John’s fourth chapter records the second of Jesus’ seven miraculous signs.
On this occasion, a highly placed government official came to Jesus with a broken heart. The man’s son was sick, so sick that he was not expected to live.
The primary miracle occurred as Jesus healed the boy. The less obvious miracle happened in the heart of the nobleman.
Here’s how it happened. The official walked, or more likely, he rode his horse the eighteen miles from his home in Capernaum to Cana, the place where Jesus was ministering. Upon arrival in Cana, the same little village where Jesus turned the water to wine, the official appeared before Jesus.
Now don’t miss this little detail. The nobleman didn’t send an email. He didn’t send a servant. He came himself. For most business, the official would have remained in the comfort of his royal offices while a servant was dispatched. On this occasion, a representative wouldn’t cut it. This was a matter of life and death. This was his son! So, the nobleman came to Jesus.
Notice that the official didn’t threaten Jesus or try to throw his weight around. He didn’t say, “If you don’t come with me, I’ll call in the Roman leg-breakers” or “I’m buddies with Herod... this could be good for your resume.”
It doesn’t say that the man knelt, or that he wept, or that he begged. But after reading John’s record, I wouldn’t be surprised if he did... kneel, weep and beg.
What we know for sure is this: The wealthy, powerful government official, came to the end of his own ability and resources and turned to his last possible hope. “Jesus! Please, come to my home in Capernaum and heal my son... please!”
Jesus’ response is not expected. He only says, “You may go now. You’re dismissed... your son will be fine!”
And then we read, “The man believed and went his way.”
But that’s not quite the end of the story.
John gives us enough insight to know that the nobleman really believed. I think it was a transforming belief. The nobleman would never be the same again.
John reports that the following day the nobleman started home and met some of his servants along the way. The servants came with great news. “Your son is well.” The official, curious, asked when his son made his miraculous recovery. “It happened at 1:00 yesterday afternoon.” Humm, the official thought. “I was talking to Jesus at 1:00 yesterday afternoon, and it was precisely then that Jesus promised that my precious son would be made well.
That’s not just coincidence. That’s a miracle. That’s a sign!
Here is what makes me certain that the nobleman was transformed by his belief in the Word of Christ... What did the nobleman do after leaving Jesus at 1:00? If he had gotten on his horse and headed home, surely, he could have been home before dark. But he didn’t go home. He apparently rested!
Oh, I should learn a thing or two from this guy.
When Jesus ... God ... made a promise, he believed it! Really believed it! And rested in that promise.
If there had been any doubt, the nobleman would have returned home immediately to be with his dying son. But he rested. He trusted Jesus, and he rested!
You’ve heard it said, “Seeing is believing.” For the nobleman, “Believing was seeing.” He believed Jesus, and he knew, he could see by faith, eighteen miles away, his son was healed.
John concludes the story with this statement: “This was Jesus’ second sign!”
The sign clearly says, “We can trust Him, and we can rest!”