Main Point: Jesus performed miracles so that people would believe in Him.
Key Verse: Key Verse: Then the father realized what had happened. That was the exact time Jesus had said to him, "Your son will live." So he and all his family became believers. - John 4:53
Props: (Optional) A party favor “blower”
Say: Has anyone here been to a surprise party? (Tell a personal story if applicable, or ask a student to stand up and tell a story about his/her involvement in a surprise party.) We all know that we have to wait for just the right moment to yell, “Surprise!”, right? Option: Blow party favor each time you yell, “Surprise!”
What if you got invited to your friend’s surprise party, and you went to his house two hours before the party and yelled, “Surprise!”? Is that good timing? No, that would ruin everything. What if you waited until after the party to yell, “Surprise”? That would be pretty lame. And what if you stood up on your chair in the lunch room, say, tomorrow, and yelled, “Surprise!”? Would that be good timing? Not at all. Sometimes, timing is everything.
You know who has great timing? God does. God’s timing is perfect. God’s plan to save the world through Jesus had to be timed just right. In today’s story, we’ll see that Jesus managed everything so that He wouldn’t become too famous too quickly.
Jesus grew up in Nazareth, which is in Galilee. Refer to map. He had a very normal childhood. Most people had no idea who He was. At just the right time, when He was all grown up, Jesus stepped forward and was baptized by John the Baptist. He was filled with God’s Holy Spirit and He began, little by little, to reveal who He really was.
The first miracle Jesus performed was right nearby in Cana. Refer to map. Who remembers what that miracle was? Jesus turned dirty bathing water into top-quality wine. Sometime later, Jesus and His disciples went to Samaria, where Jesus met the woman at the well. By the time they were finished talking, the woman knew that Jesus was the Savior, the Messiah. She told all her friends about Jesus, and tons of people came out to meet Him. Many Samaritans believed and entered God’s kingdom. These people began proclaiming that Jesus was the Savior of the world (John 4:42).
Jesus only stayed there for two days. This was part of His perfect timing. God knew ahead of time the perfect time for Jesus to become known to the Jewish leaders and for Him to go on trial and be crucified. God could not allow each step in His plan to happen too early or too late. People were catching on that Jesus was the Messiah, so Jesus knew it was time to leave. He decided to go back to His hometown where people did not proclaim that He was the Messiah.
After the two days [in Samaria], Jesus left for Galilee. He Himself had pointed out that a prophet is not respected in his own country. - John 4:43-44
We might think that home is where Jesus would be most respected, but that’s not the way human nature works. Someone might be a really famous singer or athlete, but at home, they are just the same old person. Their family still expects them to take out the trash or wash the dishes. Also, we know that Jesus never sinned. It might be that his brothers and sisters, cousins and friends were a little irritated that He was so good growing up. Can you just imagine hearing, “Well, Jesus never forgets to do His chores.” So, even though Jesus had gone out and done amazing things, and the people in His hometown knew about these things, they still did not realize He was the Savior of the world. The Bible says they welcomed Jesus when He came home. But it seems that the people wanted to see if He could really do miracles (John 4:45, 48).
Once more, Jesus visited Cana in Galilee. Cana is where he had turned the water into wine. A royal official was there. His son was sick in bed at Capernaum. The official heard that Jesus had arrived in Galilee from Judea. So he went to Jesus and begged Him to come and heal his son. The boy was close to death.
Jesus told him, "You people will never believe unless you see miraculous signs and wonders."
The royal official said, "Sir, come down before my child dies."
Jesus replied, "You may go. Your son will live."
The man believed what Jesus said, and so he left. - John 4:46-50
This royal official was a Jewish man. He had a powerful job and plenty of money, but he had no way to help his sick son. His son had a terrible fever. There was no Tylenol back then; there was no way to bring the fever down. The boy was about to die. Suddenly, the desperate father heard that Jesus was visiting a few miles away. This Jewish official may have scoffed at the stories about Jesus before, but now he had a real need. His son’s life was on the line. I can imagine him, looking at his son, wondering if he should leave his side. “Will he die while I’m gone?” But the father took the chance. He rode as fast as he could to find the Healer he had heard about.
I can imagine the man stopping at the marketplace and the synagogue, asking if anyone had seen Jesus. Those whom he asked could hear the urgency in his voice. It is possible that several people were gathered around by the time he came face to face with Jesus. (Teacher note: The plural form of you is used in verse 48.)
When the official found Him, he begged Jesus to come home with him. Jesus’ answer is very surprising to us. It seems pretty harsh. But we know that Jesus is not harsh. He is simply trying to get to the matter that is most important–something that is even more important than the little boy’s illness. It is the man’s belief. You see, for Jesus, curing a deadly illness is no problem at all. He can speak and the fever must obey. However, belief is different. God always allows men and women to choose whether they will believe in Jesus as their Savior.
So when the man pleaded for his son’s life, Jesus brought up the issue of the man’s belief. Would he believe in Jesus?
The Bible calls miracles “signs and wonders.” What is a sign for? A sign points to something that is real.
What real thing does this sign point to? There is a very curvy road ahead.
What truth does this sign tell us? There is high voltage here. If you touch something here you will get shocked!
What real thing does this sign point to? A deer may run across the road.
The miracles that Jesus did were a SIGN that He is God! They were a sign that Jesus’ message was completely true. They were a sign that He could take away their sins, and all who believe in Him would enter God’s kingdom. Many people were only interested in the signs. They wanted to see miracles, but they didn’t care about the real thing that the signs pointed to: that Jesus was the Messiah. They wanted physical healing, or wine at the wedding, but they didn’t think about the thing that was WAY more important: Jesus could give them eternal life!
Jesus wanted the official to consider His message of eternal life. But the man could not stop thinking about his son. He continued to beg Jesus to come with him.
Jesus replied, "You may go. Your son will live." The man believed what Jesus said, and so he left. - John 4:50
So, without seeing a miracle, the man believed that his son would be fine. But here is a question that the man was probably asking himself as he traveled home: Is Jesus the Messiah or just a prophet? Will Jesus make my son well with a miracle (Messiah), or did Jesus simply hear a message from God that my son will not die (Prophet)? Either way, the official believed Jesus’ words so much that he was able to go home alone.
While he was still on his way home, his servants met him. They gave him the news that his boy was living. He asked what time his son got better. They said to him, "The fever left him yesterday afternoon at one o'clock."
Then the father realized what had happened. That was the exact time Jesus had said to him, "Your son will live." So he and all his family became believers.
This was the second miraculous sign that Jesus did after coming from Judea to Galilee. - John 4:46-54
Ah ha! So now the official knew for sure: Jesus had performed a miracle! At the very moment Jesus said he would live, the boy got well. Because Jesus spoke the word, the boy was healed. (Remember the power of Jesus’ words in John 1? He spoke everything into existence. Of course He could speak the fever out of a weak little boy!)
This was enough for the man to understand that Jesus was more than just a physical healer. He was more than a prophet. He was the Messiah. The man, his son, and his entire household believed in Jesus from that moment on.
Because Jesus did not go to the official’s home and make a big show of the miracle, the other people in Cana did not find out who Jesus really was - yet. Timing is everything, and Jesus’ timing was perfect. More people would find out when the time was right.
Applications: There are a couple things that we should take away from this story. Something the official did right: He came to Jesus when he had a need! The official had a very serious need that he was powerless to fix. Surely God allowed the boy’s fever so that the man would be desperate enough to go and find Jesus. Because of the illness (which seemed so terrible at the time) the entire family gained eternal life (which is the best thing possible). We should always go to Jesus when we have a need - great or small. Share everything with Jesus. He wants to help you, guide you, and share every day with you!
Another thing for us to notice is that Jesus doesn’t always do things the way we think He should. This official begged Jesus to come home with him. He thought that Jesus had to see and touch his son to heal him. The official did not know how powerful Jesus was! Jesus simply said the boy was well, 13 miles away, and he was well! God’s ways are so far above our ways (Isaiah 55:9)! The official only wanted a healthy son, but Jesus had way more in store for him. Jesus wanted to heal the boy, teach the official just how powerful His word was, give the official the opportunity to believe in Jesus and gain eternal life, and keep His true identity under wraps a little while longer! Isn’t it a good thing that Jesus did things His way instead of the official’s way?
We should remember this when we pray for something. So often, we think we know the solution to our problem. We ask God for things to go a certain way, and we are so disappointed when things don’t happen the way we have asked. The far better way to pray is to say, “Lord, here is my problem...,” then tell Jesus all about it. Say, “I know that you care about me (Nahum 1:7). I know that you can work every detail of my life out for good (Romans 8:28). Please take care of this problem in the very best way for me and for the people around me. Please use this situation to bring more people into your kingdom. Please tell me anything you want me to know.”
And lastly, Jesus wants us to know that His message - that He is King, He can save us from our sin - is more important than the physical miracles He can do for us. Yes, it is right to ask for blessings and miracles. But it is far more important to believe the truth of who Jesus is. Jesus said there is a special blessing for those who believe without first seeing a miracle (John 20:29).
Main Point: Jesus performed miracles so that people would believe in Him.
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