The Royal Official’s Son
After finishing up some work in Samaria, Jesus returns to Cana in Galilee where, John reminds us, he had turned water into wine. The word of this first sign must have spread, because upon his return a man seeks out Jesus about his sick son:
As he 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. 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. Jesus asked, “Will you never believe in me unless you see miraculous signs and wonders?” The official pleaded, “Lord, please come now before my little boy dies.” Then Jesus told him, “Go back home. Your son lives!” And the man believed what Jesus said and started home. While the man was on his way, some of his servants met him with the news that his son was alive and well. He asked them when the boy had begun to get better, and they replied, “Yesterday afternoon at one o’clock his fever suddenly disappeared!” Then the father realized that that was the very time Jesus had told him, “Your son lives.” And he and his entire household believed in Jesus. This was the second miraculous sign Jesus did in Galilee after coming from Judea.
1. What does this story say?
2. What does this story say about Jesus?
3. What does this story mean for you?
The father in the above story was given the gift of desperation. He was certain that his son was on death’s door and went looking the one person he thought could help. We do not know any of the details of the illness. We are not told what the boy was suffering from or for how long he’d been sick. We are told and can identify with the feelings of the father as he “went and begged Jesus to come.” For most of us there is not anything we wouldn’t do for our children if it is within our power to do so. Who knows what the man had heard about Jesus or how many other avenues he had already pursued prior to seeking Jesus, but at this point he is desperate enough to take Jesus at his word. There must have been a crowd around because Jesus responds by asking, “will you people will not believe unless you see signs and wonders?” He addresses them in the plural, here in Texas we’d use the contraction “y’all.” The point is he is not just speaking to the royal official, but making a generalization about all of the people he’d encountered. We are not too different today. The norm is to ignore the idea that Jesus may truly be the one who can change our lives. The book tells us that Jesus came into a world that he created, that he came to his own people, but his own people rejected him. Many times the rejection of Jesus occurs prior to taking the time to find out who he is. Approached this way, our actions confirm the words of Herbert Spencer: “There is a principle which is a bar against all information, which is proof against all arguments and which cannot fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance – that principle is contempt prior to investigation.” When we become as desperate as the royal official with the sick son, we are ready to listen. We are able to see the signs and comprehend their significance. Turning the water into wine was done up close and personal, the second sign is a long distance delivery. The man believes what Jesus says and begins his twenty mile trek back home. Before he even gets there he encounters household servants who confirm that the boy began to get better at exactly the time Jesus said, “your son lives.” He trusted Jesus enough to act upon what Jesus said to him. The power of his faith impacted all of the household, and they too came to believe in Jesus. John ends his account telling us that this is the second sign he is recording, reminding us to look for the meaning behind the miraculous.
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