Tag Archives: 7 signs

Healing of the Official’s son: The second sign

12/12/2012 Portland, Oregon – Pop in your mints…

Today we continue our series on the Seven Signs of John with the second sign, Jesus’ healing of the official’s son.  First, we must pause to remember the eternal lesson from the first sign, the changing of water into wine that the wedding in Cana of Galilee:  “Do what he says,” for miracles are born out of obedience.

And now, the second sign.

The Journey

Jesus had just returned from Jerusalem, where he had educated Nicodemus on the mechanics of spiritual rebirth at the Passover feat.  On his journey home, Jesus had done something that deeply troubled the Jewish religious establishment of the day, He had taken the more direct and mountainous route home to the Galilee by passing directly through the territory known as Samaria.

This was shocking, because the religious amongst the Jews in those days who resided in Jerusalem went to great pains to avoid setting foot in Samaria, which they saw as the epicenter of paganism and worse, a misguided worship of the One True God, YHWH.

For this reason, when travelling from Jerusalem to the Galilee, they would cross over to the east bank of the Jordan river and go north until they had passed by the Samaritan territory, at which point they crossed back over to the west bank and reached Scythopolis, where they would continue their journey into the Galilee.  This religious quirk added up to 40 miles, or in those days what would have been a hard two days journey, to what was already a three to four day ordeal.

The religious take the long road, as Jesus shows us the straight and narrow
The religious take the long road, as Jesus shows us the straight and narrow

However Jesus not only took the more direct route, he encountered a Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well and engaged her in conversation, an utterly shocking breach of protocol that caused even His disciples to question what he was doing.  We can only imagine that Jesus did not shake the dust off of His feet after reaching the Galilee, the custom of the religious Jews who were forced to tend to unavoidable business in Samaria, and therefore were forced to “defile” themselves by setting foot on Samaritan soil.

Blind Faith via Shock Therapy

Jesus was returning to the Galilee from Judea, where, as mentioned above, he had attended the Passover and, while there, began to turn the Jewish religious system on its head.  In fact, so many people believed in Jesus as the Messiah as a result of His teachings during the Passover that his disciples were baptizing even more people than John the Baptist, who the Jewish religious leaders had previously seen as their main rival.

As a result of this, the Pharisees, a sect of the Jews who believed in the resurrection of the dead, were planning to come after Jesus, hastening His flight back to the Galilee.

After passing through Samaria en route to an imagined quiet retreat into the Galilee, Jesus found that a great number of people in the Galilee had witnessed the signs he had done during the Passover for they, too, were there.  His reputation has preceded Him, and peace was to prove elusive for the rest of His days on earth.

Under these circumstances, Jesus returned to Cana as a type of rock star.

While in Cana, Jesus was approached by a certain nobleman who asks Jesus for a favor that would become known as the second sign which is related in John 4:43-54:

43 After the two days he went out from there and went into Galilee. 44 For Jesus himself testified that a prophet has no honor in his own country. 45 So when he came into Galilee, the Galileans received him, having seen all the things that he did in Jerusalem at the feast, for they also went to the feast. 46 Jesus came therefore again to Cana of Galilee, where he made the water into wine. There was a certain nobleman whose son was sick at Capernaum. 47 When he heard that Jesus had come out of Judea into Galilee, he went to him, and begged him that he would come down and heal his son, for he was at the point of death. 48 Jesus therefore said to him, “Unless you see signs and wonders, you will in no way believe.”

49 The nobleman said to him, “Sir, come down before my child dies.” 50 Jesus said to him, “Go your way. Your son lives.” The man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him, and he went his way. 51 As he was now going down, his servants met him and reported, saying “Your child lives!” 52 So he inquired of them the hour when he began to get better. They said therefore to him, “Yesterday at the seventh hour, the fever left him.” 53 So the father knew that it was at that hour in which Jesus said to him, “Your son lives.” He believed, as did his whole house. 54 This is again the second sign that Jesus did, having come out of Judea into Galilee.

Now the nobleman’s son was lying on his deathbed in Capernaum, a town on the shores of the Sea of Galilee, and he encountered Jesus in Cana.  Under the circumstances, we can assume that the nobleman made the 20 mile journey inland specifically to make this appeal to Jesus.  The nobleman would likely have have been prepared to offer his life savings to Jesus if he would come to Capernaum and heal his son.  In Jesus he saw his only hope of saving his son, and he was doing what any loving father would have done under the circumstances.

In this delicate state of mind, the nobleman was about to be shocked, for he was about to learn the difference between hope and faith.  For hope, while poetic, leaves room for doubt. Faith is the opposite of doubt.

For this reason, instead of lovingly agreeing to accompany the man to Capernaum, He rebukes him, “unless you see signs and wonders, you will in no way believe.”  The man, still in a state of shock, as were Jesus disciples, makes a last ditch effort, now with a bit indignation, “Sir, come down before my child dies.”

Jesus then shocks the man, who has moved from hope to indignation, into faith as He replies “Go your way. Your son lives.”  In this moment, through Jesus’ words, the nobleman understood that, if he believed that Jesus had the power to heal his son, it would follow that Jesus could do it without having to be physically present.  The nobleman understood, at this moment, beyond any shadow of a doubt, that Jesus was Lord.

The nobleman then knew Jesus in the same way the centurion in Matthew 8:5-13 knew that Jesus was Lord, through the operation of blind faith.  The difference between the nobleman and the centurion was that Jesus offered to come to the centurion’s house, which was perhaps not coincidentally also in Capernaum, and left it to the centurion to profess his blind faith which was operating to heal his servant.  The nobleman had no such faith to profess, until Jesus shocked him into it.

Where the nobleman needed his blind faith to be awakened, the centurion needed only ask Jesus and it would be done.

May it be said that in Capernaum, the Lord showed us that blind faith is enough.  When faith and obedience are operating together, there is no limit to what can happen.

Stay tuned for the third sign and Trust Jesus.

Stay Fresh!

David Mint

Email: davidminteconomics@gmail.com

Key Indicators for December 12 2012

Copper Price per Lb: $3.69
Oil Price per Barrel:  $86.77
Corn Price per Bushel:  $7.21
10 Yr US Treasury Bond:  1.70%
FED Target Rate:  0.17%  ON AUTOPILOT, THE FED IS DEAD!
Gold Price Per Ounce:  $1,712
MINT Perceived Target Rate*:  0.25%
Unemployment Rate:  7.7%
Inflation Rate (CPI):  0.1%
Dow Jones Industrial Average:  13,245
M1 Monetary Base:  $2,457,800,000,000 LOTS OF DOUGH ON THE STREET!
M2 Monetary Base:  $10,275,200,000,000

The Gospel of John – Jesus’ seven signs

12/6/2012 Portland, Oregon – Pop in your mints…

Today, we shift gears a bit as we prepare for what will be a very important teaching coming up early next year:

The Seven Signs of John

The Gospel of John is unique in that it contains a plethora of dialogue attributed to Jesus, the Son of God, which are generally set apart in Biblical texts by using a red font.  It is rivaled only by the Gospel of Matthew in this respect.

We have previously explored what we consider to be John’s unique trait and compared him to one of the prophets, Isaiah, who shared this personality quirk:  He was eagerly awaiting the Jewish Messiah.

Today, we will begin to explore the material in the Gospel of John that we are to teach.  The seven miracles of Jesus that John chose to include in His Gospel.  The miracles are important, for John wrote the Gospel near the end of his long life, sometime between the years 90 and 100 CE (He is presumed to have died in 100 CE at 94 years of age), almost 70 years after Jesus had walked the earth.

John witnessed many miracles performed by Jesus, as he was with him throughout his earthly ministry, beginning with his (Jesus’) baptism by John the Baptist.  John witnessed so many miracles that he saw fit to state in his Gospel,

20:30 Therefore Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book; 20:31 but these are written, that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in his name.”

So why were these seven signs chosen by John, who perhaps knew Jesus better than anyone while He was walking the earth?  It is the aim of this study to answer this question.

What are the seven signs?

The logical place to start, then, would be to identify the seven signs.  According to most Biblical scholars, yours truly included, the seven signs refer to the following miracles which John chose to relate:

  1. Changing water into wine in John 2:1-11
  2. Healing the royal official’s son in Capernaum in John 4:46-54
  3. Healing the paralytic at Bethesda in John 5:1-18
  4. Feeding the 5000 in John 6:5-14
  5. Jesus’ walk on water in John 6:16-24
  6. Healing the blind at birth in John 9:1-7
  7. Raising of Lazarus in John 11:1-45

From a quick glance at the list, we can see that three of the miracles involve various types of physical healing, two of them involve providing for material needs, and one is a supernatural physical feat.

The final miracle, the resurrection of Jesus’ friend, Lazarus, must stand alone, as it is the astounding and meaningful miracle that has ever been recorded.  It is astounding not only for what took place, but for the fierce reaction which it brought from the religious authorities.

For with this Miracle, Jesus provided an irrefutable proof that He is the Son of God, and it was for this miracle that the religious authorities resolved to kill Him.

But we are getting ahead of ourselves.  As with any great journey, we must begin with the first step.

Changing water into wine:  The first sign

Shortly after Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist, he called his first disciples, Andrew and John (the author).  What is interesting is that Andrew and John actually followed Jesus on John the Baptist’s declarations.  As such, they were not called, rather, they recognized who Jesus was, the long-awaited Messiah, and went after him.

Andrew then went and found his brother, Simon (who Jesus promptly renamed Cephas, or Peter).  The next day, Jesus was determined to go out into Galilee, where he found Phillip, who then went out and found Nathanael.

At this point, we understand that Jesus had five men whom are called  his disciples, yet the only one who he personally sought out was Phillip.

This is important, because it shows that, while Jesus did get up and pursue someone, four of his first five disciples started following him because others saw Jesus and recognized him as the son of God.  Let us not diminish the task that Christians have been given in fulfilling the great commission!

Our teacher, Bettie Mitchell of Good Samaritan Ministries is fond of illustrating this by showing us that while we are looking up to God, crying out for Him to “DO SOMETHING!” God is shouting back down at us “DO SOMETHING!”

It is a profound truth that God does not want subjects, He wants partners!

It is not surprising, then, that Jesus almost never performed a miracle without requiring an action or actions which require the individual to exercise faith.  In fact, in most of the signs, Jesus performs the miracles not as a helicopter parent who is making sure that everything is perfect for everyone, rather, he performs the miracles reluctantly, not because he does not desire a positive outcome, but because he is training those who desire and see in him the possibility of a miracle to walk in faith and courage.

Our first example, then, is when Jesus changes water to wine, a miracle that Jesus openly declares that he does not want to perform:

2:1 The third day, there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there. 2:2 Jesus also was invited, with his disciples, to the marriage. 2:3 When the wine ran out, Jesus’ mother said to him, “They have no wine.”

2:4 Jesus said to her, “Woman, what does that have to do with you and me? My hour has not yet come.”

2:5 His mother said to the servants, “Whatever he says to you, do it.” 2:6 Now there were six water pots of stone set there after the Jews’ way of purifying, containing two or three metretes apiece. 2:7 Jesus said to them, “Fill the water pots with water.” They filled them up to the brim. 2:8 He said to them, “Now draw some out, and take it to the ruler of the feast.” So they took it. 2:9 When the ruler of the feast tasted the water now become wine, and didn’t know where it came from (but the servants who had drawn the water knew), the ruler of the feast called the bridegroom, 2:10 and said to him, “Everyone serves the good wine first, and when the guests have drunk freely, then that which is worse. You have kept the good wine until now!” 2:11 This beginning of his signs Jesus did in Cana of Galilee, and revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him.

Apart from Jesus’ reluctance to intervene and the faith it must have required on the part of the servants to take the water, which had been poured in what today may be been referred to as a kitchen sink or a wash basin, and present it to the master of the feast as wine, there is one other curiosity in this narrative which deserves further consideration.

Joseph and His Brethren Welcomed by Pharaoh, watercolor by James Tissot 1836-1902
The first sign of Jesus, turning the water into wine at the wedding in Cana, has a harrowing parallel to Joseph saving many by providing for grain during the famine in the Near East, circa 1708 BCE
Painting “Joseph and His Brethren Welcomed by Pharaoh”, watercolor by James Tissot 1836-1902

This curiosity consists of the exact words that Mary uses to instruct the servants to listen to Jesus.  While at first they seem trivial, “Whatever he says to you, do it,” we find in them both a simple requirement for the reception of a miracle, as well as an intricate link with the miraculous survival of the Jewish race some 1700 years earlier from a famine in Canaan:

For the words, “What he says to you, do,” are found not only in John 2:5 above, but also in Genesis 41:55.  In Genesis, they are spoken under much different circumstances…or are they?

The phrase that Mary invokes parallel the instructions that Pharaoh gave to all of the Egyptians when they began to cry out to him for grain during the famine in the Near East.  “Go to Joseph, What he says to you, do.”

As we cry out for a miracle, we would do well to pause, listen, and “Do what he says,” for miracles are born out of obedience.

Stay tuned for the second sign and Trust Jesus.

Stay Fresh!

David Mint

Email: davidminteconomics@gmail.com

Key Indicators for December 6 2012

Copper Price per Lb: $3.61
Oil Price per Barrel:  $86.40
Corn Price per Bushel:  $7.48
10 Yr US Treasury Bond:  1.58%
FED Target Rate:  0.16%  ON AUTOPILOT, THE FED IS DEAD!
Gold Price Per Ounce:  $1,700
MINT Perceived Target Rate*:  0.25%
Unemployment Rate:  7.9%
Inflation Rate (CPI):  0.1%
Dow Jones Industrial Average:  13,074
M1 Monetary Base:  $2,457,800,000,000 LOTS OF DOUGH ON THE STREET!
M2 Monetary Base:  $10,275,200,000,000