Introduction: How do you like detours? Our study last week had Jesus
headed back to Galilee. On the way He decided to take a little rest
at the well in Samaria while His disciples were rounding up lunch.
While at the well Jesus bumped into a Samaritan woman with an
attitude and ended up converting her and holding a two-day
evangelistic series! John 4:41-42 tells us that many Samaritans
believed that Jesus was the Messiah. This was the beginning of the
church in Samaria. What a great detour! This week our story picks up
with Jesus making it back to Galilee. Let’s plunge into our study!

  1. No Honor

    1. Read John 4:43-45. Have you ever felt unappreciated in
      your work for your church?

      1. What does John suggest is the reason why a person is
        not properly appreciated in his or her own church?
        (He doesn’t really give an explanation. He just says
        “no honor at home.” The people know you. They get
        used to you and what you do.)

      2. The text seems to indicate that Jesus is feeling
        unappreciated. At the same time it tells us that the
        people of Galilee welcomed Him. What country is not
        honoring Jesus? (The reason I mentioned the two-day
        detour in the introduction was to give you the
        background for this comment. Commentators disagree on
        which “country” is not showing Jesus proper honor.
        Some say this refers to the area around Jerusalem –
        which is where Jesus just was. Others say this refers
        to Galilee, because that was Jesus “own country.” I
        think John is comparing the wonderful reception the
        Samaritans gave Jesus with the reception (cool) in
        Jerusalem and the reception (warm) in Galilee.
        Neither reception was as enthusiastic as in Samaria.)

        1. Notice the note about the Galileans also being
          in Jerusalem with Jesus. What does that tell
          you? (The saw His miracles. They saw him drive
          the cheaters out of the temple.)

        2. What kind of view do you think they were
          beginning to have of Jesus? (They heard about
          the miracle at the wedding in Cana. They knew
          about the miracles in Jerusalem ( John 2:23).
          They had probably been victimized by the
          cheaters. They were taking notice of this local
          fellow who had been a carpenter.)

  2. The Royal Official

    1. Read John 4:46-47. What do we learn about the father? (He
      was an important man: a royal official. He had a sick son
      who was about to die.)

      1. How far is Capernaum from Cana? (It is a day’s walk –
        20-25 miles. Worse, Capernaum is by the sea, so the
        walk to Cana is all uphill.)

      2. A royal official is going to walk 20-25 miles uphill
        to ask a carpenter for help. What does that tell you
        about this official?

      3. In the next series of questions, I ask you to imagine
        that you are the royal official who is the father of
        the dying son.

        1. Do you love your son? (You bet.)

        2. What measures have you taken to cure your son?

        3. What measures have you not taken to cure your

        4. Is it easy to go and beg Jesus? (You can bet the
          father has done everything within his power.
          Most likely his only remaining hope is Jesus. He
          swallows his pride and goes and begs.)

    2. Focus on verse 47. What kind of attitude does the father
      show towards Jesus? (An attitude of belief. He begged
      Jesus to come and heal his son.)

      1. Why would Jesus have to go to his son? Why does the
        father ask Jesus to go 20-25 miles to heal his son?
        (Review in your mind the miracles of healing in the
        Bible. Very few are done remotely. Almost always the
        healer comes to the person to be healed.)

        1. Does the fact that the father asks Jesus to come
          to his son show a lack of faith? (I don’t think
          so. Our lesson says, “yes” to this question.
          Jesus is about to opine on the faith issue, so
          let’s read on.)

  3. Believing Without Seeing

    1. Read John 4:48. Is Jesus speaking to the father or is
      Jesus just making this statement in the abstract?

      1. Has the father asked to see a miracle? (Yes. On a
        very simply level he is asking for a miracle for his

        1. Is the father asking to see a miracle before he
          will believe in Jesus? (No. He came to Jesus and
          asked for a healing. He did not say, “heal
          something” and then I will bring up the subject
          of my son.)

      2. If Jesus had not healed his son, would the father
        have believed in Jesus? (I doubt it.)

        1. Is that the correct attitude to have? (I think
          this supports Jesus’ statement in verse 48.)

        2. How about you friend? Will you believe in Jesus
          even though He does not grant your prayer
          request? Will you believe even though He does
          not heal someone in your family? Even though He
          does not fix your job problem? Even though He
          does not fix your money problem?
        1. Do you believe based on who Jesus is, or do you
          believe based on your own selfish interests?

    1. Read verse 49. I just suggested that the father was not
      demanding a miracle before He asked Jesus to heal his son.
      However, is the father asking to SEE a miracle from Jesus?
      (Yes. He is asking Jesus to come to heal his son. That
      means the father would actually be seeing the miracle take

      1. Do you think the father has understood what Jesus is
        saying and is still demanding that he see a miracle
        from Jesus? (The father is asking to see a miracle.
        However, I do not think he understands exactly what
        Jesus means.)

    2. Read John 4:50. Put a marker in the sand right after Jesus
      says “you can leave, your son is healed.” What is going
      through the mind of the father at that point? (He is
      debating whether he should trust Jesus or whether he
      should continue to beg Him to come heal his son.)

      1. There are important “faith-testing” points in your
        life. How important is this one for this father?

        1. Does the life of his son hang in the balance?

      2. Did the father believe Jesus without seeing a
        miracle? (Yes. I think the lights turned on for the
        father at this point. I doubt he understood what
        Jesus was saying (v.48) about believing without
        seeing. That is why the father continued (v.49) by
        begging Jesus to come to his son to heal him. It was
        when Jesus said “I don’t need to come, you can go
        because your son is healed” that the father realized
        Jesus was asking him to believe without seeing Jesus
        actually heal his son. In a tremendous show of faith,
        the father believed.)

    3. Read John 4:51-53. Was the father right to take Jesus at
      His word? (The very hour (1:00 PM) when Jesus announced
      the son would live, the fever left the boy.)

    4. Let’s get back to the question that I ask you each week.
      Why do you think John chose this story to put in his

      1. What message does John (and God) want to convey to
        us? (Jesus no longer walks the face of the earth
        performing miracles. John is writing to an audience
        that even then might not have seen Jesus. Clearly,
        all of the subsequent generations did not see Jesus.
        The question we face is the same as this father
        faced: “Will you take Jesus at His word without
        seeing a miracle?”)

        1. Look at the last line of verse 53. Does this
          undercut what we just decided? Do they only
          believe now that they have seen the miracle?

          1. Had the father seen his son healed at this
            point? (No.)

          2. Had the servants heard Jesus say the boy
            would be healed? (No.)

          3. Is the situation the same as ours? (Pretty
            much. The father took Jesus at his word
            and believed the report of his servants.
            The servants had seen the resulting
            healing, but did not know the source until
            they spoke to the father. That is the way
            it is with us. We read from first-hand
            accounts (like John’s gospel) and we see
            the results in the lives of people.
            Putting those two together and believing
            is the act of faith which John wants to

    5. Let’s compare the three people we have studied last week
      and this week who came to Jesus.

      1. Why did Nicodemus come to Jesus? What was his
        attitude? (Intellectual curiosity and pride.)

      2. Why did the Samaritan woman come to Jesus? What was
        her attitude? (She did not know she was looking for
        Jesus. She was resentful.)

      3. Why did the royal official come to Jesus? What was
        his attitude? (He came because of a family tragedy.
        He was desperate.)

      4. Are these three an illustration of the three major
        ways in which people come to Jesus?

        1. What has your church done to respond to these
          three kinds of inquirers?

        2. What have you done to prepare to respond to
          these three types of inquirers?

    6. Friend, Jesus asks you to believe in Him without seeing a
      miracle. Will you believe based on what Jesus has done to
      save you, without Jesus having to do some special miracle
      for you? Jesus calls you to that kind of faith.
  1. Next week: Putting the Past Behind You