JESUS PREACHES THAT “THE KINGDOM OF GOD HAS DRAWN NEAR”
HE HEALS A BOY FROM A DISTANCE
After some two days in Samaria, Jesus moves on to his home territory. He has had an extended preaching campaign in Judea, but he is not returning to Galilee to rest. Rather, he begins an even greater ministry in the land where he grew up. He might not expect to be well-received there, because as Jesus stated, “a prophet has no honor in his own homeland.” (John 4:44) Instead of staying with him, his disciples return home to their families and their former occupations.
What message does Jesus begin preaching? It is this: “The Kingdom of God has drawn near. Repent, and have faith in the good news.” (Mark 1:15) And what is the response? Actually, many Galileans receive Jesus well, giving him honor. This is not just because of his message. Some from Galilee were at the Passover in Jerusalem months before and saw the remarkable signs Jesus performed.—John 2:23.
Where does Jesus begin his great Galilean ministry? Apparently in Cana, where he had once turned water into wine at a wedding feast. While there on this second occasion, Jesus learns of a lad who is very sick, at the point of death. He is the son of a government official of Herod Antipas, the king who later has John the Baptist beheaded. This official hears that Jesus has come out of Judea to Cana. So the man travels from his home in Capernaum to Cana to find Jesus. The grief-stricken official urges him: “Lord, come down before my young child dies.”—John 4:49.
Jesus responds with a statement that must astonish the man: “Go your way; your son lives.” (John 4:50) Herod’s official believes Jesus and starts his return trip home. On the way he is met by his slaves, who have hurried to tell him good news. Yes, his son is alive and well! ‘When did he get better?’ he asks, trying to put the pieces together.
“The fever left him yesterday at the seventh hour,” they answer.—John 4:52.
The official realizes that this is exactly when Jesus said, “Your son lives.” After that, both this man, who is wealthy enough to have slaves, and his entire household become disciples of Christ.
Cana is thus a place where Jesus twice performs miracles, turning water into wine and later curing the young boy from a distance of some 16 miles (26 km). These, of course, are not his only miracles. But this cure is significant because it marks his return to Galilee. He is clearly a prophet approved by God, yet to what extent will this ‘prophet be honored in his own homeland’?
That will become evident as Jesus heads home to Nazareth. What awaits him there?