Study Notes 5-20-12

4:40-42 So when the Samaritans came to him, they asked him to stay with them, and he stayed there two days.  And many more believed because of his word. [42] They said to the woman, “It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is indeed the Savior of the world.”

  • Their belief went from trust on testimony to first hand witness.  The shift is from testimony to witness.  I especially note the willingness of Christ to dine and live with sinners.  He truly came to seek and save the lost.
  • The second thing I note about this passage is how the Samaritans were reacting to His teaching. They were seemingly convinced that He was the Messiah – the Savior of the World.  What an amazing thing to know and realize, that the Savior of the World is walking among you and stayed with your people for two days.  The record of Jesus’ ministry here on earth shows me time and again how lavishly He poured out His love upon those who didn’t deserve it.  God is good and His goodness was made manifest in the person of Jesus Christ.

4:43-44 After the two days he departed for Galilee. [44] (For Jesus himself had testified that a prophet has no honor in his own hometown.)

  • There are so many explanations for this, but I like what Carson has to say.  He basically says that the contrast here is not between towns, but between gentiles and Israel.  So in the immediate context we think of Samaria and Israel.
  • The Samaritans were willing to believe in Christ because of His word (cf. 41) and didn’t need a sign like so many of the Jews.

4:45 So when he came to Galilee, the Galileans welcomed him, having seen all that he had done in Jerusalem at the feast. For they too had gone to the feast.

  • This adds context and background and helps us further understand verse 44.  The Galileans had seen His miracles and knew that welcoming Him meant perhaps more miracles.  So they were okay with Him being there – though this certainly can’t be meant to speak of all Galileans as a whole.  It is a sort of neutral statement that they are okay with Him being there.

4:46 So he came again to Cana in Galilee, where he had made the water wine. And at Capernaum there was an official whose son was ill. [47] When this man heard that Jesus had come from Judea to Galilee, he went to him and asked him to come down and heal his son, for he was at the point of death.

  • Jesus’ reputation had preceded Him.  This was His home territory, and we see the elusion to the fact that this (Capernaum) is close to Cana where He had performed His first miracle.  No doubt the people of this area were well aware of His burgeoning ministry.  And this is why they welcomed him.  Carson notes that they were open to seeing Him because of the miracles, not because they believed in His Messianic role – as the Samaritans did.  And this is the contrast between being “honor” in one’s homeland and other places as Christ enumerates above.
  • Note here how this “official” was likely attached to Herod the Tetrarch.  Herod was a pseudo puppet king, and not a real king.  So though the word in Greek for “official” here has to do with being attached to a king, the people regarded Herod as a king despite his lower title.
  • Ryle wisely points out that we ought to learn form this passage that any man can be afflicted with sickness, disease, and death.  The rich are not immune from this!  Riches complicate life and widen the responsibility of those to whom they are entrusted.  We ought not to envy those with wealth.  They have responsibilities that we do not have and worries that we do not have to deal with.  Ryle points out that David was likely more at peace and happier as a shepherd than a king in the palace at Jerusalem.

4:48-49 So Jesus said to him, “Unless you see signs and wonders you will not believe.” [49] The official said to him, “Sir, come down before my child dies.”

  • I note here that Jesus is talking about spiritual matters, but the official in the story only cares about the life and death of his child.  But the official also signals his belief by declaring that he believes that his son will die unless Jesus does something to heal him.
  • Therefore, there might be a sense in which the official actually believed before he saw.  This might be also why Jesus didn’t come to the child and heal him in person.  This forced the father to place his faith in Christ’s words and abilities instead of seeing the miracle first hand and the then believing.  This is signaled in the next verse, which says “the man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him.”

4:50 Jesus said to him, “Go; your son will live.” The man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him and went on his way.

  • Can you imagine the trip back home?  In the next few verses we see that the servants use the term “yesterday at the seventh hour” which tells me that it was several days journey from where Jesus was to where the man’s son was.  So this trip, which must have taken about a day if we deduct that the servants say “yesterday” as the time when the boy was healed, must have been a very trying time for this father.
  • But the main point I want to emphasize here is the power of the word of God.  Jesus is just as powerful and effective in person as He is several miles apart from the man’s son.  We know that He upholds the universe by the “word of His power” (Heb. 1:3) and that He sustains all things that way.  We also know that John referred to Him as “the Word” in the prologue.  It’s certainly a theme for John that we ought to notice.
  • From a practical standpoint, can you imagine how powerful this man is spiritually that He can do this?  How can you see this and think, as the Jews did, that He was going to usher in a political kingdom??? Surely this act shows His work here on earth was going to be spiritual in nature.  For only a man who dealt with the spiritual realm could heal people from afar merely by the words he spoke.
  • I think that many of us underestimate the amazing power of the words of Jesus.  We have them written for us, and it isn’t for nothing that Scripture is said to “renew” and transform the mind.  These aren’t just lifeless words on a page, they are the water that Christ offered the Samaritan woman.

4:51 As he was going down, his servants met him and told him that his son was recovering.

  • This is the relief point here, he is finally home and he now knows that his boy is okay.
  • When it says “going down” it makes sense geographically due to the fact that Galilee is some 600 or 700 feet below sea level.

4:52-54 So he asked them the hour when he began to get better, and they said to him, “Yesterday at the seventh hour the fever left him.” [53] The father knew that was the hour when Jesus had said to him, “Your son will live.” And he himself believed, and all his household. [54] This was now the second sign that Jesus did when he had come from Judea to Galilee.

  • There are two things to note here.  First, the official wants to know right away when his boy began to be better.  He has placed his faith on Christ’s words.  He has been agonizing over whether or not his boy would live.  No doubt his faith was tried over and over again in those evening hours the night before.  And now he knows and his faith is confirmed.  It said before that he believed the words of Jesus, but here we see that his faith is confirmed.
  • The second thing we see is the fact that all of his household believed when he believed.  There is no doubt in my mind that when the father of a household believes, the chances that the children and everyone else will follow suit are very good.  In fact, I remember seeing that statistically it is overwhelmingly more powerful for the father to believe than for the mother to believe and try to convert her household.  This is because God naturally made the man as an authority figure over the house.  This sort of sets a president that we see in other areas of scripture (Acts 16:31-34, 18:8 and others).
  • The father didn’t previously care about Jesus being the Messiah, or about theology, or about anything having to do with ministry.  All he cared about was his son’s health.  Now his head is clear, his eyes are opened, and his heart has been made spiritually alive!  The arm and power of Jesus, God here on earth, is indeed long and powerful.  Christ didn’t have to be there in person.  His witness extended into the heart of this man from miles away.  Such is the power of God when He wants to reach someone.  Can anyone possibly doubt the effectiveness of His grace?

How do we teach this to our children?  EXAMPLE: Today we learned about how powerful Jesus was during His time on earth.  He was so powerful that He only had to speak and people were healed.  We learned also how important the role of the father is in the family.  When a father loves Jesus it is much easier for the rest of the family to love God as well because being a daddy who loves God sets a good example.  Also, we naturally have hard hearts about the things of God and what He wants for our lives.  When our daddies set an example, our hearts melt and we find it easier to follow and obey Jesus.  The last thing we learned was that people of all different backgrounds, races and status have problems that only Jesus can solve.  Rich people and poor people all get sick and everyone on earth eventually dies.  We all need a savior!

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