From Heaven With Love


Chapter 20—“Except Ye 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 the wonderful works of Jesus. Many of the people lamented the abuse of the temple, and the greed and arrogance of the priests. They hoped that this Man, who had put the rulers to flight, might be the looked-for Deliverer. It was reported that the prophet had declared Himself to be the Messiah. HLv 124.1

The news of Christ's return to Cana soon spread throughout Galilee. In Capernaum the tidings attracted the attention of a Jewish nobleman who was an officer in the king's service. A son of the officer was suffering from what seemed to be an incurable disease. When the father heard of Jesus, he determined to seek help from Him. He hoped that a father's prayers might awaken the sympathy of the Great Physician. HLv 124.2

On reaching Cana he pressed through a throng to the Saviour's presence. His faith faltered when he saw only a plainly dressed man, dusty and worn with travel. Yet he secured an interview with Jesus, told his errand, and besought the Saviour to accompany him to his home. HLv 124.3

Jesus knew that the father had, in his own mind, made conditions concerning his belief in Him. Unless his petition should be granted, he would not receive Him as the Messiah. While the officer waited in an agony of suspense, Jesus said, “Unless ye see signs and wonders, ye will not believe.” HLv 124.4

The Saviour contrasted the petitioner'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 should fail to hear the voice of God speaking to them in His Son. HLv 124.5

Yet, the nobleman had a degree of faith, for he had come to ask what seemed to him the most precious of all blessings. Jesus desired not only to heal the child, but to make the officer and his household sharers in the blessings of salvation, and to kindle a light in Capernaum. But the nobleman must realize his need before he would desire the grace of Christ. Many of his nation were interested in Jesus from selfish motives. They staked their faith on the granting of temporal favor, but saw not their need of divine grace. HLv 125.1

Like a flash of light, the Saviour's words to the nobleman laid bare his heart. He saw that his motives were selfish. His vacillating 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 supplication he cried, “Sir, come down ere my child die.” His faith took hold upon Christ as did Jacob, when, wrestling with the Angel, he cried, “I will not let Thee go, except Thou bless me.” Genesis 32:26. HLv 125.2

Like Jacob he prevailed. “Go thy way; thy son liveth,” Jesus said. The nobleman left the Saviour's presence with a peace and joy he had never known before. HLv 125.3

At the same hour the watchers beside the dying child at Capernaum beheld a sudden, mysterious change. The flush of fever gave place to the soft glow of returning health. Strength returned to the feeble, emaciated frame. No signs of his malady lingered about the child. His burning flesh had become soft and moist, and he sank into a quiet sleep. The family were amazed, and great was the rejoicing. HLv 125.4

The officer might have reached Capernaum on the evening after his interview with Jesus; but he did not hasten homeward. Not until the next morning did he reach Capernaum. What a homecoming was that! HLv 125.5

When he had gone to find Jesus, his heart was heavy with sorrow. How different his feelings now! As he journeyed in the quiet of the early morning, all nature seemed to be praising God with him. While he was still some distance from his dwelling, servants came out to relieve the suspense they were sure he must feel. He showed no surprise at the news they brought, but asked at what hour the child began to mend. They answered, “Yesterday at the seventh hour the fever left him.” At the very moment when the father's faith grasped the assurance, “Thy son liveth,” divine love touched the dying child. HLv 126.1

The father hurried on to greet his son. He clasped him to his heart as one restored from the dead and thanked God again and again for the wonderful restoration. HLv 126.2

As the nobleman afterward learned more of Christ, he and all his household became disciples. Tidings of the miracle spread, and in Capernaum the way was prepared for Christ's personal ministry. HLv 126.3

Like the afflicted father, we often are led to seek Jesus by the desire for some earthly good; and upon the granting of our request we rest our confidence in His love. The Saviour longs to give a greater blessing than we ask, and He delays the answer that He may show us the evil of our own hearts and our need of His grace. He desires us to renounce the selfishness that leads us to seek Him. HLv 126.4

The nobleman wanted to see the fulfillment of his prayer before he should believe; but he had to accept the word of Jesus that his request was heard and the blessing granted. Not because we see or feel that God hears us are we to believe. 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, assured that the blessing will be realized when we need it most. HLv 126.5