The Lord decided to leave a place where “many” and “many more” were believing on Him to go to Galilee, a place where they didn’t honor Him, and probably wouldn’t believe on Him (John 4:40-44). What was He thinking?
Well, in Matthew 4:12-16 we learn that it was predicted that His light would shine in Galilee, and the Lord was a man of the Book. How about you? Philippians 2:15 says that your light should shine in the world. Are you a man or woman of the Book?
The Lord did many miracles at Jerusalem (John 2:23), causing the Jews from Galilee who were there to see them to believe (4:45). Of course, the Samaritans believed without seeing any miracles (4:42), because only “the Jews require a sign” (ICor.1:22).
The “nobleman” (John 4:46) was symbolic of Christ (Luke 19:11-13), and so the healing of the nobleman was a type of the healing of the Lord’s son, Israel (cf. Ex. 4:22). If you want to know when Israel will be healed, we are given a clue when we learn that just like the turning of water to wine, this was a third day miracle (John 2:1; 4:43). Since the Lord rose from the dead on the third day, it is symbolic of resurrection. When Israel is raised from the dead as a nation, there will be joy (symbolized by the wine) and healing. Just as at the Rapture the dead will rise and the living will be healed, so it will be when Israel is raised to go into the kingdom.
Capernaum (John 4:46) was 15-25 miles from the Lord, but the nobleman made the trip to seek the Lord. This is one reason why the Lord allows children to be sick, so that they and others will seek the Lord. You may not agree with the policy that eternal life is more important than physical life, but you will a thousand years from now, when we can see things from an eternal perspective, as God does.
The nobleman thought the Lord had to “come down” (4:47,49) to heal his son. What a commentary on our prayer life! The Lord tells us to make our “requests” known to Him, not our instructions (Phil.4:6). We must not presume to tell Him how to help us, as did this nobleman.
If the Jews require a sign, why did the Lord give the nobleman grief for seeking one (John 4:48)? After all, God taught the nation to look for signs like healing and the ability to take up serpents (Ex.4:1-9). But the Lord should not have had to give Israel these signs. He had told Israel they would get out of bondage in 400 years (Gen.15:13,14). Even back then, signs are for people who won’t believe God’s Word (ICor.14:22). Likewise the nobleman had a prediction from Daniel 9 that Messiah was due in his lifetime, and so shouldn’t have needed a sign to prove that this miracle-worker was Christ. That’s why the Lord was giving him grief for seeking a sign.
As it was, the nobleman believed the Lord could heal a sick child, but didn’t believe He could raise a dead child (4:49).
Healing this Jewish man’s son from afar (4:50) was unusual, since that is usually how the Lord healed Gentiles (Mt. 8:5-13; 15:21-28). This is symbolic of how when God was dealing with Israel, the Gentiles were “afar off” (Eph.2:17). But the healing of the nobleman’s son was a type of the healing that Israel will receive at the beginning of the kingdom. The Lord will do this all at once from afar, as at the Rapture.
When the nobleman learned from his servants that his son had been healed the previous day at 1 p.m. (4:51-53), it tells us he has now come to believe and trust the Lord. A man can walk 3 miles per hour, so it was only an 8 hour trip home at most. He could have been home by 9 p.m., but the next day his servants met him halfway, showing he was in no hurry to get home, as he would have been had he not believed the Lord had healed his son.
If you are looking for a sign before you believe, the Lord has already given enough signs in the Bible, and no sign will be given you (Mt. 12:39). “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved” (Acts 16:31).