John 4:53 MEANING

John 4:53
(53) So the father knew.--He was not mistaken, then. The power he had felt when these words were spoken to him was real. The hours that had passed since, as he hastened to know all, had prepared him to read the sign. "Thy son liveth!" "The seventh hour yesterday!" There is more than one miracle here. A new life passes into his own spirit, and he, too, bound in the death-grasp of a formal religion, liveth! A Father's love has yearned for him. Christ has come down ere the child died.

Himself believed.--This is a yet higher faith. He believed the report before he went to Cana. He believed personally when he pleaded, "Lord, come down." He believed the word that Jesus spake when told to go his way, and every step of that road going away from the power to the sufferer was an act of faith; but still there is place for a fuller faith, and he and his household became believers. St. John traces here, as before, in the case of the Samaritans (John 4:41-42), and of the disciples themselves (John 2:11), the successive development of faith.

Verse 53. - The father then knew (came to know, by putting the facts together) that his son began to amend in the same hour in which Jesus said to him, Try son liveth. The word was mighty, none other than that very voice of the Lord "which healeth all our diseases," and "redeemeth our lives from destruction." No mere coincidence, no common accident. And himself believed and his whole household; believed in the Divine claims of Jesus. This is the earliest mention of "household faith" (cf. Acts 10:44; Acts 16:15, 34). In this case a whole picture rises before our eye. The mother, the sisters, the servants, the entire family, had shared in the anxiety, had sympathized in the journey to Cana, and now accepted the exalted claims of Jesus. Faith is graciously contagious. The nearness of the unseen world often reveals the features of the God-Man. The suggestion has frequently been hazarded that this βασιλικός was Chuza, the house steward of Herod, whose wife, Joanna, ministered to Jesus (Luke 8:3 and Luke 24:10).

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.So the father knew that it was at the same hour,.... Precisely;

in that which Jesus said to him, thy son liveth: he had observed what time of day it was, in which he conversed with Jesus; and particularly, when he told him his son was alive and well, and when he took his leave of him; and by comparing the account of his servants, with that, found that things entirely agreed, and that the cure was wrought exactly at the time, that Jesus spoke the words:

and himself believed, and his whole house; when he came home, he related the whole affair to his family, and he and they all believed, that Jesus was the Messiah, and became his disciples and followers: if this nobleman was Chuza, Herod's steward, we have an account of his wife, whose name was Joanna, that she followed Christ, and ministered to him of her substance, with other women, Luke 8:3. There is a story, told by the Jews, and which seems somewhat like to this (d);

"it is reported concerning R. Chanina ben Dosa, that when he prayed for the sick, he used to say, , "this liveth", and this dies; it was said to him, whence knowest thou this? he replied, if my prayer be ready in my mouth, I know that he is accepted (of God, i.e. the sick man for whom he prayed); but if not, I know that he will be snatched away (by the disease):''

upon which the Gemarists give the following relation (e);

"it happened that the son of Rabban Gamaliel (the Apostle Paul's master) was sick, he sent two disciples to R. Chanina ben Dosa, to ask mercy for him; when he saw them, he went up to a chamber, and sought mercy for him; and when he came down, he said unto them, , "go your way, for the fever has left him"; they said unto him, art thou a prophet? he replied, I am not a prophet, nor the son of a prophet; but so I have received, that if my prayer is ready in my mouth, I know that he is accepted; and if not, I know that he shall be snatched away; and they sat and wrote and observed "the very hour"; and when they came to Rabban Gamaliel, he said unto them, this service ye have not been wanting in, nor abounded in; but so the thing was, that in that hour the fever left him, and he asked of us water to drink.''

Which story perhaps is told, to vie with this miracle of Christ, and to obscure the glory of it.

(d) Misn. Beracot, c. 5. sect. 5. (e) T. Bab. Beracot, fol. 34. 2.

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