A Circumstantial Miracle: John 4:46-54

Focus Passage: John 4:46-54 (NCV)

46 Jesus went again to visit Cana in Galilee where he had changed the water into wine. One of the king’s important officers lived in the city of Capernaum, and his son was sick. 47 When he heard that Jesus had come from Judea to Galilee, he went to Jesus and begged him to come to Capernaum and heal his son, because his son was almost dead. 48 Jesus said to him, “You people must see signs and miracles before you will believe in me.”

49 The officer said, “Sir, come before my child dies.”

50 Jesus answered, “Go. Your son will live.”

The man believed what Jesus told him and went home. 51 On the way the man’s servants came and met him and told him, “Your son is alive.”

52 The man asked, “What time did my son begin to get well?”

They answered, “Yesterday at one o’clock the fever left him.”

53 The father knew that one o’clock was the exact time that Jesus had said, “Your son will live.” So the man and all the people who lived in his house believed in Jesus.

54 That was the second miracle Jesus did after coming from Judea to Galilee.

Read John 4:46-54 in context and/or in other translations on BibleGateway.com!

In our passage for today, we have a great example of what it is like for someone experiencing an event when compared with someone looking at the evidence from the outside. To a skeptical eye, this miracle Jesus does could be rationalized away using the term “circumstantial evidence” – which is another way of saying, “there could be a connection, but there is no way to definitively prove it.”

Jesus prophesied that the official’s son will live by responding, “Go. Your son will live,” While this appears to be a literal statement, Jesus could be symbolically talking of a future life in heaven, or even simply that a doctor present will successfully break the fever.

However, this is looking from a skeptical third party set of eyes. Those within the heart of the situation saw things differently, starting with the official himself: “The father knew that one o’clock was the exact time that Jesus had said, ‘Your son will live.’ So the man and all the people who lived in his house believed in Jesus.” (v. 53)

It is almost certain that this official had hired the best doctors in the area to come and help heal his son, and none of them would have been successful. This is strongly implied in the father’s words when he begs Jesus to “come before my child dies.” (v. 49)

Jesus was this official’s last hope, and experiencing a miracle for him was significantly different than hearing about the miracle as a person in the crowd. This official and everyone living in his home believed in Jesus.

Whether one chooses to rationalize a circumstantial miracle away or not, we can see from those closest to the event that they clearly saw the miracle present in this event – and they tag Jesus as the Source behind this healing.

This thought was inspired by studying the Walking With Jesus "Reflective Bible Study" package. To discover insights like this in your own study time, click here and give Reflective Bible Study a try today!

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