“After the two days he departed for Galilee. (For Jesus himself had testified that a prophet has no honor in his own hometown.) 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.
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. 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. So Jesus said to him, “Unless you see signs and wonders you will not believe.” The official said to him, “Sir, come down before my child dies.” Jesus said to him,“Go; your son will live.” The man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him and went on his way. As he was going down, his servants met him and told him that his son was recovering. 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.” 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. This was now the second sign that Jesus did when he had come from Judea to Galilee.”
Jesus has just wrapped up a revival in Samaria amongst “heathens” and “outcasts,” people considered outside of the direct blessing and protection of God, and the Bible is about to contrast and compare this visit with His visit to Cana in Galilee.
Jesus leaves Samaria to go back to Cana, where He performed His first miracle, and then He says something odd – A prophet has no honor in his own country. At first, this seems to be a contradiction, because everyone in Cana welcomes Him and treats Him kindly. But Jesus knows their hearts and sees that they want His miracles, healing, and power, not Him. They, unlike the Samaritans, feel entitled to God’s blessing and favor. They expect it. After all, aren’t they “Abraham’s children”? They are part of the covenant, the blessing of God. They are explicitly God’s. So this raises the question – “Do I want Jesus and everything that brings, or would I rather have just His blessings?” Do you find yourself praying for more of Christ in your life, or do you pray for more money, a better spouse, happiness, comfort, less problems…? Is Jesus your personal Santa Claus, or does He have your heart?
Jesus is beginning to chip away at this entitlement in His fellow Israelites when He says, “Unless you people see miraculous signs and wonders you will never believe.” Jesus saw through their outward kindness to their hearts, and He did not like what He saw – deception, manipulation, greed. The people there wanted Jesus’ miracles, not His message. This is most notably illustrated in Luke 4:16-30 when Jesus says that He is the Messiah and that prophets are not accepted in their hometowns. He even says that prophets are more readily accepted by non-Jews than by the Jewish community. Well, the Jews don’t like this and try to throw Jesus off of a cliff. More on this in a later post, but you get the idea – be wary of any sense of entitlement with Jesus. You can’t get “grandfathered” into the Kingdom of God.
Also, notice the royal official. This guy is a big deal during this time. To be a royal official meant power, privilege, position, security … all the things that you and I probably hope and pray for often. He was generally considered “better” by everyone in this culture. However, his son is sick, and instead of sending a servant to bring Jesus to his home, he goes to Jesus. This is an example of humility. He could have sent servants and horses to go and get Jesus and bring Him to his home. Instead, he makes the 15-mile journey to Jesus himself. The greatest men, when they come to Christ, must come humbly.
Jesus sees his humility, but He wants to know if this official is like the rest of the Jews in Cana – wanting Jesus’ miracles but not wanting Him. The official has a request for Jesus (healing his son) and Jesus has an unspoken request for the official – Faith. Jesus asks of him faith – the faith to leave without Him physically but with His promise that his son was healed.
Can you imagine? Your boy is sick, and this Man who has been walking around healing every disease and affliction is standing right in front of you. You have money, power, position … everything to entice Him to come with you. You ask Him to come and heal your sick little boy. Instead of coming with you, He tells you to walk back home (a two-day journey) because your son has just been healed. “Believe me,” Jesus says. “Trust me. Have faith.”
Instead of yelling, breaking apart, or having Jesus arrested, the official believes Jesus. Faith is born in his heart, and the boy is healed. The man gets home and his whole household is saved.
The lesson here is this: Blessings, miracles, and healing are great as long as they lead to faith and salvation. This is what happened with the Samaritan woman and with this royal official. But you don’t hear it happening with the men and women in Galilee, do you? We only read that they wanted more miracles from Jesus. They wanted His “stuff” and not Him. We read, “So when he [Jesus] came to Galilee, the Galileans welcomed him, having seen all that he had done in Jerusalem at the feast.” And what had Jesus been doing at the feast? John 2:23-24 tells us, “Now when he was in Jerusalem at the Passover Feast, many believed in his name when they saw the signs that he was doing. But Jesus on his part did not entrust himself to them, because he knew all people.” Jesus was performing signs and miracles. The Galileans wanted to be entertained and astonished by His miracles. They did not, however, want to believe in Him.
Let this be a warning to us to desperately desire the person of Jesus Christ, His truth, His presence. If His blessings come, great. If they do not, that does not shake us. We have Him, and that is all we need. Hebrews 11:1 says, “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” In an age of distractions, instant satisfaction, and comfort, let us pray for our faith in Jesus to be strengthened. Let us be a people of long obedience in the same direction. Let us cling to Christ and not to His “stuff.”