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Jesus and the Court Official – John 4:43-54

Jesus and the court official, royal official, John 4

Gospel of John Bible Study Notes

After the two days he left for Galilee. (Now Jesus himself had pointed out that a prophet has no honor in his own country.) When he arrived in Galilee, the Galileans welcomed him. They had seen all that he had done in Jerusalem at the Passover Festival, for they also had been there.
Once more he visited Cana in Galilee, where he had turned the water into wine.  John 4:43-46a

Jesus had returned to Cana in Galilee after the Passover Festival and he received a warm reception there (despite having pointed out that a prophet is not honoured in his own country.)[1] The story of Jesus turning water into wine would have been widely circulated by now, and the people returning from the Passover in Jerusalem were coming back with accounts of Jesus’ other, more recent miracles.

And there was a certain royal official whose son lay sick at Capernaum. When this man heard that Jesus had arrived in Galilee from Judea, he went to him and begged him to come and heal his son, who was close to death.
“Unless you people see signs and wonders,” Jesus told him, “you will never believe.”
The royal official said, “Sir, come down before my child dies.”
“Go,” Jesus replied, “your son will live.”  The man took Jesus at his word and departed.  John 4:46b-50 (NIV 2011)

30km away, in Capernaum, was a man who was a royal official in Herod’s court—a man of high social standing. This man was in a desperate state. His son was gravely ill and his condition was deteriorating. He had heard that Jesus was in Galilee. Jesus was his only hope. How many people have come to Jesus driven by desperation? How many people, because of unbearable and heart-breaking circumstances, have turned to Jesus because there was no other option left?

The royal official reluctantly left his son who was about to die and began the long journey to seek healing from the only person who can help him.

After a long day of travelling, the man arrived in Cana. He found Jesus and, putting pride aside, he begged Jesus to heal his son. Jesus was becoming annoyed at being acknowledged only for his miracles and exclaimed to the crowd, “Unless you see signs and wonders you will surely not believe!”

Undeterred by this rebuke the man continued to beg Jesus to come with him to Capernaum so that he might heal his son.[2] Jesus’ reply is short and simple, and full of healing power: “Go, your son lives.” The royal official believed what Jesus said and he immediately began the journey back to his son.

Would you have believed Jesus? What does this say about the man’s faith and his regard for Jesus?

Has Jesus ever spoken clearly to you? If so, did you put your complete trust in his words?

While he was still on the way, his servants met him with the news that his boy was living. When he inquired as to the time when his son got better, they said to him, “Yesterday, at one in the afternoon, the fever left him.”
Then the father realized that this was the exact time at which Jesus had said to him, “Your son will live.”So he and his whole household believed.
This was the second sign Jesus performed after coming from Judea to Galilee.  John 4:51-54

As the man travelled back to Capernaum he met some of his servants who were bringing the news that his son is living and well. After some inquiries, the man realised that his son had been healed at the precise moment that Jesus had said, “Your son lives.” Because of this miracle the entire household of the royal official became believers in Jesus.

John writes that this was the second sign that Jesus did in Galilee. John chose to record this particular miracle because it showed that Jesus didn’t have to be there in person to heal: Jesus had power even over distance. Jesus had the power to heal a dying child 30km away. Jesus still has the power to heal today.


[1] All the Gospels record Jesus as saying that a prophet does not have honour in his own country (Matt. 13:57; Mark 6:4; Lk 4:24, John 4:44).

[2] There are a few similarities between this story and the story of the equally desperate Syro-Phoenician woman (Matt. 15:21-28).

« Jesus and the Samaritan Woman – John 4
» Jesus Walks on Water – John 6:14-21
» Food that Endures for Eternal Life – John 6:22-29

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