The People's Bible by Joseph Parker
When therefore the Lord knew how the Pharisees had heard that Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John,John 4:46-54
"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. 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. Then said Jesus unto him, Except ye see signs and wonders, ye will not believe. The nobleman saith unto him, Sir, come down ere my child die. 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. And as he was now going down, his servants met him, and told him, saying, Thy son liveth. Then inquired he of them the hour when he began to amend. And they said unto him, Yesterday at the seventh hour the fever left him. 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. This is again the second miracle that Jesus did, when he was come out of Judaea into Galilee."
The Miracle At Cana
An incident which had occurred within a comparatively small circle had made itself felt in a wider area. This principle of self-extension is most noticeable throughout the whole ministry of Jesus Christ. Philip found Nathanael; the woman of Samaria ran into the city to tell that Messias had come, and his miracles were reported by many who had been healed by his power. It is interesting, too, to observe how wonderfully a sense of the completeness of Christ's power had seized the people. That he had turned water into wine was proof enough to the nobleman that he could also turn disease into health. Yet what parallel is there between the two? There is not a shadow of resemblance obvious to the eye of mere reason, whether trained to poetry or criticism; but to the eye of religious faith there is indivisible unity in divine power as essentially as in divine goodness. Men are skilful in this branch or in that, and utterly unskilful in branches which are but a little distance off; as, for example, a man who has made a study of the eye, may have little knowledge of the ear, and an acute physician may be but a clumsy anatomist; so much for the necessary imperfectness of human power; but in the case of Jesus Christ, his ability was equal at every point of the circumference,—and the circumference was the universe!
A nobleman whose son was sick.—Then disease finds its way into every rank. We need to remind ourselves of this lest we slip into scepticism by doubting the equality of divine rule. There are no magical lines beyond which death cannot come. The great sea of trouble roars and foams over every line of latitude, and the bleak wind strikes the traveller in every land. Does the poor man suppose that pain cannot find a chink in the strong walls of the palace or the castle? Does he suppose that great advantages have made a wall of defence around the man of wealth and learning? Then he knows nothing of human history, nor can he be expected to know that the very advantages which he covets are themselves the sources of the great man's fiercest temptations. The poor man thinks that the high spire is a long way from the flood; so it is, but how much nearer the lightning!
Besought Jesus that he would come down and heal his son.—Thus where there is faith in the power, there may be something of dictation as to the method. A very pardonable dictation surely! There is always some blemish on our prayers, is there not? Think of a prayer without a flaw! Not that the flaw always shows itself, for it may be deeply hidden in the heart. More than that, it may be a flaw beyond the consciousness of the man who is praying! The nobleman did not see that the power which could heal was independent of time and space. He needed to be taught this, and the lesson was given him under circumstances which would save it from oblivion. Where is your child? On another shore? The Healer is there! Is the child sick? The Healer is at his side! Wouldst thou make all the universe a home? Then have faith in God.
For he was at the point of death.—So, Jesus Christ may not be sent for. until the very last. In this case, probably the delay was unavoidable. But what of other cases? There comes a time in human life when men want more help than is to be found in their own arm,—a time when a strange giddiness seizes them, and spectral presences fill the air with cold and unfriendly shadows. Then man puts out his arm and cannot draw it to him again,—he shouts, and his cry is turned into laughter! In every history this point comes, viz., the point of death! No man can so curve his way as to avoid it. It is a point at which none but fools can be flippant. The gospel tells us that Jesus Christ can turn the point of death into the point of immortality! He hath abolished death,—it is but the shadow of the gate of life.
Jesus saith unto him, Go thy way; thy son liveth.—Thus every promise of God challenges the contradiction of gainsayers. Mark the boldness and unreservedness of Christ's word. It was in no sense provisional. There was no parenthesis cunningly arranged for escape. It was, too, a word whose truthfulness could be soon tested. Words of this kind abound in the speeches of Jesus Christ. He set very brief trial times, and risked many opinions which every hearer could test for himself. He told Nathanael's character to men who could have confounded him with disproof in a moment; he told the woman of Samaria all that ever she did: he told Simon where to find money for the tax: he told the disciples where to find the ass and the colt: and he took but three days to vindicate his promise of self-resurrection. All these patent and testable things were the first rounds of the ladder whose head reached beyond the stars.
Then inquired the nobleman of his servants when his son began to amend, and he knew that it was at the same hour in the which Jesus said unto him, Thy son liveth.—So, things that are understood should give the mind calmness and reverence in the presence of things yet unrevealed. Some parts of the divine way are known: study them; and if Socrates could say about human character—"What I know is excellent, therefore, what I do not know is likely to be excellent too," we can have no difficulty in carrying the criticism to its highest spiritual applications.
Hast thou a trouble in thy house? Have all helpers told thee that there is no more skill or strength in their hands? Is thy hope at the point of death? I congratulate thee! Out of weakness thou mayest be made strong. Jesus Christ, the Son of God, God the Son, has the key of the grave itself, and as for Death, it cannot bear the light of his eye. If thou wilt but sigh for him he will come, and when he comes he brings all heaven as his gift
Have some of you been healed? You know not how much you may be indebted for your health to the prayers of others. You cannot tell who prayed for you in the extremity of your weakness. Your father paid a special visit to Jesus Christ on your behalf: unknown even to your father, your mother crept away in silence unexplained to seek the Saviour: and one from whom you expected no such service sent, from a troubled heart, a prayer which took the kingdom of heaven by force. Think of this, and spend thy health as a talent lent thee by the King.