He heals the king's official son

There was an official of the king who had a sick son in Capernaum.
Jesus replies: "Go, your son lives"
That man believed the word that Jesus had said to him and set out on his way.

Gospel - John [4: 43-54]

After two days, he left there to go to Galilee. But Jesus himself had declared that a prophet does not receive honor in his homeland. But when he arrived in Galilee, the Galileans welcomed him with joy, since they had seen everything he had done in Jerusalem during the feast; in fact they too had gone to the party. So he went back to Cana of Galilee, where he had changed the water into wine. There was an official of the king who had a sick son in Capernaum. When he heard that Jesus had come from Judea to Galilee, he went to him and asked him to come down and heal his son because he was about to die. Jesus said to him: "If you do not see signs and wonders, you do not believe". But the king's official insisted, "Sir, come down before my baby dies". Jesus replies: "Go, your son lives". That man believed the word that Jesus had said to him and set out on his way. Just as he was descending, the servants came to meet him and said: "Your son lives!". He then inquired at what time he had started to feel better. They told him: "Yesterday, an hour after noon the fever left him". The father recognized that at that very hour Jesus had told him: "Your son lives" and believed him with all his family. This was the second miracle that Jesus performed on his return from Judea to Galilee.

Exegesis - John Gospel [4: 43-54]

Jesus leaves Galilee, and goes towards Judea, to arrive as far as Jerusalem on the occasion of the feast and, passing through Samaria. He remains there for several days, during which many people are converted. After that he decides to return to Galilee, knowing that the people of Galilee looked towards him with a certain reserve; but Jesus wishes to return to his land despite, as he himself affirms, "No prophet is welcome in his homeland". The Galileans, on that occasion, instead welcomed him with joy, but only because they had seen everything he had done in Jerusalem; in fact Jesus clearly proclaims: "If you do not see signs and wonders, you do not believe". This was not the faith that Jesus desired.

So what is the true faith? John, in the passage quoted, tells us precisely the story of this pagan official of the king, who goes to Jesus and begs him to go down to his house to heal his son before he dies. And Jesus' answer is profoundly educational: he wants to test this man's faith, verifying whether he has turned to him only to have a sign of his power; but in spite of Jesus' answer, the man is not silent and repeats the same request: "Lord, come down before my baby dies!". At this point, Jesus decides not to go home with the man, but simply dismiss him with a "Go! Your son is alive!".

This is the faith that Jesus craves: he wants the official to believe his word, that the child is already healed because the Son does exactly the will of the Father. And the official does not disappoint him: he goes towards his house, sets off confidently, and the servants see him and run to him to tell him that his son is healed. He inquires about the time when he was healed and discovers, as an amazing certainty, that it was exactly the time when Jesus had said to him: "Your son lives!". He thus confirms that what saved his son was the firmness of his faith.

From the testimonies of the Gospel, we know that Jesus never acts if he first does not see the faith; He himself points this out on several occasions when he says: "your faith has saved you". This is the case, for example, of that leper who went to Jesus, threw himself on his knees in front of him and shouted: "If you want, you can heal me!", And Jesus replied: "Go, introduce yourself to the priest"; and again of the case of Jairo, of the head of the synagogue to whom they reported "your daughter is dead" and Jesus consoled by saying: "Do not be afraid, continue to have faith". It is faith that allows Jesus to act! Also to this official Jesus replies with "Go, your son lives", because he has seen the true faith in him.

Our faith should also be like this, a total abandonment in the certainty that He has the power of God in him. Not like that Pharisee in Luke's parable, who prays standing up to affirm his presence in the temple with greater arrogance, fine does not really pray but only fulfills a religious formality, seeking the admiration of those who, present with him at the temple, cannot help but notice it.

These are the attitudes that push Jesus to affirm that our heart is far from God. Instead this official, this man "not of the church", does not need to have signs or wonders: he does not object, he does not question the veracity of words professed by Jesus, he does not need a miracle on the spot; he believes his word, trusts and goes. Only then does he discover, without even deliberately investigating, the truthfulness of Jesus' statements, through the servants who tell him "your son lives". Extraordinary! Here is the power of faith, which makes Jesus himself say: "in truth I tell you, ask and you will get, seek and you will find, knock and it will be opened to you".
(Lk 11,9).

It is no coincidence that John ends the Gospel passage by asserting: "This was the second miracle that Jesus performed", a miracle made possible only for one who has deep faith. Faith reveals what the eye does not see.


Might interest