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131 The Healed Son John 4 - The Second Sign

We review the four series of four that we find in John's Gospel. Then we take a closer look at the second miracle as Jesus heals a man's son who was dying. As a result the man moves from believing in Jesus's power to believing in his word to eventually he and his whole family come to believe in Jesus. It is a journey of faith that we all must take.

131 Second Sign in John
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The Second Sign in John

1:11 This, the first of his miraculous signs, Jesus performed at Cana in Galilee. He thus revealed his glory, and his disciples put their faith in him.

John was no stranger to Jewish tradition and symbols. He understood the number seven's use throughout Scripture to represent completion, and he used this "system of seven" four times throughout his book. He does so but never calls attention to his pattern as he does in the book of Revelation. The choice of these signs seems to be well accepted by scholars with few variations. John only identifies the first two signs.

John chose seven miracles as signs that Jesus is divine.

1. First, water to wine to gladden the heart (2:1-11). 2. Second, the healing of the official’s son (4:46-54). 3. Third, the anonymous healing of the 38-year invalid (5:1-15).

4. Fourth, the feeding of the 5,000 (6:1-15). 5. Fifth, walking on the water to save the disciples (6:16-24). 6. Sixth, the healing of the man blind from birth (9:1-34). 7. Seventh the resurrection of Lazarus (11:1-45).

Each of these seven signs play a crucial role in helping us reach the conclusion that Jesus is divine. To these seven we may add two more: The self-resurrection of Jesus Christ (20:1-9), and the miraculous catching of the fish (21:1-14). Some scholars replace the walking on water with the resurrection or add the resurrection as an 8th sign.

Six of these seven signs required no faith on the part of the recipients—they are all sovereign acts of grace and truth about God by Jesus. They are all pointing to the glory of God, which is his goodness, as revealed here by Jesus and to Moses 1500 years previous (Exodus 33:18-19; John 17). On the cross, as he responded to the thief and his executioner’s, we see the glory of God in the compassion and mercy demonstrated by Jesus. We may also say that Adam and Eve were created in God’s glory since the word used for the “image of God” is the same Hebrew word translated as glory.

In addition to the seven signs, John also outlines seven major discourses given by Jesus:

1. The New Birth (3:16) 2. The Water of Life (4:1-42) 3. The Divine Son (5:19-47) 4. The Bread of Life (6:22-66) 5. The Life-Giving Spirit (7:1-52)

6. The Light of the World (8:12-59)

7. The Good Shepherd (10:1-42)

We have the seven absolute “I AM” Statements of Jesus. (Gr. ego eimi)

1. I am—do not be afraid (6:20) 2. I am—believe and live (8:24) 3. I am—taught by the Father (8:28) 4. I am—before Abraham(8:58) 5. I am—Jesus of Nazareth (18:5) 6. I am—they fell to the ground (18:6) 7. I am—let these go (18:8)

We have the seven Metaphorical “I AM” statements:

1. I am the bread of life (6:35, 48, 51) 2. I am the light of the world (8:12. 9:5) 3. I am the door of the sheep (10:7, 9) 4. I am the good shepherd (10:11, 14) 5. I am the resurrection and the life (11:25) 6. I am the way [to God], the truth [about God], and the life [of God]

7. I am the true vine (15:1, 5) (14:6)

Although John had nothing to do with the chapter divisions his book now has 21 chapters, which is seven multiplied by three.

John's goal was to lead the reader—particularly fellow Hebrews — to the realization that Jesus was, beyond any conceivable doubt, the perfect fulfilment of the law and the prophets.

Jesus Heals the Official’s Son

4:43 After the two days he left for Galilee.

Two days after he arrived in Samaria.

4:44 (Now Jesus himself had pointed out that a prophet has no honour in his own country.)

Because of the next verse it does not seem that Jesus was speaking of returning to Galilee but rather the acceptance he had experienced in Samaria compared to his rejection in Judea. Luke 9 tells of a Samaritan village where Jesus intended to stay but was not wanted. Was this the same village? Possible because Jews were not welcomed by Samaritans so Jesus must have had reason to think they would stay at this Samaritan village.

Why are prophets not accepted in their own country? Familiarity breeds contempt. There are many examples in the Bible. David’s family’s reaction to him being chosen as the future king. Joseph’s family’s reaction to hearing of the dreams he had been given. Moses’ mistreatment, for most of his life, by his own people. Ignaz Semmelweis, the physician in Austria, was ridiculed for this stand on the necessity of washing hands between examinations of cadavers and living patients. EGW was sent to Australia because of opposition to the message of God’s grace presented at the 1888 GC which she championed afterwards. (Ellen G. White to O. A. Olsen, Letter 127, from ‘Sunnyside’, Cooranbong,, December 1st 1896, as in The Ellen G. White 1888 Materials, Chapter 18). Also (Ellen G. White, July 10th 1892, Manuscript Release 21). 4:45 When he arrived in Galilee, the Galileans welcomed him. They had seen all that he had done in Jerusalem at the Passover Feast, for they also had been there.

At times one gains fame in another place and then comes home to rejection. It seems it was this way with his coming back to Galilee. Is Jesus more appreciated in heaven after having visited our planet for 34 years? It seems we need the eyes of others to see what we have. It is the richness which others bring to us by sharing what they have seen in nature, in literature, in art, in another human being, and in God.

John records the cleansing of the temple as the only miracle between water to wine and this healing. Apparently there were other miracles performed by Jesus.

46 Once more he visited Cana in Galilee, where he had turned the water into wine. And there was a certain royal official whose son lay sick at Capernaum.

This man, while a stranger, is a believer in Jesus, or at least in Jesus’ power. There were no doubt other sick people in Cana at this very time who received no help because they had no believing friends. O the value of a believing friend. The boy has a believing father, and this results in his healing. Our faith can have benefit for others. Praying mothers bring benefit to their children.

2:47 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.

It is a stranger to Cana who believes in Jesus. Perhaps he believes because he is desperate, but this does not stop Jesus from helping him. We can come just as we are to the Saviour of the world.

4:48 “Unless you people see miraculous signs and wonders,” Jesus told him, “you will never believe.”

Jesus is exasperated by their materialism, wanting miracles before they will believe. If the nobleman had been a believer he could have possibly said, “I know from what you did here in this village that you love and care for people and want them happy. I heard what you did in Jerusalem showing compassion on us. My son is ill and you can just give the word for his healing. My admiration for you does not depend on this healing. You are the saviour of the world.”

There are three stages in faith:

First we trust in God’s power, then we trust in his Word and finally, we trust in him. It is a progression, a development in the relationship. The nobleman hears Jesus and recognizes his own lack of appreciation for Jesus as Messiah. He fears that his materialism could cost him his son.

4:49 The royal official said, “Sir, come down before my child dies.”

In spite of his materialism he is desperate for his son’s healing and his imagination does not include resurrection so he throws himself upon the mercy of Jesus.

4:50 Jesus replied, “You may go. Your son will live.” The man took Jesus at his word and departed.

This man is a growing believer. He trusts Jesus’ statement. He does not beg Jesus to come with him, he goes alone but in peace. This is not a prophecy that the son will be healed but a statement of what has happened. The word of God is powerful and creative. This healing results in salvation for the whole family (vs 53).

4:51 While he was still on the way, his servants met him with the news that his boy was living. 52 When he inquired as to the time when his son got better, they said to him, ‘The fever left him yesterday at the seventh hour.’ 4:53 Then the father realized that this was the exact time at which Jesus had said to him, ‘Your son will live.’ So, he and all his household believed.

Were all in the family able to believe or did the father make a decision for the family. Adam, Noah, Abraham all made decisions that incorporated their whole family. Cain was included in Adam’s poor decision and ended up in the kingdom of this world. Ham is not prevented from sinning by Noah’s decision to believe God. Esau is not included in the Covenant people even though he is a blood child of Abraham. What shall we make of this statement that everyone believed as a result of this sign of Jesus? The choice of the parent points the individual in a direction but does not over ride the individual choice.

4:54 This was the second miraculous sign that Jesus performed, having come from Judea to Galilee.

Not all the signs are numbered as the first two are but they are identified as signs.

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