The Cure Of The Official’s Son
The following passage is a miracle story, in John’s Gospel a “sign”, which points to Jesus as Son of God and Saviour. It is the “second sign” which Jesus worked in that small town of Cana – the first being the well-known miracle at the wedding feast, where Jesus turned the water into wine.
In structure, the miracle has a great similarity to that of the Roman centurion at Capernaum, whose son, or servant, was also ill with fever and who pleaded with Jesus for a cure. Are they both similar narrations of the same event? It may well be.
The court official has heard of Jesus’s fame as a healer and begs for a favour. Jesus’s initial reply is an apparent refusal and he criticizes the kind of faith which rests on miracles only. However, he then accedes to the official’s plea and the son is healed at that very moment, as the official finds out later. The official and his family become believers.
As has been said before, we have no record that Jesus ever turned away someone who sought a cure, either for himself or for a loved one. His healings take a variety of forms. Sometimes they are instantaneous, as this one was, sometimes gradual; sometimes he touched the affected part of the patient’s body, other times he merely uttered a command; sometimes Jesus linked the ailment to the effects of sin; sometimes he praised the faith of the patient; often he criticized the little faith shown. But in every instance, he wanted the patient who recovered health and wholeness to open himself to the word of God by a transformed life. This is the meaning of faith: accepting Jesus as Lord and Saviour, and living by his teachings.
This is what John‘s Gospel means by “sign”: an outward sign of inward grace, an external change leading to an interior transformation, a physical cure which takes one to a deeper faith in Jesus whom God has sent.
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