This is Guthrie Chamberlain, Your Guide to Wisdom
The Gospel of John – 10 – Jesus Heals At A Distance – Daily Wisdom/:
The Gospel of John – Part 2 Presentation Of The Word – Jesus Heals At A Distance, on Page:
After the two days, he left for Galilee. (Now Jesus himself had pointed out that a prophet has no honor in his own country.) When he arrived in Galilee, the Galileans welcomed him. They had seen all that he had done in Jerusalem at the Passover Festival, for they also had been there.
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. 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.
“Unless you people see signs and wonders,” Jesus told him, “you will never believe.”
The royal official said, “Sir, come down before my child dies.”
“Go,” Jesus replied, “your son will live.”
The man took Jesus at his word and departed. 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 to him, “Yesterday, at one in the afternoon, the fever left him.”
Then the father realized that this was the exact time at which Jesus had said to him, “Your son will live.” So he and his whole household believed.
This was the second sign Jesus performed after coming from Judea to Galilee.
Jesus was a “faith healer,” but not what we think of today when you hear about faith healers on TV or ones that make a public spectacle of their healing. Many of today’s “faith healers” also have a money-making component. In today’s message, we will see that Jesus did not need to be physically present for healing. I can’t heal anyone, nor am I a “conduit” of God’s healing power. Frankly, the supposed healings performed today by certain notable figures bear little resemblance to the “signs” offered by Jesus and His apostles. However, this is not to say I don’t believe in supernatural healing. I do. While I don’t have a personal story of instantaneous miraculous healing, let me share a recently-read story. Pastor and former president of Dallas Theological Seminary, Charles Swindoll, who I respect as a solid Bible teacher, shared this story in one of his books.
“I am aware of and read about examples in which the healing power of God left doctors speechless. On one occasion, a close friend developed a malignancy on the side of his tongue. By its diagnosis, it had spread to the lymph nodes and through a part of his upper torso. As a father of four with a full life and a promising career ahead, he needed to prepare a will, get his house in order, and begin turning his business over to associates.
Several of his friends, including me, were not able to be with him right away, so we agreed to pray for him. Though we were all separated by many miles, we faithfully prayed and began asking God for a miracle, if that would be His will. We asked that the Lord be glorified in this friend’s healing and continued life. To be perfectly honest, none of us knew the Father’s will for our friend—but we all agreed that our God was able. Furthermore, we loved the man and desperately wanted God to snatch him from the jaws of death.
A palpable sense of assurance enveloped us like a warm blanket. Though we hadn’t even met to pray together, we were confident that God would intervene in some unusual way. And did He ever!
Within days, our friend stepped off a plane in Rochester, Minnesota, for more scans, further examination, refined diagnoses, and, if needed, a more aggressive treatment. If anyone could help him, it would be those experts at the Mayo Clinic. And to the stunned amazement of the four-physician team, no trace of the disease could be found as further X-rays and scans were taken. The obvious explanation was that the original diagnosis was incorrect, but the records were double-checked and reached the same conclusion. His widespread malignancy was unmistakable … but all the tumors were now gone. Furthermore, annual re-checks confirmed that they were gone for good. What happened? Clearly and miraculously, God healed the man./ Unfortunately, God often does not perform miraculous healings because He has a greater purpose in mind, which we may never understand.d to as miracle drugs; (since:
Admittedly, I know of only a handful of unexplained healings of the body. But, make no mistake: God can and does miraculously heal today. “If they happened daily, we’d call ‘em ‘regulars,’ not ‘miracles.’ ” Still, I know of many more spiritual healings from the disease of sin, where God has changed a person from the inside out.
There is no need to find someone with a supposed “gift of healing” to make it happen. God has given us unrestricted access to the throne room of heaven. We are invited to come directly to the Almighty with our most pressing problems and distressing afflictions (with or without others who are living right, James 5:14). God has promised to hear our concerns and receive our requests with compassion. However, we must remember that the Lord will do what He determines to be right, which may not be what we want or demand. At that point, our trust in Him faces its greatest challenge.
As we begin reflecting on the scripture verses for today, remember that John wrote his version of the Good News many decades after the events took place, so we see snapshots of events intermixed with the knowledge and wisdom he had after the fact.
43 At the end of the two days, Jesus went on to Galilee. Remember last week, and the pleading of the Samaritans in Sychar Jesus stayed with them and taught them for two days. After that, Jesus continued to Galilee, where He had spent His childhood. (Bulletin Insert)
Jesus had warned His disciples with the statement, 44 He himself had said that a prophet is not honored in his own hometown. He may have mentioned it since they were going back to his childhood stomping grounds. In this case, John may be reflecting on the success among the “foreign” Samaritans and granting us access to Jesus’ inner life. While the present visit was a pleasant time among the Galileans, who were perhaps proud of their hometown hero, the Lord kept their goodwill in perspective. When people get what they want, belief comes easily. 45 Yet the Galileans welcomed him, for they had been in Jerusalem at the Passover celebration and had seen everything he did there. How will they respond when confronted with the truth? When the true Messiah confronts the “messiah of their expectations,” which will they choose? The days ahead will become a clash of wills—human expectations versus God’s sovereignty. Jesus’ encounter with the royal official illustrates the faith response He desires.
John sets the location as Cana, (Bulletin Insert) the site of Jesus’ first “sign.” A royal official appears to have been conducting business in Cana when he heard that Jesus had returned from Judea. John tells us that this man’s home was in Capernaum, an important town on the north shore of the Sea of Galilee, roughly eighteen miles away (about six hours on foot, two hours by chariot). 46 As he (Jesus) traveled through Galilee, he came to Cana, where he had turned the water into wine. There was a government official in nearby Capernaum whose son was very sick.oyalty—royal clothing (Acts:
We can be confident that his coming to see Jesus did not go unnoticed. And his demeanor did not fit his position. His son lay dying in Capernaum, and he “begged him” Jesus to make the journey. (This was not befitting of a royal official) 47 When he heard that Jesus had come from Judea to Galilee, he went and begged Jesus to come to Capernaum to heal his son, who was about to die. This is a good rendering of the Greek imperfect verb tense, which describes an action that is either ongoing or repetitive. In the urgency of his son’s illness, the official cast off any dignity and “kept on begging” the Lord to come. He was probably used to getting his way.
Jesus responded with a rebuke, which appeared harsh. 48 Jesus asked, “Will you (people) never believe in me unless you see miraculous signs and wonders?” “You people” (NIV) is just the plural “you” in Greek, identifying the man with a group. Who, specifically, is unclear. Galileans, in general? People associated with the royal family? Because the man was an aristocratic Jew, he likely was one of the Sadducees, who didn’t believe God intervened in human affairs. Instead, they believed each person creates his own fate and deserves whatever fate he receives, including illness, poverty, and death. To have a Sadducee begging Jesus for a miracle was a notable irony.
Because the man was a Galilean standing among Galileans, it’s also likely that Jesus noted a subtle pattern in their thinking that would become unmistakable later on (6:26–27). First, the man desperately wanted Jesus to, 49 The official pleaded, “Lord, please come now before my little boy dies.” This plea suggests that he saw a limitation in Jesus’ power that prevented His healing over a great distance, which would be somewhat understandable. (Cell Phone example). There was no precedent for distance healing. Furthermore, he presumed to tell Jesus how to conduct the healing rather than simply entrusting the care of his son to the Lord. And, most significantly, he sought Jesus as a means to get what he wanted, not as the Messiah who is worthy of worship.
Nevertheless, the royal official would not relent. Facing this desperate situation, at this point, he was not an aristocrat, an official, a Sadducee, or even a Galilean. Instead, he was a father, worried about his dying son.
The royal official located Jesus in Cana, but his son died roughly eighteen miles away in Capernaum. Nevertheless, Jesus healed the man’s son with a mere word, proving that distance cannot diminish His power. Instead, Jesus used the man’s vulnerable state of mind to teach him genuine belief.
50 Then Jesus told him, “Go back home. Your son will live!” And the man believed what Jesus said and started home. He said, “Go about your business; your son is fine.”
John says, “And the man believed what Jesus said” How significant! “Belief” is a critical feature in John’s narrative; however, “belief” does not necessarily trust Jesus as Messiah and Savior. When John uses the verb “believe” without an object—as in, “Now we believe” (John 4:42), he describes saving faith, and trust in Jesus as Savior. The same is true of the phrase, “everyone who believes in Him” (3:16). The man believed what Jesus said to be accurate, which is an essential first step, but not the same belief that saved the Samaritans (4:41).
Clearly, the Lord’s word was enough for this father. John says he “started home,” or it could be translated as “carried on.” It’s the same verb for “go” the Lord used earlier.
Someone reading this too quickly might think the phrase “started home or departed” (NIV) in 4:50 means the man started directly for home. A natural response would be to rush home to verify that the boy was better. But, if we closely examine the details, it tells a different story. The man didn’t race off to Capernaum. Instead, he went about his business in Cana. How do we know? By putting several clues together.
As mentioned earlier, Capernaum was no more than six hours away on foot, two hours by chariot. (Rich people like this official didn’t walk when they had the means to ride!) 51 While the man was on his way, some of his servants met him with the news that his son was alive and well. Note the time of the healing: 52 He asked them when the boy had begun to get better, and they replied, “Yesterday afternoon at one o’clock his fever suddenly disappeared!” So the father didn’t start for home until the day after his encounter with Jesus.
Jesus said, “Go about your business,” and the man did just that! He had come to Cana for more than to find Jesus, so he finished his work there.
53 Then the father realized that that was the very time Jesus had told him, “Your son will live.” And he and his entire household believed in Jesus. Note the absence of any direct object. Whereas before, he “believed the word that Jesus spoke,” (that his son would be healed), now he “believed in Jesus.” This kind of faith brings a person into a relationship with God through His Son, Jesus./ It moves beyond merely accepting His message to trust in Jesus as Savior, Messiah, and Son of God. “he and his entire household believed in Jesus.”
Now John gives us another interlude.
54 This was the second miraculous sign Jesus did in Galilee after coming from Judea. We know from the other Gospel accounts that Jesus performed many more signs in Galilee and Judea throughout his three years of ministry. His growing fame brought multitudes seeking physical and spiritual healing. Before long, a movement began to form as followers fell in behind the rabbi from Nazareth, who also happened to be a descendant of David. They believed His words, and they appeared to believe in Him. They were also looking for a king to lead them. But would they accept the kingdom He promised, or did they want a king of their own making?
APPLICATION: JOHN 4:43–54
Easy Believing versus Saving Faith
The first thing people mistake for saving faith is this: an intellectual assent to specific historical facts. Some people believe in Jesus Christ the same way they believe in Napoleon or George Washington. They believe He actually lived. He was a real person in history, but they are not trusting Him to do anything for them now. This kind of belief is “mere intellectual assent.”
Another type of belief that falls short of saving faith. “Temporal faith” is acceptable and is a step in the right direction, yet it still falls short. For example, we might say that you had financial faith when you trusted the Lord for your finances. You trusted the Lord to care for your family—you could call that family faith. You trusted the Lord to help you with your decisions—you might call that deciding faith. On trips, you had traveling faith. There is one element all these things have in common. They are temporal.…/ But saving faith trusts Christ to save you—to save you eternally.
John’s story of a father desperate to see his deathly ill son restored to health illustrates the difference between authentic saving faith and other kinds of belief. When Jesus assured the man that his son would live, And the man believed what Jesus said (4:50). He believed that Jesus would grant his request—temporal faith. Later, when he realized that his son’s miraculous recovery coincided with Jesus’ word, “And he and his entire household believed in Jesus.” (4:53). He then believed in Jesus as Messiah, accepting as true all the Lord’s claims and trusting the Savior for salvation.
What is the nature of your belief? Do you call upon the Lord to save your finances, restore the health of someone you love, or keep your family from harm? If so, don’t stop! He wants us to come to Him with all our sorrows and cares. The Lord desires to become an integral part of our everyday experiences. But don’t stop there. Don’t let the extent of your trust end with temporal matters.
Jesus told Nicodemus, “This is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). Each one of us is sick with the terminal disease of sin. And justice demands punishment for sin, which is eternal separation from God. But, because Jesus, the Savior, paid the penalty for our sins, we may have eternal life … by trusting in Jesus to save us. That’s the kind of belief Jesus calls us to exercise. That’s saving faith.
The next chapter for next week’s message starts; Some time later, Jesus went up to Jerusalem for one of the Jewish festivals. Again, his followers faced a difficult choice. Next week we will learn about A Picture of Legalism. Please read John 5:1-18 in preparation for next week’s message.