The Nobleman’s Son: Grace to the Faithful Jewish Remnant
John 4:43-54

A Third Day in Cana – the Restoration of Israel (4:43-54)

A dispensational outline. This chapter presents a common pattern seen throughout the word of God that would remind us of God’s ways in grace with men on the earth. 

  1. Rejected in Jerusalem (john 2:13-25). a picture of the Lord’s rejection by Israel at his first coming. 
  2. Two days in Samaria (vv.39-42). a picture of the church period. No miracle or signs given, just the word of God. The result is tremendous blessing and a vast harvest of gentile souls. 
  3. A Third day in galilee (vv.43-54). a picture of god taking up with a faithful remnant of the Jews in a coming day. the nobleman (the remnant) has faith, while the nation refuses without signs and wonders (v.48). The Lord rewards his faith with a miracle – the healing of his son, which is a picture of the restoration of Israel as a nation in the millennium.

The Lord Returns to Galilee (vv.43-46a)

This marks the beginning of his public ministry. compare Matt. 4:12-17; Mark 1:14-16; Luke 4:14-16. Although not mentioned here, just previous to this even John the Baptist was imprisoned, and the Lord Jesus was taken into the wilderness for the 40 days of temptation. Then the Lord returned through Samaria (the well) and now comes into galilee in the full power of the spirit of God.

¶ 43 But after the two days he went forth thence and went away into Galilee, v.43 a picture of the lord resuming his work with Israel and taking up with a remnant. Hosea 6:1-2 says, “After two days will he revive us: in the third day he will raise us up, and we shall live in his sight.”

44 for Jesus himself bore witness that a prophet has no honour in his own country. v.44 the Lord was rejected by the proper Jews (Jerusalem, his own country) and retreats for a time to galilee (the poor of the flock, a remnant company). a prophet hath no honor in his own country because of familiarity. The people in a prophet’s own country have seen him grow up, and it is hard for them to accept that god might be working through such a person. Often men of God are valued by the saints abroad, but not valued at home.

45 When therefore he came into Galilee, the Galileans received him, having seen all that he had done in Jerusalem during the feast, for they also went to the feast. v.45 “the Galileans received him” – a picture of the Jewish remnant receiving the lord, something Israel is unwilling to do today. receiving Christ is the critical tipping point of blessing. This is a general reception, but individual faith was still necessary (v.50).

¶ 46a He came therefore again to Cana of Galilee, where he made the water wine. v.46a the lord returns to the very place in which he did his first miracle, which held out the promise, pledge, and earnest of Israel's future joy. In a similar way the lord will resume is dealings with Israel, the very same moral “ground” in which he displayed his power in the days of David and Solomon.

Capernaum. Capernaum was the Lord’s home town for the years of his public ministry. He was raised in Nazareth, but when he turned 30 years of age he moved to Capernaum, which was 20 miles to the north in the borders of Zebulon and Naphtali to fulfill scripture (matt. 4:13). Capernaum, Cana, and Nazareth were cities of the region of galilee. In Matt. 11, we read that that lord had done many “mighty works” in Capernaum. This was one of those works.

A prophet hath no honor in his own country. sometimes we get tired of hearing a prophet in our own country because we see their failures… but the Lord had no failures!

The Nobleman’s Faith in the Invisible Word of God (vv.46b-50)

46b And there was a certain courtier in Capernaum whose son was sick. v.46b a nobleman is a person of distinction in society.

47 He, having heard that Jesus had come out of Judaea into Galilee, went to him and asked him that he would come down and heal his son, for he was about to die. v.47 this was a distance of 15 miles. The man comes to him in great need. he doesn’t ask to buy healing, or to offer his devotion in exchange. This will be the expression of the faithful remnant in their time of great need.

48 Jesus therefore said to him, Unless ye see signs and wonders ye will not believe. v.48 The Lord now speaks to the nation of Israel, “except ye see signs…” similar to John 3:7. The condition of the nation was one of faithlessness. The word of God wasn’t enough for them. the nobleman is an exception to the rule, as the remnant will be in a coming day. for example, Mark 15:32, “Let the Christ the King of Israel descend now from the cross, that we may see and may believe.” C.p. John 20:29 “blessed they who have not seen and have believed."

49 The courtier says to him, Sir, come down ere my child die. v.49 YET his faith is of a Jewish character, faint, and not as high a caliber as the gentile centurion who begged the Lord not to come down to his house (Matt. 8:5-13).

50 Jesus says to him, Go, thy son lives. And the man believed the word which Jesus said to him, and went his way. v.50 this man believes the invisible word of Jesus. He couldn’t see the fever leave his son, but he believed anyway. This is precisely the opposite of the nation of Israel who insisted on seeing before believing. even before we read the end of the story, instantly we know there will be blessing, because God always honors faith.

Faith rewarded by the visible restoration of his son (vv.51-54)

51 But already, as he was going down, his servants met him and brought him word saying, Thy child lives. v.51 God knew what it was to send his son to die… he knew the father’s heart. so he sent the servants to tell they boy’s father the good news before he even reached home! The Lord understands that we are human.

52 He inquired therefore from them the hour at which he got better. And they said to him, Yesterday at the seventh hour the fever left him. v.52 john reckons time as the romans did… this is either our 7:00 AM or 7:00 PM. the father’s thought was that “he began to amend” (a gradual process), but the servants say that as a specific time “the fever left him” (a sudden turning point). So it is with faith, and so it will be with Israel. a nation shall be born in one day.

53 The father therefore knew that it was in that hour in which Jesus said to him, Thy son lives; and he believed, himself and his whole house. v.53 by comparing the time of healing and the moment of faith, he learns that blessing is dispensed according to faith! it now says that “himself believed, and his whole house.” his whole house would include family members and servants, perhaps a picture of the nation at large (ten tribes included)! only the two tribes will be in the land during the tribulation, but when the ten tribes return they too will believe.

54 This second sign again did Jesus, being come out of Judaea into Galilee. v.54 the spirit of god connects this miracle (restoration of the Israel in connection with the faith of the remnant) with his first miracle in Cana (the establishing the fullness of millennial joy in Israel).