So the father knew that it was at the same hour, in the which Jesus said to him, Your son lives: and himself believed, and his whole house.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)So the father knew.—He was not mistaken, then. The power he had felt when these words were spoken to him was real. The hours that had passed since, as he hastened to know all, had prepared him to read the sign. “Thy son liveth!” “The seventh hour yesterday!” There is more than one miracle here. A new life passes into his own spirit, and he, too, bound in the death-grasp of a formal religion, liveth! A Father’s love has yearned for him. Christ has come down ere the child died.
Himself believed.—This is a yet higher faith. He believed the report before he went to Cana. He believed personally when he pleaded, “Lord, come down.” He believed the word that Jesus spake when told to go his way, and every step of that road going away from the power to the sufferer was an act of faith; but still there is place for a fuller faith, and he and his household became believers. St. John traces here, as before, in the case of the Samaritans (John 4:41-42), and of the disciples themselves (John 2:11), the successive development of faith.
His whole house - His whole family. We may learn from this,
1. That sickness or any deep affliction is often the means of great good. Here the sickness of the son resulted in the faith of all the family. God often takes away earthly blessings that he may impart rich spiritual mercies.
2. The father of a family may be the means of the salvation of his children. Here the effort of a parent resulted in their conversion to Christ.
3. There is great beauty and propriety when sickness thus results in piety. For that it is sent. God does not willingly grieve or afflict the children of men; and when afflictions thus terminate, it will be cause of eternal joy, of ceaseless praise.
4. There is a special charm when piety thus comes into the families of the rich. and the noble. It is so unusual: their example and influence go so far; it overcomes so many temptations, and affords opportunities of doing so much good, that there is no wonder that the evangelist selected this instance as one of the effects of the power and of the preaching of the Lord Jesus Christ.
second miracle Jesus did—that is, in Cana; done "after He came out of Judea," as the former before.
Thy son liveth, was a mighty confirmation to him, that he was beholden to Christ for his cure, and consequently that Christ was no ordinary man, more than a prophet, even the Son of God. This works upon his faith to a higher degree: he first believed the report of him, then he gave credit to the word that he spake, now he believeth savingly, and not he alone, but his whole family became Christians. Such instances we have concerning Lydia, Acts 16:14,15, the jailer, Acts 4:34, and Crispus, Acts 18:8.
in that which Jesus said to him, thy son liveth: he had observed what time of day it was, in which he conversed with Jesus; and particularly, when he told him his son was alive and well, and when he took his leave of him; and by comparing the account of his servants, with that, found that things entirely agreed, and that the cure was wrought exactly at the time, that Jesus spoke the words:
and himself believed, and his whole house; when he came home, he related the whole affair to his family, and he and they all believed, that Jesus was the Messiah, and became his disciples and followers: if this nobleman was Chuza, Herod's steward, we have an account of his wife, whose name was Joanna, that she followed Christ, and ministered to him of her substance, with other women, Luke 8:3. There is a story, told by the Jews, and which seems somewhat like to this (d);
"it is reported concerning R. Chanina ben Dosa, that when he prayed for the sick, he used to say, , "this liveth", and this dies; it was said to him, whence knowest thou this? he replied, if my prayer be ready in my mouth, I know that he is accepted (of God, i.e. the sick man for whom he prayed); but if not, I know that he will be snatched away (by the disease):''
upon which the Gemarists give the following relation (e);
"it happened that the son of Rabban Gamaliel (the Apostle Paul's master) was sick, he sent two disciples to R. Chanina ben Dosa, to ask mercy for him; when he saw them, he went up to a chamber, and sought mercy for him; and when he came down, he said unto them, , "go your way, for the fever has left him"; they said unto him, art thou a prophet? he replied, I am not a prophet, nor the son of a prophet; but so I have received, that if my prayer is ready in my mouth, I know that he is accepted; and if not, I know that he shall be snatched away; and they sat and wrote and observed "the very hour"; and when they came to Rabban Gamaliel, he said unto them, this service ye have not been wanting in, nor abounded in; but so the thing was, that in that hour the fever left him, and he asked of us water to drink.''
Which story perhaps is told, to vie with this miracle of Christ, and to obscure the glory of it.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.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)53. himself believed] This is the last stage in the growth of the man’s faith, a growth which S. John sketches for us here as in the case of the Samaritan woman. In both cases the spiritual development is thoroughly natural, as also is the incidental way in which S. John places it before us.
and his whole house] The first converted family.Verse 53. - The father then knew (came to know, by putting the facts together) that his son began to amend in the same hour in which Jesus said to him, Try son liveth. The word was mighty, none other than that very voice of the Lord "which healeth all our diseases," and "redeemeth our lives from destruction." No mere coincidence, no common accident. And himself believed and his whole household; believed in the Divine claims of Jesus. This is the earliest mention of "household faith" (cf. Acts 10:44; Acts 16:15, 34). In this case a whole picture rises before our eye. The mother, the sisters, the servants, the entire family, had shared in the anxiety, had sympathized in the journey to Cana, and now accepted the exalted claims of Jesus. Faith is graciously contagious. The nearness of the unseen world often reveals the features of the God-Man. The suggestion has frequently been hazarded that this βασιλικός was Chuza, the house steward of Herod, whose wife, Joanna, ministered to Jesus (Luke 8:3 and Luke 24:10).
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