[7]     Signs and Discourses 4: Miracles of Healing (4:43-5:18)


[C5]    4:43-54........... SECOND Sign - healing the nobleman’s son


4:44     Jesus had been rejected in Judea, his own country (as Jerusalem was the home of every Jew, especially for the Messiah), so He now turned to another region, Galilee.

4:45     After the welcome by Galileans, Jesus made His home in Capernaum (Mt 4:12-13).

4:46     “Royal official” means an official attached to Herod’s court.

4:47     “Begged” is in continuous tense, indicating a persistent request.

4:48     The word “wonders” means something beyond explanation, at which people can only marvel.

“Never” renders an emphatic double negative.

Jesus if affirming that people such as this man who had come to Him were looking for the spectacular. It is clear from this Gospel that Jesus accepted people who came only because of the miracles but deep trustful attachment is more essential.

4:49     The word for “child” here is not the same as the one in v.46 and v.47. It is a term expressive of affection, like “may little lad.”

4:50     Jesus’ words represent a hard test. The officer has nothing but Jesus’ bare words. But this is enough and he successfully met the implied demand for faith and left. He also obeyed Jesus’ words and went home, not seeking any other help.

4:51     Cana is 20 miles from Capernaum and would require hours of travelling.

4:52     “The seventh hour” means seven hours after sunrise or about 1 p.m. It was the next day after the healing.

4:53     Because of the healing, the official and all his household believed. The “sign” transformed his faith (in miracles) into a greater faith (in Jesus).

4:54     This cannot mean the second of Jesus’ signs. The real meaning is: “Thus once again Jesus wrought a miracle after leaving Judea for Galilee.”


[C6]    5:1-18............. THIRD Sign - The Healing of the Lame Man


5:1       The feast is not specified. Some believe this is a Passover, the second of four Passovers.

5:2       The present tense “is” points to the writing of the Gospel to a time before the destruction of Jerusalem. However, some (those who accept that the Gospel was written after the destruction of Jerusalem in AD70) believe that the present tense is used to impose “historic” force to past events.

The place is described only with the adjective “sheep” which requires adding “gate”, “market” (KJV) or  “pool” to give it meaning.

The pool had five porches can be identified as the present-day St. Anne Pool, a double pool now several feet below ground level.

5:3       Many sick people were gathered there. The original text of Gospel did not contain the explanation on why they came but a very ancient explanation somehow crept into the text (vv.3b-4). However, it is probably a good explanation for v.7.

The disturbance of the water might have been caused by the intermittent bubbling up of a natural spring.

5:5       It was probably some kind of paralysis or lameness.

5:9       The cure was instantaneous and complete.


5:10     Scribal regulations forbid works of healing on the Sabbath Day. It was also not lawful to lift up his mat, let alone carry it. (In the Mishnah, there are 39 classes of work forbidden on a Sabbath.) It probably came from passages like Neh 13:15 and Jer 17:21 but the original intent was to stop the tendency to secularize the Sabbath. Today, we should remember that Sunday is not just another day of business; it is the Lord’s Day.

5:12     The term “this fellow” implies a contemptuous contrast with the law of God.

5:14     The healed man was in the Temple probably offering thanks to God (cf. Mk 1:44; Lk 17:14).

“You are well again” uses the perfect tense, indicating that the cure was permanent.

“Stop sinning” implies that the man had sinned and continued in sin. Jesus seemed to imply that the man’s sin had brought about his sickness.

The “worst fate” may mean a worst physical fate but more likely Jesus was referring to the eternal consequence of sin.

5:16     “Was doing these things” is in continuous tense; John may imply that there were other Sabbath incidents that he had not recorded.

The Jewish leaders witnessed a miracle of healing and the breaking of a rule but they focused their attention on the broken rule.

5:17     In the Synoptics, Jesus defended his action by saying that the Son of man is lord over even the divinely instituted Sabbath (Mk 2:28). Here His defence rests on His intimate relationship to the Father.

The Jews referred to God as “our Father” or “my Father in heaven” to remove the suggestion of familiarity, but never just “my Father”.

5:18     The Jews understood that Jesus was “making himself equal with God” (cf. 10:33). Thus the Jews held that Jesus was guilty of blasphemy as well as of Sabbath breaking.



§         Some came to seek for Jesus while for others, Jesus sought them out. But both groups need to respond with faith and with obedience: the official went back home immediately (v.50) and the lame man picked up his mat and walked (v.8).

§         After 38 years, the situation of the lame man was hopeless. But in God, nothing is hopeless. There may be apparently hopeless life situations (such as unrepentent person, long sickness, broken relationships) but miracles can happen if we bring the matter before God.



Hymns of Life no.42 “Praise, my soul, the King of heaven”

Praise, my soul, the King of heaven,

To His feet thy tribute bring;

Ransomed, healed, restored, forgiven,

Evermore His praises sing.

Praise Him! Praise Him! Praise Him! Praise Him!

Praise the everlasting King!

Praise Him for His grace and favour

To our fathers in distress;

Praise Him, still the same forever,

Slow to chide, and swift to bless.

Praise Him! Praise Him! Praise Him! Praise Him!

Glorious in His faithfulness!