Humble Hero


“Unless You See Signs and Wonders”

This chapter is based on John 4:43-54.

The Galileans who returned from the Passover brought back the report of Jesus’ wonderful works. Many of the people were sad to see the abuses of the temple and the greed and arrogance of the priests. They hoped that this Man, who had evicted the rulers from the temple, might be the expected Deliverer. They had heard reports that the Prophet had declared Himself to be the Messiah. HH 83.1

The news of Christ’s return to Cana soon spread throughout Galilee. In Capernaum, this drew the attention of a Jewish nobleman who was an officer in the king’s service. The officer’s son was suffering from a disease that seemed to be incurable. When the father heard of Jesus, he determined to ask Him for help. He hoped that a father’s prayers might awaken the sympathy of the Great Physician. HH 83.2

When he reached Cana, he pressed his way through a crowd to the Savior’s presence. His faith grew weak when he saw only a plainly dressed man, dusty and worn with travel. Yet he talked with Jesus anyway, told his errand, and urged the Savior to accompany him to his home. HH 83.3

Jesus knew that the father had made conditions in his own mind concerning his belief in Him. Unless his request was granted, he would not receive Jesus as the Messiah. While the officer waited in an agony of suspense, Jesus said, “Unless you people see signs and wonders, you will by no means believe.” HH 83.4

The Savior contrasted the father’s questioning unbelief with the simple faith of the Samaritans, who asked for no miracle or sign. His word had a convincing power that reached their hearts. Christ was pained that His own people failed to hear the voice of God speaking to them through His Son. HH 83.5

Yet the nobleman had a degree of faith, for he had come to ask for what seemed to him the most precious of all blessings. Jesus desired not only to heal the child but to lead the officer and his household to share in the blessings of salvation and to kindle a light in Capernaum. But the nobleman must realize his need before he would want the grace of Christ. Many Jews were interested in Jesus from selfish motives. They staked their faith on whether He would grant them some temporal favor, but they did not see their need of divine grace. HH 83.6

Like a flash of light, the Savior’s words to the nobleman revealed to him his own heart. He saw that his motives were selfish. His wavering faith appeared in its true character. In deep distress he realized that his doubt might cost the life of his son. In an agony of pleading he begged, “Sir, come down before my child dies!” His faith took hold on Christ as did Jacob, when he cried out as he wrestled with the Angel, “I will not let You go unless You bless me!” Genesis 32:26. HH 84.1

Like Jacob, he succeeded. “Go your way; your son lives,” Jesus said. The nobleman left the Savior’s presence with a peace and joy he had never known before. HH 84.2

At the same hour, those who were watching beside the dying child at Capernaum saw a sudden, mysterious change. The feverish complexion gave way to the soft glow of returning health. Strength returned to the feeble, wasting form. No signs of his sickness lingered on the child. His burning flesh had become soft and moist, and he sank into a quiet sleep. The family were amazed and greatly cheered. HH 84.3

The officer could have reached Capernaum on the evening after his encounter with Jesus, but he did not hurry toward home. It was the next morning when he arrived in Capernaum. What a homecoming that was! HH 84.4

When he had gone to find Jesus, his heart was heavy with sorrow. How different his feelings were now! As he traveled in the quiet of the early morning, all nature seemed to be praising God with him. While he was still some distance from home, servants came out to relieve the suspense they were sure he must feel. He showed no surprise at the news they brought, but asked what time it was when the child began to get better. They answered, “Yesterday at the seventh hour the fever left him.” At the very moment when the father’s faith grasped Jesus’ assurance, “Your son lives,” divine love touched the dying child. HH 84.5

The father hurried on to greet his son. He hugged him to his heart as one who had been restored from the dead, and he thanked God again and again for the wonderful healing. HH 84.6

Later, when the nobleman learned more of Christ, he and all his household became disciples. News of the miracle spread, and it prepared the way for Christ’s personal ministry in Capernaum. HH 84.7

Like the anxious father, we often are led to seek Jesus by the desire for some earthly benefit, and our confidence in His love depends on whether He grants our request. The Savior longs to give a greater blessing than we ask, and He delays the answer so that He may show us the evil of our own hearts and our need of His grace. He wants us to turn away from the selfishness that leads us to seek Him. HH 84.8

The nobleman wanted to see the fulfillment of his prayer before he would believe, but he had to accept the word of Jesus that his request was heard and the blessing granted. We are to believe, not because we see or feel that God hears us. We are to trust His promises. When we have asked for His blessing, we should believe that we receive it and thank Him that we have received it. Then we are to go about our duties, knowing that we will experience the blessing when we need it most. HH 84.9