His son was sick, close to death, and the royal official walked all the way to Cana in Galilee to find Jesus. When he found the Lord Jesus, he begged Him to come to his house and heal his son.
John 4:46 tells us, “Unless you people see signs and wonders,” Jesus told him, “you will never believe.”
Desperate, the man again begged Jesus to come to his house, this time pleading even more urgently, “before my child dies”.
Yet Jesus had just explained that “you people” will never believe without seeing signs and wonders, in other words, immediate and tangible miracles. So Jesus tested the man’s faith by sending him home, without the secure comfort of Jesus actually going with him. Jesus directed the man to go home and trust only in the promise from Jesus that his son would be healed.
And so Jesus said simply, “Go, your son will live.” (John 4:50)
What amazes me is that the royal official believed Jesus and left to return home! As I pondered this, I realized that if the man walked all the way home to Capernaum (about 26 miles) and found that his son had not been healed, he would have wanted to walk back to Cana to find Jesus again. But Jesus could have moved on to another town by then. Yet the royal official left Cana to go home to his son!
What kind of faith would this man need in order to take Jesus at His word and trust that what Jesus promised would actually happen?
The royal official had no doubt that Jesus would do exactly what He promised, and so he left Cana for the long walk to Capernaum. The passage tells us that while the official was on his way home, his servants met him and gave him the news that his son was healed! The man asked when his son got better and the servants reported, “Yesterday, at one in the afternoon, the fever left him.” (John 4:52b)
Yesterday? This must have been a two day walk because the official and the servants met on the road after traveling from opposite directions for about a day. That’s a very long walk! It’s also a long time to ponder whether to run back to Cana and beg Jesus once more to come with him. Yet the father kept walking in faith.
After being told his son was well, verse 53 tells us, “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 passage about the royal official encourages us to keep walking in faith. At times, our walk feels much longer than a 26 mile, two day journey of faith, doesn’t it? Although we don’t yet have the fulfillment of all of the words Jesus has spoken, we can trust Him. He will not let us down. And even though we can’t see Him, we have His words. We have the Bible, which tells of the promises of God.
Let’s continue with faith, even when we must take a very long walk!