John 4:52 MEANING

John 4:52
(52) Then enquired he of them.--But these two facts--the assurance at Cana, and the actual healing powers at Capernaum--were they in truth related to each other? He remembers the hour at which one was spoken; he inquires the hour at which the other was realised. He does not even now grasp the full meaning of the words, and thinks of the gradual abatement of the fever, and the slow convalescence, and asks when the child "began to amend." They have seen the sudden change as of a new power passing into the body on the point of death. They have spoken of this as a new life, and they now think of the fever as having completely left him.

Yesterday at the seventh hour.--We have seen (John 1:39) that there is no sufficient reason for thinking that St. John uses the western method of counting the hours of the day. Still less is it likely that Galilean servants, who are here the speakers, should have done so. To believe, moreover, that it was seven o'clock in the morning or evening adds to, and does not remove, the difficulty of the length of time implied in "yesterday." To say that the father remained some time with Jesus, and that "the believer doth not make haste," is to pervert both the spirit and the words of the text. He clearly went at once (John 4:50), and his anxiety naturally quickened his speed. The distance was not more than twenty-five English miles, and he had not travelled the whole of it, for the servants had gone to meet him. The supposed explanation cannot therefore be explained. But the words, if taken in their simple meaning, involve no such difficulty. These Jews, as all Jews, meant by the "seventh hour" the seventh from sunrise, what we should call one o'clock. After sunset the same evening they would have commenced a new day (comp. Excursus F.), and this seventh hour would be to them as one o'clock the day before, or the seventh hour yesterday. We have thus an interval of five or six hours between the words spoken by our Lord and their confirmation by the servants.

Verse 52. - The father is full of joy at the blessed intelligence, but naturally seeks at once to link the event with the word and will of Jesus. He therefore inquired from them the hour in which he began to amend (κομψότερον ἔσχε). (This peculiar phrase is suitable on the lips of a man of rank; literally, "he did bravely, exceedingly well;" and κόμψως ἔχειν is occasionally used in contradistinction with κάκως ἔχειν in a similar sense. Epictetus, 'Diss.,' 3:10-13.) They say to him, therefore, Yesterday during the seventh hour the fever left him. The advocates of John's adoption of the Roman computation of time suppose that this was seven p.m., and, therefore, that a night had intervened on the return journey (so Westcott, Edersheim, and Moulton). This is not necessary, because, even on the Jewish computation, from sunrise to sunset, though the seventh hour must then mean between noon and one p.m., it could not have happened that much before midnight he should have broken into the streets of Capernaum. At that hour the noon might be spoken of as "yesterday." This, however, is not imperative; for, if the distance between Capernaum and Cana was from twenty to twenty-five miles, and if the nobleman had travelled to Cana on the day that he presented his request, it is clear that a night's halt might easily have been required. Baur and Hilgenfeld make the note of time an attempt on the part of the writer to exaggerate the marvel, as if the distance through which the will of Christ asserted itself could augment the wonder, or that the real supernatural could be measured by milestones. And Thoma thinks so poorly of the originality of the Johannist, that he imagines him to have worked into his narrative some of the small details of the Cornelius and Peter interviews in Acts 10.

4:43-54 The father was a nobleman, yet the son was sick. Honours and titles are no security from sickness and death. The greatest men must go themselves to God, must become beggars. The nobleman did not stop from his request till he prevailed. But at first he discovered the weakness of his faith in the power of Christ. It is hard to persuade ourselves that distance of time and place, are no hinderance to the knowledge, mercy, and power of our Lord Jesus. Christ gave an answer of peace. Christ's saying that the soul lives, makes it alive. The father went his way, which showed the sincerity of his faith. Being satisfied, he did not hurry home that night, but returned as one easy in his own mind. His servants met him with the news of the child's recovery. Good news will meet those that hope in God's word. Diligent comparing the works of Jesus with his word, will confirm our faith. And the bringing the cure to the family brought salvation to it. Thus an experience of the power of one word of Christ, may settle the authority of Christ in the soul. The whole family believed likewise. The miracle made Jesus dear to them. The knowledge of Christ still spreads through families, and men find health and salvation to their souls.Then inquired he of them the hour,.... He did not at all hesitate about the truth of it, or was in any surprise upon it; but that he might compare things together, he asked the exact time,

when he began to amend; or grow better; for he seemed to think, that his recovery might be gradual, and not all at once, as it was:

and they said unto him, yesterday at the seventh hour; which was one o'clock in the afternoon:

the fever left him; entirely at once, so that he was perfectly well immediately.

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