Flashback Episode — The Second Miracle: John 4:46-54

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Moving forward through Jesus’ miracles, we come to another miracle, which is tagged as Jesus’ second miracle at the conclusion of it. But when we read how John introduces us to this miracle, I wonder if Jesus would rather not have done any miracles.

Let’s dive into our passage and discover some things it can teach us about faith, about Jesus, and about how Jesus went about His ministry. Our passage is found in the gospel of John, chapter 4, and we will be reading it from the New Century Version of the Bible. Starting in verse 46, John tells us that:

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.”

Let’s pause reading here for a moment because what Jesus has just said is powerful for us to pay attention to. In a short, quick statement, Jesus calls out everyone present, which would include the disciples, this officer making the request, and everyone around on the idea that miracles make one worthy of faith and belief. The idea then is implied that if a greater miracle worker came around, we should switch our allegiance over to the new miracle worker.

When saying it like this, the idea sounds crazy, but it isn’t a stretch to imagine people thinking this way. I wouldn’t be surprised to learn of people living today who believe that they should follow someone working miracles.

However, also tucked within Jesus’ challenge is something we could call a cry to not base our faith on signs or miracles. I imagine the way Jesus said these words was challenging and confrontational with emotion, possibly a hint of sadness, in His words.

While John tells us that Jesus replied to the king’s officer with this statement, Jesus starts His response by saying “You people…” which implies that Jesus was speaking to a larger group of people or segment of the population.

Jesus replied by saying, “You people must see signs and miracles before you will believe in me,” and let’s pick back up in verse 49 to learn what happened next:

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.

In this passage, and specifically in how this passage ends, we discover something amazing. John tells us in verse 54 that this miracle “was the second miracle Jesus did after coming from Judea to Galilee”.

The implication is that Jesus’ first miracle was turning water into wine. In the timeline of the gospels, this event likely happened right before Jesus is run out of the Nazareth synagogue that we began this year by looking at.

When we frame this miracle with the detail that the only miraculous thing Jesus had done up to this point was turning water into wine, this officer’s belief is amazing. John described the miracle turning water into wine as something that the servants and early disciples knew, but it wasn’t something that was known beyond those two groups – that is, unless word spread because people had been talking about it.

However, while turning water into wine is amazing in itself, healing someone of a deathly illness is something much greater. A cleaver magician might be able to replicate the first miracle, but this second miracle would require divine intervention, because Jesus didn’t come to heal the man’s son personally, and he didn’t give any medical advice for how to turn the son’s condition around.

By asking Someone who had only turned water into wine up to this point for a miracle, this official is displaying an incredible amount of faith when there hasn’t been a track record for this type of miracle yet. Later on, Jesus will be known for healing people, but at this point, He was only the carpenter’s Son who could turn water into wine.

The official had faith in Jesus’ ability to perform a miraculous healing, and even though Jesus challenges the whole group, and possibly the entire generation of people, on the idea that they must see miracles before they will believe, the simple act of this official coming to ask Jesus for help is a powerful demonstration of faith. This official models faith like we should have faith. The official took Jesus at His word and returned home to find His request answered.

As we come to the end of another podcast episode, here are the challenges I will leave you with:

Always intentionally seek God first and place your hope, faith, trust, and belief in Him. We should be willing to ask God for help even if we don’t have any evidence of God helping in the specific way we are asking. This official only knew Jesus could help with drinks that had run out, but that was enough to ask Jesus to do the impossible. While we know Jesus is able to do the impossible, we shouldn’t discount our own requests thinking He is either above them or unwilling to help. God wants to help us in our own situation, and it is up to us to simply ask.

Also, always pray and study the Bible for yourself to grow your personal relationship with Jesus. A pastor, author, speaker, or even a blogger or podcaster can give you things to think about, but always take what you learn and match it up with what you read and discover in the Bible. God is not going to randomly choose to contradict His Word, and because of this, we can use the Bible as a guide for our spiritual lives today.

And as I end every set of challenges by saying in one way or another, never stop short of, back away from, chicken out of, or deviate away from where God wants to lead you to in your life with Him!

Flashback Episode: Year of Miracles – Episode 4: Moving further in the gospel of John, we come to the miracle where Jesus heals an official’s son. Discover something we can learn from this event about how we should have faith in Jesus, and something we should not depend on when believing in Him.

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