Daily D – John 4:48
He went again to Cana of Galilee, where he had turned the water into wine. There was a certain royal official whose son was ill at Capernaum.
JOHN 4:48 (CSB)
Jesus was back from Jerusalem. While he was there, he cleansed the temple. He drove out those who turned the place of prayer for all people groups into a noisy marketplace where contemplation was impossible. John tells us, “many believed in his name when they saw the signs he was doing,” (2:23). Jesus knew they were not deeply committed followers. They were fans of the drama, but bystanders at best.
Jesus was now back where he turned the water into wine. A royal official from the nearby town of Capernaum heard that Jesus was back. He went to Jesus and pleaded with him to go with him and to heal his son since he was at the point of death (verses 46 and 47).
This seems harsh.
Let’s review what John has told us so far. Jesus is God in the flesh. He has always been. There has never been a time when he was not. He was with God in the beginning and all things were created through him (1:1-3).
John the Baptizer pointed out Jesus as the Lamb of God, the one he came to prepare the way for (1:6-10, 29-36). Jesus turned water into wine (2:1-12). Jesus cleansed the temple (2:13-25). Jesus had a heart-to-heart discussion with Nic at night (3:1 and following). John the Baptizer took a step back and Jesus stepped up (3:22-30).
On the way home from Judea, Jesus stopped in the middle of the day for a conversation with a solitary woman who became a winsome witness which led to her whole village coming to believe in Jesus (4:1-42).
Jesus was welcomed back to Galilee because they saw what he did in Jerusalem at the festival and were big fans of this righteous rebel (4:43-45). Now this man with a son near death comes to Jesus with an urgent request that he drop everything and follow him to another town to heal his son.
This is when Jesus says what seems harsh upon first hearing. Ponder this thought: Did Jesus ever speak a word not worth hearing? Did he ever waste a word? Did he ever ramble on with no real point in mind? The easy and correct response is, “No”
Jesus’ disciples were there. Those who knew about the water and wine incident were there. A desperate dad was there. Jesus’ words at this point were an opportunity for those gathered around him to overhear what we now see as gospel truth. “Unless you people see signs and wonders, you will not believe,” (verse 48).
Everyone gathered observed an object lesson. More than an object lesson, really. A dearly loved son was about to die. What Jesus knew and what the others needed to know is that there is a big difference between being a fan of a man who turns water into wine and cleanses the temple and being a committed follower who trusts Jesus for all things at all times.
Guess which one this man was? At this moment in the story, you and I cannot be sure. Jesus said, “Go, your son will live.” How would you respond if Jesus answered your request affirmatively but also sent you on your way? Notice how this man responded: “The man believed what Jesus said to him and departed,” (verse 50).
Confident and hopeful, he headed home. This man was no mere fan of Jesus, he was a follower. Because he was a follower, his son lived. Because he was a follower, his whole household believed (verse 53).
One witness (John the Baptizer) prepared the way for Jesus leading many to believe. One miracle at a wedding led more to believe. One act of righteous anger led many more to declare belief. One conversation with a man who could not quite cross the line of faith led to a verse that has led multitudes over generations to belief (John 3:16). One woman unlocked a village to belief. One dying son made well led to a household of family and servants to believe.
Jesus can do more with one person than a general could do with an army, more than a president could do with the multiplied revenue of elevated taxes, more than the best quarterback could do in all of his games combined.
Imagine what he could do with you.
Do not settle for being a fan of Jesus. Become a follower. That is where life change happens. That is where the good life begins.
I will follow Jesus who can do more with me than I could do with myself in a thousand lifetimes.
Our Father, thank you for individualizing and particularizing your salvation and sanctification to everyone who believes. You make our lives bigger, better, and more meaningful than anything we could dream up on our own. I am only one person. In your hands, that is all you need to accomplish wonderful deeds. Make my life your brush to stroke your masterpiece. Make my life your megaphone to speak words of truth and life. Make my life your instrument through which you play the most beautiful music yet heard. Amen.
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John 5:19 Jesus replied, “Truly I tell you, the Son is not able to do anything on his own, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, the Son likewise does these things. (CSB)
Ezra 3:12 But many of the older priests, Levites, and family heads, who had seen the first temple, wept loudly when they saw the foundation of this temple, but many others shouted joyfully. (CSB)