43 After the two days he left for Galilee. 44 (Now Jesus himself had pointed out that a prophet has no honor in his own country.) 45 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.
46 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. 47 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.
48 “Unless you people see signs and wonders,” Jesus told him, “you will never believe.”
49 The royal official said, “Sir, come down before my child dies.”
50 “Go,” Jesus replied, “your son will live.”
The man took Jesus at his word and departed. 51 While he was still on the way, his servants met him with the news that his boy was living. 52 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.”
53 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.
54 This was the second sign Jesus performed after coming from Judea to Galilee.
(John 4:43-54 NIV)
The Apostle John continues his chronicle of Jesus’ life and events. After two days in Samaria, Jesus travels to the Galilean region of Israel. One of Jesus’ stops is at Cana, where He performed His first miracle of turning water into wine.
While Jesus was in Cana, a royal official from Capernaum heard about Jesus and hurried to meet Him, as the official’s son was near death.
To put this in perspective, Cana and Capernaum are about 20 miles apart. In our modern society, this is not a big deal – just jump in the car and go. In Jesus’ day, this is a big deal. 20 miles is a full day’s journey on foot.
John records that the royal official heard that Jesus was coming to Cana. Was the two-day stopover in Samaria the time needed for word of Jesus’ travels to go from Samaria to Capernaum and for the man to travel to Galilee in the hope of intercepting Jesus on His travels? We don’t know the details, but we do know the official had great faith that Jesus could save his son.
When the official found Jesus, he begged Jesus to come with him and heal his son. At first glance, Jesus seems insensitive to the man’s request, and in fact, accuses the man of requiring a sign or wonder before believing, as if Jesus had to prove Himself before the man would believe He was the Messiah.
Upon deeper investigation, we see that Jesus was not just concerned about the official’s son. Jesus was concerned about the official and his family, including the man’s son. Just like in Samaria, the soul fields were ready for harvest. This man came all the way from Capernaum to meet Jesus. He was willing to believe.
The official, undeterred, looked at Jesus and asked again. Jesus, seeing the love the official had for his son, and the desperation in his eyes, answered his question. “Go, your son will live.”
The miracle here is not that the son’s life was restored; the real miracle is that the official plus his entire family believed that Jesus was Messiah (v. 53). The man believed Jesus’ words by faith without validating that his son was alive and healed.
John goes on to tell us that the next day the official was on his way back to Capernaum when his servants intercepted him on the road. As the official’s servants gave him the good news about his boy being healed, the official inquired about the details. As the servants provided the specifics, the man suddenly realized that the very time when Jesus said that the man’s son would live when the boy was healed – at one in the afternoon the previous day.
In Jesus’ eyes, the miracle was not the healing – it was the harvest of the souls, bringing these folks into God’s kingdom.
So what is our point of view? Do we look at the seeming miracles around us in amazement? Or do we see the deeper story, the miracle of salvation and new life in Christ, the “harvest” as Jesus called it?
May we never lose sight of the miracle of lives changed for eternity. All the hardships of this life are but mere inconveniences compared to the surpassing greatness of spending eternity with Christ. And any miracles we experience this side of heaven are reminders of God’s greatest miracle – that God loves us and invites us to join Him in community for now and evermore.