Jesus Is On The Move [John 4:46-54]
Jesus is Going to Where the People Will Hear
He has just come back from Jerusalem where he did several miracles. Jesus settled into an area of northern Galilee. He did not return to Nazareth explaining that a prophet is without honor in his own city and in his own family. In contrast, the people of Galilee warmly received him, having seen the miracles he did in Jerusalem and many believed he was the Messiah.
Cana of Galilee is special to me. The wedding, the first miracle, the dialogue between Jesus and his mother, the display of God’s heart… to care about a young newlywed couple being embarrassed, to care about the affairs of our ordinary everyday lives, to care about family and community, to care about what’s on Mary’s heart and her prayer. It also shows the generosity of the Almighty. These are a few things that touch my heart about Cana. John is the only gospel writer to record this miracle. He said it was Jesus’ first. As I think about it now, possibly what touches me so deeply is the revelation of the humanity of Jesus here. It demonstrates earthly families and our heavenly family in close conjunction. There are at least two people present who are very in tune with God. They are praying, listening, and feeling in their hearts what’s going on with their community, friends, and family.
The author John Eldridge, in his book about the humanity of Jesus, Beautiful Outlaw, uses this miracle to demonstrate God’s generosity. I smile when I think about it. He goes so far as to compute how many bottles of wine Jesus produced for this celebration very late in the party, 908 if you take a large number, 757 if you take the smaller number. Then he ends with the humorous comment, “Don’t get mad at me! I didn’t do the miracle, I just did the math.”
Another Miracle in Cana
Today, in my New Testament reading and meditating about Jesus, I was struck with thoughts and insights about a second miracle that happened in Cana. Jesus had just come through Samaria (Gasp!), dialoguing with the woman at the well then staying a few more days in her village introducing many of her friends to the kingdom of God. Standing now in Cana a few miles north, he had just made the comment about prophets not being received, then a ruler of the people, a man of some position and authority from Capernaum, who had traveled some miles to find Jesus stood in front of Him. He was desperate and needy because his young child was sick and close to death. With desperation and determination that perhaps only new parents know, he ended up in Jesus’s presence. “Please come heal my child because he’s close to death,” gushes out of him.
For reasons we don’t understand because we weren’t there and because we’re not God, Jesus gave an unusual reply. It was something along the lines, “You people are always looking for a sign unless you see a sign you won’t believe.” He may have said it to teach the disciples something true about themselves and all the people in the area? He may have said it because he wanted to challenge the thinking and understanding of the people in the region who were hearing his words? It might be because the Holy Spirit knew it would be recorded, informing and instructing people there and for ages to come about the condition of people’s hearts and what it really takes to please God?
For whatever reason he said it, it seems a little confrontational toward the ruler and father standing in front of him? But in humility and desperation, the man chose not to speak to Jesus’ comment nor question it. He just seems to say, “Please Sir, will you come and heal my son!?”
Then Jesus seeing the man’s humility, desperation, and love for his child; feeling compassion for him and seeing the faith demonstrated in his coming, simply said, “Go your way, your son is healed.” And so he was healed in the city a few miles away because a loving father exercised humility, action, and faith — a faith well placed in Jesus Christ the Son of God.
It Was A Turning Point
That was a turning point for this ruler, and for others. People would hear. The news of Jesus power to heal and do miracles would spread. Capernaum, whose Hebrew meaning is ”covering of mercy”, would become known as Jesus’ town, as it is to this day. He made it His headquarters for ministry during His three years in the Galilee.
Many Jews and Samaritans in the region would come to believe that he was the Christ the Son of the living God. Indeed, in the almost 2000 Easter seasons since, many millions of people have read this story, and and others like it recorded in the New Testament of the Holy Bible, the most published and best selling book of all times, coming to the same conclusion.
That conclusion seems to be reached by hearing or reading the Gospel story combined with some revelation from above bearing witness to its truth. Then those two events are mixed with the hearers own faith resulting in salvation and a relationship with the Most High through the sacrifice of His only Son, Jesus Christ.
The angel Gabriel told a maiden named Mary from the village of Nazareth a few miles from Cana that she would bear a son to be named Jesus, which in Hebrew means “God saves”. And that Jesus would set on David’s throne, the ruler of a kingdom which would never be destroyed. It’s my prayer, that if you’re not part of this kingdom and the Family of God made possible by His sacrifice and resurrection, that this Easter season you too will become a part. May you know His salvation and peace now and forever. Amen.
“Jesus said to him, “Go; your son lives.” The man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him and started off. As he was now going down, his slaves met him, saying that his son was living. So he inquired of them the hour when he began to get better. Then they said to him, “Yesterday at the seventh hour the fever left him.” So the father knew that it was at that hour in which Jesus said to him, “Your son lives”; and he himself believed and his whole household.” (John 4:50–53)