St. Mary of the Angels
June 25, 2021
John 4:46: “Jesus came again into Cana of Galilee, where He made the water wine.”
Returning from an extended trip among the Samaritans to His home. Like His first miracle, He is going to manifest His divinity through a miracle/sign done among His own people.
John 4:46: “And there was a certain nobleman, whose son was sick in Capernaum.”
And yet the first man to approach Jesus is not one of His own. The word used for “nobleman” here is a derivative of the Greek word for “king,” so we are meant to see the nobleman as an officer of Herod Antipas, a false tyrant King and a puppet of the Roman occupiers. This nobleman stands in stark contrast to the Galilean masses who is John 4:44-45 confirm Jesus’s statement that a “prophet has no honor in his own country” by the fact that they are thrilled with Jesus only because of the “things that He did in Jerusalem at the feast.” Jesus’s own people see Him as a carnival act in essence, while a stranger from another two who is loyal to a hostile king sees Jesus for what He really is.
John 4:48: “Except ye see signs and wonders…”
Jesus rebukes the nobleman’s plea, just as He rebuked the Syrophoenician woman who had pleaded for Him to save her daughter from an unclean spirit (see Mark 7:25-30 and Matthew 15:21-28). In this case, He is cobbling in the nobleman with His own Galilean brethren who are only interested in His “signs and wonders.”
John 4:49: “Sir, come down ere my child die.”
The nobleman is not asking for “signs and wonders.” He believes even though He has yet to see anything miraculous. By doing so, the nobleman separates himself from the Galilean masses, not in virtue of his high rank in this world, but in virtue of his faith. Like the Syrophoenician woman, the nobleman is a stranger who is outside of God’s chosen people – she in virtue of her ethnicity, and he in virtue of his politics – but due to their greater faith they are invited into the Father’s Kingdom (where as Jesus explains, “the blind receive their sight, and the lame walk…” in Matthew 11:5. Compare this with Isaiah 35:5: “Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped.”).
John 4:50: “Jesus saith unto him, Go thy way; thy son liveth.”
“Go thy way” means return to Capernaum, but it also means “continue to walk the Father’s way,” for the nobleman’s faith has demonstrated that indeed his way is in conformity with “the Father’s way.” The nobleman’s path is also the path that the Father ordains into His Kingdom. The nobleman is returning to his home, which is Capernaum only temporally, but is now the Father’s Kingdom eternally.
“thy son liveth” is in the same sentence as “Go thy way.” The two events are instantaneous. When “thy way” is “the Father’s way,” then the transformation from stranger to God’s citizen is immediate and total – hence the importance in the next few verses of establishing that the son’s health had been restored at the exact time the nobleman made his profession of faith.
46 So Jesus came again into Cana of Galilee, where he made the water wine. And there was a certain nobleman, whose son was sick at Capernaum.
47 When he heard that Jesus was come out of Judaea into Galilee, he went unto him, and besought him that he would come down, and heal his son: for he was at the point of death.
48 Then said Jesus unto him, Except ye see signs and wonders, ye will not believe.
49 The nobleman saith unto him, Sir, come down ere my child die.
50 Jesus saith unto him, Go thy way; thy son liveth. And the man believed the word that Jesus had spoken unto him, and he went his way.
51 And as he was now going down, his servants met him, and told him, saying, Thy son liveth.
52 Then enquired he of them the hour when he began to amend. And they said unto him, Yesterday at the seventh hour the fever left him.
53 So the father knew that it was at the same hour, in the which Jesus said unto him, Thy son liveth: and himself believed, and his whole house.
54 This is again the second miracle that Jesus did, when he was come out of Judaea into Galilee.