John 4:43-54 – Sincere faith

In terms of a person healed from a distance the healing of the official’s son here is similar to the healing of the Centurion’s servant in Matthew 8 and Luke 7.  The official is probably from Herod’s household and there is no reason to assume he is not a Jew. Jesus resumes his journey to Galilee from 4:3.

 

Jesus rebukes the people of Cana as a whole for putting a premium on miracles as the only reason to believe in him; indeed the implication must be that their belief is deficient in that it only seems to extend to believing that Jesus has miraculous powers consistent with a prophet.

The parallel attitude of Jews in Jerusalem and Galilee towards Jesus suggests that the expression “own country” refers to all Jewish territory – i.e. both Galilee in the north and Judea in the south.

 

Following the account of genuine faith in a Samaritan community, Jesus is surely to be seen here to be making a distinction between the authentic response he has received from those who are despised by the Jews and the superficial response of the Jews themselves, who appear more preoccupied with the spectacle of miracles rather than true spiritual life. Overall the role of miracles in John’s gospels is ambivalent: on the one hand they cannot guarantee genuine faith – e.g. 2:23-25 and 11:45&46, but on the other hand they have real value in encouraging faith – e.g. 10:38 and 14:11. On recognising that the time Jesus said his son would live is the exact time of recovery, we are told “[the official] and all his household believed” (v. 53).

 

Let’s pray that our faith will not depend on manifestations of miraculous power but rather on what we have become convinced of to be true in accordance with Hebrews 11:1 – “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” Let’s also pray though that we will see miracles including healing in those who are unwell and that such signs will result in genuine faith in unbelievers.

 

Pray: Let’s use the scripture declaring the supremacy of Christ from Colossians 1 as a declaration of faith, and worship to our wonderful Saviour. Now let’s bring before God those who are sick and needing healing.

Song: Awesome is He