From Death to Life

In John 4:39-54, Jesus brings the official’s son from death to life. When Jesus arrived in Cana, after spending a couple of days in Samaria, an official came to him with an urgent need. His son was dying, and he came looking for Jesus for a miracle. 

This official was wealthy and most likely had a place of honor in Herod’s court. He had doctors and servants at his command trying to heal his son, but nothing worked. Then when he heard Jesus had returned to Galilee he decided to ask for help. Yet, instead of staying with his dying son and sending a servant, the official went himself to find Jesus. He was so desperate to save his son that he humbled himself and ran to Jesus to ask him to come with him to heal his son. He wasn’t close either. It was about 15 miles from Capernaum to Cana, and back then they didn’t have cars. 

Jesus’s first response to the man’s request sounds a little cold. He said, “Unless you see signs and wonders you will not believe.” However, his response did not deter the official who persisted, and Jesus responded, “Go; your son will live.”

The official did not ask for any signs or continue pressing Jesus to go to Capernaum. He simply believed Jesus at his word and returned home to find his precious son healed. His encounter with Jesus made him and his whole household believe that the promised Messiah had finally come. 

Signs and Wonders

When Jesus responded to the official’s request by rebuking him for needing a sign in order to believe, he was rebuking everyone who requires signs and wonders in order to believe. 

In his study of John, David Guzik explained: 

“It might seem that Jesus was harsh towards this man who wanted his son healed, but He encountered many in Galilee who were interested only in His miracles…Signs and wonders from God are obviously good things, but they should not form the foundation of our faith. We should not depend on them to prove God to us. In themselves, signs and wonders cannot change the heart; Israel saw incredible signs at Mount Sinai and even heard the very voice of God (Exodus 19:16-20:1), yet a short time later they worshipped a gold calf (Exodus 32:1-6).”

Do you believe in Christ because of the signs and miracles he can perform, or do you believe in him because of who he says he is? What is the foundation of your faith?

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