John was one of Jesus’ best friends. And it’s interesting to note that his gospel is unique among the four gospels. Mathew, Mark, and Luke are known as the synoptic gospels because they are closely related. With subtle differences between them to bring out different aspects of who Jesus is. But John’s gospel is a whole other thing. John’s is telling the story of his best friend.
It’s important to keep that in mind as you read John’s gospel. John is bringing us into his relationship with Jesus. He is sharing his revelation with us.
Today we look at the second sign in John’s gospel a story of how Jesus healed a man’s son and how that reveals Jesus as the Word of God. This is part three you can read one and two here.
Let’s dig in.
Signs and Wonders
Jesus returns to Cana for his second sign found in John 4:46-54. Before we go further stop and read that passage.
Ok, let’s go.
As we move forward put yourself in the Official’s shoes. His son is sick and he knows that Jesus has the ability to heal. He just has to get Jesus to come and touch his son. So he does what any good parent would do he goes to Jesus asks him to come heal his son. But Jesus doesn’t seem motivated to act. He replies, “Unless you all see signs and wonders you all will not believe.” (John 4: 48) Pause for a moment and think about that response.
This man has come to Jesus asking him to heal his son. And Jesus gives commentary on the whole group. Can you imagine what this man must have been thinking, “But I’m not them Jesus. I just want my son healed.” So he pushes back and says, “Sir, come down before my child dies.” (John 4:49) Can you hear the desperation in his voice? Can you feel the urgency in his tone? He needs Jesus to act and act quickly. So why is Jesus not acting? Why is he lamenting over the people’s need to see a sign?
Jesus, as John tells us at the beginning of his gospel, is the Word of God become man. Jesus is God in flesh, blood, and bones. But people are missing it. The people came from a long tradition of prophets performing signs, and they simply wanted a prophet to perform tricks on command. They wanted Jesus to entertain them. They were missing the point of Jesus’ mission. Jesus hadn’t come to do magic tricks he came to bring transformation.
N.T. Write says it best when he writes, “They are taking photographs of the road signs rather than driving where the signs tell them to. They are wanting a Messiah who will perform miracles to order, rather moving on to real faith which will grasp Jesus’ hidden identity, the Word dwelling in the flesh.” The people were so focused on the miracles that they missed who Jesus was.
So Jesus is venting his frustration not because he didn’t care about the man’s son. He is making a statement about this sign. In other words Jesus is telling them that most of them won’t see this sign and the man will have to believe Jesus without seeing Him do anything. So Jesus responded, “Go; your son will live.” (John 4:50) Jesus tells the man to go home alone. Did you catch that? He doesn’t do something that everyone around can see. He simply tells the man go because his child will be healed.
He doesn’t lay hands on his son. He doesn’t give the man anything to take back to his son. He just speaks. John is drawing us back to the beginning of his story. John opens his gospel by saying, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.” (John 1:1-3) And what is John doing here? He is drawing our attention back to Genesis one where we are told God spoke creation into existence.
John wants us to connect Jesus with the Father. So he tells us a story about Jesus healing someone with only words. He wants to show us that Jesus really is the Word of God. That’s why this sign is important, because Jesus finds a man who is willing to believe that he can do miracles without a visible sign. It points us beyond the flesh, blood, and bones of Jesus to the divine nature of the Word become man.