ESV - 48 So Jesus said to him, "Unless you see signs and wonders you will not believe.
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I will answer this by comparing it to the famous story of King Solomon, where he judged between the two women fighting over custody of a son. He was likely angry when the two bickering women started fighting in front of the king over an infant son, and that one of them was so selfish that she was willing to steal another woman's child even after her careless actions caused her to lose her own. To everybody's shock, Solomon ordered the son to be split in two with a sword and half given to each "mother". The real mother, filled with compassion for her son, relented and agreed to let the false "mother" have him rather than let him die (as opposed to the false "mother" who agreed with the edict). In his wisdom, Solomon knew that the love of the birth mother would triumph over the pride of the false mother. He was in full control of the situation and had no intention of harming the boy, but rather used his "harsh" words to shake the heart of the true mother and reveal her faithfulness and love for her son, thereby proving her to be the true birth mother. In the same way, Jesus IS always in control and had no intention of letting the boy in Jn 4:48 die. If He was angry, He had every right to be, as any father would be angry over stubborn and rebellious children. He used His "anger" to test the man's faith and love for his son so that the father's faith might produce a miracle, to be witnessed by everyone there. Sensing the urgency of the matter, Jesus in His wisdom answered the man's request with the statement, "Unless you people see signs and wonders, you will never believe.". The royal official probably got angry himself for a moment, being appalled by Jesus' apparent disregard for his son's life. However, he restrained his anger, swallowed his pride, and pleaded with Jesus to come to his son before he died. Jesus answered with another statement "Go. Your son will live". The man then had the choice of either taking Jesus at His word (faith) or proving Him right by continuing to doubt and burn with indignant pride, despite being rightfully called faithless. In the end, he believed Jesus had the power to heal by only speaking the word and it was this act of faith (returning to his son, whose life hung in the balance with only a "mere" reassuring word) that allowed the miracle to happen. In a sense, its also similar to Abraham taking God at his word and preparing to offer his only son Issac, since in both situations a son's life was at stake, and an act of faith saved that son's life. It's also a living parable of the sacrifice God made in sending Jesus to die for us. However, God did not spare his only begotten son but accepted His life for us as an atoning sacrifice. To think that God gave his son while mankind, as evil and rebellious and without regard for God as it was (and still is), is astonishing. Anyone who has a child can better appreciate the depth of this parable and what it means for God to give his own son for us. "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." Jn 3:16
These were Jews in Cana of Galilee and It was troubling to Jesus when they could not believe right away but asked for signs as in John 2:18 and here again as the nobleman did not believe until he knew his son was healed at the time Jesus had said he was healed.
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