Scripture Reference: John 4:46-54
Suggested Emphasis: Believe the words of Jesus.
Memory Verse: “Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.” John 20:30-31, NIV
While Jesus was preaching in Galilee a nobleman (royal official) from the city of Capernaum approached and begged Jesus to come heal his dying son. Instead of going to Capernaum, Jesus told the nobleman to go back home. His son would live. The nobleman “took Jesus at his word” and returned home to find his son well. The fever had gone at the same hour Jesus had said he would live.
(John 4:39-41). Jesus has been travelling and preaching the word of God. Originally he had performed his first miracle in the town of Cana in the region of Galilee. In today’s story he returns to Cana after travelling around Samaria.
Jesus notices that the people in Galilee are different than in Samaria. He had not performed any miracles in Samaria yet many believed (John 4:39-41). The people in Galilee seemed to demand miracles before they would believe (4:48).
The nobleman in today’s story was probably a royal official in Herod Antipas’ court (verse 46). This was the son of the Herod that was king of the Jews when Jesus was born.
The man had travelled all the way from Capernaum to see Jesus (verse 46). This would have been over 25 kilometres. This speaks of the man’s love for his son as well as his faith in Jesus’ power. When Jesus talked about the people of Galilee not believing without signs and miracles, he was most probably speaking to the crowd around him. This man’s belief is obvious.
The royal official would have expected Jesus to go with him and heal his son in person. Yet, Jesus told him that his son was now healed. These were not just empty words. The official accepted this and went back home. To say that he “took Jesus at his word” shows an intense trust (verse 50). He had travelled too far to turn back unless he really believed that what Jesus said was true.
Before reaching home he received the message that his son was well. He found out the exact hour that the boy was healed. This was the same hour that Jesus had said he was healed.
The truly incredible part of this story is not only the fact that Jesus healed the boy but that he did it from twenty miles away. Do we take Jesus at his word?
- What happened before this story?
- What happens after this story?
- List of all Bible stories and themes on this website.
Way to Introduce the Story:
Use a map of your area to find a town or landmark just over 25 kilometres away. Talk about walking that distance. Discuss situations where you might have to walk that far (if you were lost and did not have a car or telephone). In New Testament times people did not have cars to drive. A man in today’s story walked that far. How long do you think it took him?
The people of Galilee were very happy that Jesus was coming to their province. They had heard about the good things he had been teaching. They had also heard that he could do amazing miracles with God’s power. The people welcomed Him. The people in the city of Cana were especially glad because Jesus came to their town first.
One man that came to Jesus did not live in Cana. He lived about 25 kilometres from Cana in the city of Capernaum. This man travelled a long way to talk to Jesus.
The man did not have a normal job. His job was very special. The man was a nobleman. That meant that he was a special helper to the king.
The man was probably rich but there was one thing that he could not buy with his money. The man’s son was very sick at home in Capernaum and no doctors could make him well. The nobleman knew that his son was about to die so he travelled all the way to Cana to ask Jesus to come and heal his son.
When the man arrived in Cana he went straight to Jesus and begged him to come back to Capernaum with him to heal his son. He wanted Jesus to come quickly before the boy died.
But instead of going with the man Jesus said something very unusual to him. “You may go,” Jesus said. “Your son will live.”
The nobleman must have been very surprised! Jesus was not going to go all the way to Capernaum. He was going to heal the boy from Cana. That was amazing!
Some people might not have believed something so amazing but the nobleman believed straight away. He took Jesus at his word and started travelling home.
On the way home the nobleman was met by some of his servants. Could they be bringing bad news? Did his son die after all? No! The servants said that the boy was all healthy again.
The nobleman knew what time Jesus had said the boy would live. He asked the servants what time the boy’s fever went away. They said that it was the day before at a certain time. The nobleman knew that it was the same exact time that Jesus said the boy would live.
So it was true! Jesus could heal someone even if he was many miles away. That is how strong the power of God is.
When the nobleman arrived home he was very happy to see his son. He was glad that he had believed what Jesus had said. He told all of his family about Jesus. When the people in his house heard about God and about Jesus they all began to believe too.
Remember, we should always believe the words of Jesus.
Ways to Tell the Story:
This story can be told using a variety of methods. Always remain true to the facts found in the Bible but help children connect to its meaning by using drama, visual aids, voice inflection, student interaction and/or emotion.
Click here for visual aids and story-telling methods.
The slideshow and set of illustrations above cannot be viewed here on this website but can be downloaded directly from http://www.freebibleimages.org/illustrations/gnpi-020-officials-son/
- Why did the nobleman want to see Jesus? To get Jesus to heal his dying son.
- Instead of going with the nobleman, what did Jesus say to him? Go, your son will live.
- When the man arrived back home what did he find out about his son? His son was healed at the very hour that Jesus had said he was.
Learning Activities and Crafts:
- Write today’s memory verse on a large piece of paper. Have the children say it with you a few times. Have one of the children tear off one part of the paper (their choice which part). Now say the verse together again filling in the part that is torn off. Keep letting the children tear off pieces until you can say the verse without any written words. (This is a long verse. If it gets too hard just put the pieces back together and start again next week).
- Write the letters B-E-L-I-E-V-E on the chalk/white board or a paper. Ask the children to list things about Jesus under each letter. Example: B-best friend E-eternal, etc.
- Make a bulletin board with the name J-E-S-U-S written in big letters in the middle. You might also want to have a nice picture of Jesus. Each week add words and timeline pictures that depict the life of Jesus.
- Have children draw the scenes of the story in cartoon form.
- Masking tape art project. Mask the letters B-E-L-I-E-V-E and then let the kids paint. Write the memory verse in permanent marker in the corner. Thanks to Linda Z. for this idea! Hint: After painting, carefully peel the tape away leaving the word “BELIEVE” without paint.
- Older children can trace a simple map of Palestine (use an atlas or maps in the back of your bible). Each week this term locate and mark where the story takes place.
Check the Teaching Ideas page on this website for ideas that are adaptable to any lesson.
Other Online Resources:
- Colouring page and worksheets about Jesus healing the nobleman’s son from http://calvarycurriculum.org
- Colouring page from http://www.supercoloring.com
- Activity: Bee themed lesson with activities to teach how to “bee” like Jesus found at http://kidsbibledebjackson.blogspot.co.nz. These printables were created to study the Book of Romans but could be adapted to today’s lesson on listening to Jesus.