John 4:43-54 English Standard Version (ESV)
43 After the two days he departed for Galilee. 44 (For Jesus himself had testified that a prophet has no honor in his own hometown.) 45 So when he came to Galilee, the Galileans welcomed him, having seen all that he had done in Jerusalem at the feast. For they too had gone to the feast.
Jesus Heals an Official’s Son
46 So he came again to Cana in Galilee, where he had made the water wine. And at Capernaum there was an official whose son was ill. 47 When this man heard that Jesus had come from Judea to Galilee, he went to him and asked him to come down and heal his son, for he was at the point of death. 48 So Jesus said to him, “Unless you[a] see signs and wonders you will not believe.” 49 The official said to him, “Sir, come down before my child dies.” 50 Jesus said to him, “Go; your son will live.” The man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him and went on his way. 51 As he was going down, his servants[b] met him and told him that his son was recovering. 52 So he asked them the hour when he began to get better, and they said to him, “Yesterday at the seventh hour[c] the fever left him.” 53 The father knew that was the hour when Jesus had said to him, “Your son will live.” And he himself believed, and all his household. 54 This was now the second sign that Jesus did when he had come from Judea to Galilee.
Moving fully into the second half of Lent, we continue our journey together in the book of John.
We learn earlier in chapter 4 of John’s account that Jesus had been lingering in Samaria, a place the Jews had been steering clear of for years. Samaria was a hotbed of idol worship and marriages to outsiders; the Jews regarded Samaritans as mongrels and half-breeds. And with that backdrop, we are surprised to read Jesus lingered here, seemingly enjoying their company, and that great transformation was happening even to the entire village of Sychar.
And so as Jesus departs for Galilee you can sense the reservations He may had been feeling when John reminds us that Jesus had often said “a prophet has no honor in his own hometown.” Jesus was entering Galilee with a certain heaviness after having just spent time with people who “got it” and very likely enjoying His time greatly there.
So, as a government official (again we find an outsider and one not normally highly esteemed approaching Jesus) comes to Jesus asking Him to heal his young son, Jesus responds to him that His word is not enough, that you and everyone else needs to see miracles in order to believe. The official responds basically by ignoring all that and just saying, “please come see my son with me.”
This official didn’t care about grand displays, he only wanted Jesus to come with Him. He knew Jesus was the key to his son living. And He trusted Jesus’ word so much he was willing to leave without either Jesus or his miracle in hand.
This entire chapter of John gives us many signs or pointers to Jesus.
Why do you suppose Jesus enjoyed His time in Samaria so much? What was it about the faith of these people that made Jesus want to linger awhile and enjoy conversations with them? How can you apply this type of faith to your life?
Why do you suppose Jesus said often “a prophet has no honor in his own hometown”? There are a couple of strong undercurrents to this statement Jesus frequently made: 1. The hometown folks seemed to have it all together and didn’t see the need for someone who was just another hometown boy just like them. 2. We see a people in Galilee, though, who want to be dazzled. There’s a sense of, “You’re just a hometown boy, but if you dazzle us, maybe then we’ll believe.”
What area of your life right now is Jesus longing to hear from you, “Sir, come with me or ___________ will happen”? What challenge do you currently face where Jesus’ word is enough even if there is no promise of a miracle?