John 4:43-54. Sign #2

John 4:43    After the two days he left for Galilee.  44 (Now Jesus himself had pointed out that a prophet has no honour in his own country.) 45 When he arrived in Galilee, the Galileans welcomed him. They had seen all that he had done in Jerusalem at the Passover Festival, for they also had been there.

46    Once more he visited Cana in Galilee, where he had turned the water into wine. And there was a certain royal official whose son lay sick at Capernaum.  47 When this man heard that Jesus had arrived in Galilee from Judea, he went to him and begged him to come and heal his son, who was close to death.

48    “Unless you people see signs and wonders,” Jesus told him, “you will never believe.”

49    The royal official said, “Sir, come down before my child dies.”

50    “Go,” Jesus replied, “your son will live.”

The man took Jesus at his word and departed.

51 While he was still on the way, his servants met him with the news that his boy was living.  52 When he inquired as to the time when his son got better, they said to him, “Yesterday, at one in the afternoon, the fever left him.”

Then the father realized that this was the exact time at which Jesus had said to him, “Your son will live.” So he and his whole household believed.

54    This was the second sign Jesus performed after coming from Judea to Galilee.

Having returned to Galilee via Samaria, a ‘Royal Official’ seeks Jesus out. Just as the Samaritan woman was an unlikely candidate for the kingdom, so is this man. He is rich, powerful and connected to all the right people. He has no need of a peasant prophet. But he is desperate and Jesus does not disappoint.

In verse 46, the back reference to Cana– where Jesus turned the water into wine– prepares us for verse 54. Jesus heals the boy as his second in a series of ‘signs’ in Galilee.

As we’ve noted before, signs are important because of what they point towards. Jesus heals the boy as a testimony to his hometown sceptics: Jesus demonstrates the power of God and the nature of his kingdom. They needed the help of ‘signs and wonders’ in order to believe. What marks this ‘Royal Official’ is his readiness to take Jesus at his word– to believe (v50).

And so I am challenged to take Jesus at his word and believe that the kingdom of God has begun and is on its way in. His kingdom come changes everything. This day, this life, is transformed in its significance. God is in control. He is at work. Many things that are valued and prized in this world will soon amount to nothing– like a Bitcoin Bank Account at the height of it’s popularity, I find it hard to imagine that a day will come when it is worthless. But Jesus’ word tells me otherwise. Taking Jesus at his word, I want to invest in those things of lasting value.

Father, give me such insight into the values of your kingdom that I might give myself today to those things that will endure forever. Amen.