The nobleman said to him, Sir, come down ere my child die.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Ere my child die.—But human sorrow is the birth-pang of faith. The sense of utter powerlessness leads the soul to cast itself on the Strong One for strength. The faith is still weak, but it is there. It does not realise that Christ can speak the word and heal the child, but it does feel that His presence could save him, and pleads as a father for his son. “Come down, ere my child die.”
come down ere my son die; here was faith with a mixture of unbelief; he believed that Christ was able to heal his son, but he still thought that his going down with him was necessary; that he must be corporeally present, and must lay his hands on him, or touch him, or speak, and command the distemper off, or something of this kind, and which must be done before he died; for otherwise, should he die first, all hope was then gone; he had no notion of Christ being able to raise him from the dead.The nobleman saith unto him, Sir, come down ere my child die.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)John 4:49-50. Then follows a still more urgent entreaty of the father’s love, tried by the answer of Jesus; the τὸ παιδίον μου, my child, being in keeping with the father’s tender affection. Comp. Mark 5:23.
Jesus rewards his confidence with the short answer, Go thy way, thy son liveth; thus announcing the deliverance from death accomplished at that very moment by an act of His will through miraculous power operating at a distance (not by magnetic healing power, against Olshausen, Krabbe, Kern, thus resorting to a sphere as foreign to the miracles of healing as it is inadequate by way of an explanation). As little can Christ’s word be regarded as a medical prognosticon (Paulus, comp. Ammon). No more is there any trace in the text of an effect resulting from faith in general, and the spiritual movement of the masses (Weizsäcker). According to the text, Jesus speaks from a conscious knowledge of the crisis of the sickness, effected that moment at a distance by Himself: “Thy son is not dead, but liveth!”
ἐπιστ. τῷ λόγῳ] Thus he now overleaps the limit of faith which supposed Christ’s presence necessary to the working of the cure; he believed the word, i.e. had confidence in its realization.49. ere my child die] This shews both the man’s faith and its weakness. He believes that Christ’s presence can save the child; he does not believe that He can save him without being present.John 4:49. Κατάβηθι, come down) The weakness of the suppliant is twofold, as though the Lord had need to he present, and could not equally revive the dead. And yet even before that the parent went down, his son was restored to life.Verse 49. - The nobleman saith unto him, Lord, come down before my little boy (my only son) die (comp. Mark 9:24, "Lord, I believe; help thou my unbelief;" and, again, the words of the woman of Syro-Phoenicia, who will not be put off, "Even the dogs eat of the crumbs," Matthew 15:27, etc.). This touching stroke shows how love triumphs over the desire for signs and wonders, and already helps to create the faith in the grace and power of the Divine Helper.
Diminutive. Literally, my little one; a touch of tenderness.
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