7. SIGNS, WONDERS AND FAITH (John 4:46-54)

BACKGROUND: The official who seeks Jesus in this passage, worked for Herod Antipas. He was the man who had arrested and killed John the Baptist. (The Herod who had killed the babies in Bethlehem was his grandfather.) The Herods were only half Jewish and extremely unpopular with the Jews. The distance between Capernaum and Cana is 38 kilometers.
  1. What do you think might have been the good and bad points in the life of this royal official before his son became ill?
     
  2. Why do you think this man decided not to send one of his servants to Jesus, but to go himself?
    • Think of any place, which is about 40 kilometers away from where you are right now. What was this father perhaps thinking while walking that long distance to Cana?
       
  3. Why would it have been extremely difficult for this man to ask a favor of Jesus?
    • Recall an occasion when it was very difficult for you to approach Jesus. Why was this?
       
  4. What do the words of Jesus in verse 48 have to do with the rest of the story?
    • What is wrong with seeking after signs and wonders in order to be able to believe?
    • In your opinion, is it possible to apply the words of Jesus in verse 48 to this man? Give your reasons.
       
  5. Why didn’t Jesus go with this man to Capernaum, as he had asked him to do (verses 47,50)?
    • How was his faith changed by meeting Jesus (verse 50)?
       
  6. Why is it so difficult to simply believe in the word of God even before experiencing his help?
    • What is the promise of God that you should cling to at this very moment?
       
  7. Why is the moment of the boy’s healing recorded for us in the Bible (verse 52)?
    • What difference would it have made to the father if the boy had become well at some other time and not exactly when Jesus gave his promise?
       
  8. What is the meaning of “faith” according to this passage?
    • Compare your own faith with the faith of this father.
       
  9. What does this incident teach us about the word of Jesus?
    • What difference is there between suffering without the word of God and clinging to his promises while suffering?
       
  10. Why didn’t Jesus use his powerful word when he himself was close to death?

GLAD TIDINGS: The word of Jesus is so powerful because he has paid a great price for it: the son of the royal official could live, but the Son of God had to die instead.

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