeper faith. If she says: ‘I don’t know you love me, because I can’t see or feel you, I need visible sign’, this would show a lack of faith in him. At our B&B we have to take credit card numbers to book a room because we can’t trust strangers, but for regular customers who’ve proved themselves this tangible assurance is not necessary. With an honourable man, his word is the best proof and assurance you can have.

Can you trust Christ at His word, or does He have to prove Himself more to you? Do you need more signs before you believe? Do you still need to feel something before you walk in faith?

The Nobleman received the Word and walked home in faith (v51-53): “While he was still on the way, his servants met him with the news that his boy was living. When he inquired as to the time when his son got better, they said, "The fever ft him yesterday at the seventh hour." Then the father realised that this was the exact time at which Jesus had said to him, "Your son will live." 

He BELIEVED, then he SAW. The boy was healed the moment the word was given and received. When he received the Word (his faith based purely on the character of the One who gave it) healing flowed instantly. When you receive the word (of healing), you receive your healing: “He sent His word and healed them” (Psalm 107:20).  Such faith that receives the Word brings peace even before you see the manifestation. We see this with the Nobleman. He did not rush the 20 miles home to Capernaum in an unbelieving panic, but travelled in peace, arriving the next day. 

“So he and all his household BELIEVED (in Jesus as the Messiah).” His faith was confirmed when he saw His word come to pass. Now, he knew Jesus had to be the Messiah to do such a sign (instant healing over distance by His word alone) showing His Lordship over space and time. His faith now had grown to believe fully in the Person of Christ - the God-Man. Whenever you trust God like this man and God provides, then your faith is strengthened as well as those close to you.



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