The Bible in John 4:43-53 run a story about the healing of a royal official’s son. The official travelled from Capernaum to Cana to seek healing from Jesus. At this time, Jesus had been staying in Cana for some time after arriving from Sychar, where he spent two days with Samaritans. The Bible informs us that a large number of Samaritans believed in Jesus. Interestingly, the Bible does not cite any significant miracle that Jesus could have performed among the Samaritans that made them trust Him.
Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me everything I ever did.” So when the Samaritans came to him, they urged him to stay with them, and he stayed two days. And because of his words, many more became believers.
John 4:39-41 (NIV)
Indeed John tells us that the healing of the royal official’s son was the second miracle of Jesus.
Isn’t it exciting to believe in, and follow Jesus daily without necessarily pegging it on miracles?
There are many lessons we can draw from this account.
Call on Jesus when trouble knocks
The royal official may have heard about Jesus Christ of Nazareth. He knew Jesus was in Cana, and he went straight to meet Him. There are many times we seek answers to difficulties in life from places and individuals other than Jesus. It seems that we do not know and appreciate the power found in Jesus. We fail to recognize that Jesus is the real dynamo.
Of course, there are many purveyors of solutions in the market square. They sell anything, including snake oil. They come in all shapes and sizes – politicians, wizards, witches. The royal official knew that only Jesus was capable of doing the impossible without strings attached. And true to his knowledge, healing was a piece of cake. With Jesus, there is no tempest in a teapot.
We should mind the welfare of our kith and kin
The royal official could not sit pretty, serving Herod the King, while his son was breathing his last. He had to quit whatever other important commitments he had and attend to his son. This is being a brother’s or sister’s guardian. We should not be like Cain, who asked God, ‘Am I my brother’s keeper?’ As Christians, we are cut from the same piece of cloth. We are hewn from the same Rock. Consequently, we have a charge to take care of one another – spiritually and physically.
Distance and time should not hold us back from Jesus
The distance between Capernaum and Cana was approximately 27km. This was not the time of supercharged and turbo engines. It was such a low time in civilization. The horse was the fastest means of transport on land. A horse could take about 45 minutes to 1 hour to cover this distance. If the official was to walk, he would have taken between 6 hours to 10 hours depending on numerous factors.
These bottlenecks did not hold the official from seeking contact with Jesus. He pursued Jesus irrespective of space and time hurdles. In the Kingdom pursuits, there is nothing like an inopportune moment.
Signs and wonders should be the decorations on our faith and not their foundations
Jesus made an explanatory statement as he responded to the official’s plea. “Unless you people see signs and wonders,” Jesus told him, “you will never believe.” This statement was meant for consumption by the gathering that was possibly milling around Him, and not only the official. Remember, these guys in Galilee had welcomed Him because of what he did in Jerusalem at the Passover Festival. Unlike the Samaritans, they did not appreciate Him for who He was.
This statement is also meant for us (2 Timothy 3:16). It was a rebuke and still remains a rebuke to those of us who run after miracles instead of Jesus. Is our faith founded in miracles or in the person of Jesus? We are called to love God, not because of what He does but because of who He is.
Persistence is profitable
Despite Jesus’ seemingly reluctant stance, the official persisted by asking Jesus to come down as his son was on deathbed. This kind of character produced outstanding returns as Jesus commanded him to go back to his home for his son was alive.
We are to persevere in prayer and tarry in good works. We must keep on serving Him.
When was the last time you threw yourself at something head-over-heels? In many occasions, we give up easily. We seldom persist when the situation is a touch and go. In no way am I suggesting we pursue things that are so obvious that they will end in nothingness. Wisdom here is the king.
Faith comes by hearing
The official heard from Jesus, “Go…your son lives,” and he left at once. His faith in Jesus skyrocketed. He had heard about Jesus and his miracles, and he knew that Jesus was neither a liar nor a lunatic. He never pestered Jesus further; he just went his way.
We must have faith in God
Just like the official, we have heard about Jesus. We have encountered Him. We know Him. The Scriptures reveal Him. He is no stranger to us. We are fully aware of what He can do. This is sufficient to develop faith in Him. We have confidence that He listens and responds when we come before Him in prayers and supplications. His character, as revealed in the Scriptures, inspires faith. He is the same yesterday, today and forever.
The distance between Capernaum and Cana is 27km. The official could only have taken one hour on a horse to reach home. In case he was on foot (it is doubtful that an official of his rank could have been on foot), he would have taken less than 10 hours. However, verse 52 indicates that the official took more than 10 hours. It could be that the officer heard from Jesus, believed and departed to continue with his errands without minding the son as he was cocksure he was now well. It was a new day by the time he was returning to his home.
Rejoice with those who rejoice
Verse 51 tells us that the official’s servants went looking for him to share the good news of a healed son. The fact that a once ICU candidate was now alive and kicking jolted them into jubilation. It appears that they were enthusiastic and eager to celebrate with their master. How many times do we curse our employers, and wish them evil?
We are supposed to rejoice when others excel. Sadly, this is not always the case. We are constantly in perpetual competition. We are working very hard to outdo one another. We get envious when we see someone has something we do not have. It is the spirit that led Cain to kill his brother Abel. It is the same spirit that made King Saul hunt down David like a wicked werewolf. It is the same spirit that drives us to physically kill our fellow humans. It is the same spirit that leads us to emotionally harm our fellow Christians. It is the same spirit that motivates us to spiritually kill our fellow believers. It is the same evil spirit that kills anointing, fellowships and even churches.
A prophet is seldom honoured in his or her own country. A pastor receives admiration in distant places that his own church. The people who will celebrate your success, whether it is a graduation, marriage, promotion, buying land, building a house, writing a book or a blog, are likely to be strangers and foreigners. This is not supposed to be the case.
Salvation is not an individual affair
Verse 53 shows that this official did not stop at only having faith in Jesus’ miracles but went ahead to believe in Him as the Saviour. His entire household also believed. (We find a similar scenario in Acts 16:34). No one was left behind. Do not leave anyone behind. Go for the entire household. It is good news when the head of the family points his house to Jesus.