Jesus: The Healer (4:46-54)

Bible Passage: John 4:46-54

This passage contains the second of the seven signs in John’s gospel that show who Jesus is. It is an echo of miracles performed by Elijah and Elisha, who both saw children raised to life early in their ministries. Jesus was approached by a royal official in the same area where he had turned water into wine. The official’s son was at the point of death, and Jesus assured the man he would live. Without Jesus even seeing the boy, this was enough for the official, and he believed Jesus at his word and went home to see his son brought back from the brink at the exact moment Jesus spoke to him.

Jesus Heals: The most obvious lesson from these verses centres on the healing itself. Jesus is presented with a boy who is sick and he has the power to do something about it. This shows us that Jesus is both able and willing to heal sickness. This is not an isolated incident. Through the gospels we see Jesus preaching the gospel and healing the sick, and this is something he commissioned his disciples to continue doing as he sent them out. Through the book of Acts and the history of the church, Jesus has continued to heal the sick and he still heals today.

Jesus’ Word Is Powerful: One of the most unusual things about this miracle is that it happens at a distance. Unlike some of the other healings that we see Jesus do (and unlike the parallel events with Elijah and Elisha), Jesus does not even need to visit the boy but he simply speaks and the healing takes place. This shows that Jesus’ words are powerful, and brings to mind God creating the world by speaking it into being. God’s word is powerful, not just to describe reality but to shape it and it is as we hear and respond to the word of Jesus that we will be changed and healed.

Jesus Responds to Faith: The conversation that Jesus has with the official is a conversation about faith. The people of Capernaum have already seen one sign as Jesus turned water into wine, and so as the man begged Jesus to heal his son, Jesus knew that for many in that place they would only believe if they saw miracles. He wanted to challenge the man to see if he would respond differently, and the man plead with Jesus, recognising that Jesus was the only hope his son had. When Jesus did not accompany him home, but sent him away with a word the man believed and saw his son healed. Often the challenge is taking Jesus at his word before we have seen how things work out, and this is exactly what the official does.

Potential Applications:

  • The passage shows that Jesus heals. Offer some response time where you pray for Jesus to heal some people in your congregation.
  • The official here comes to Jesus with the needs of somebody he cares about. Encourage your congregation to do the same and bring the needs of their friends and loved ones to Jesus in prayer.