21 – Heals Centurions Son
Where: Between Cana and Capernaum, Galilee
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By Wednesday May 12 John the Baptizer had been arrested and Jesus had finished his second day at Sychar with the Samaritans. Unaware that John had just been arrested, Jesus and his disciples continued their journey. One day to Ibleam (20 miles through the mountains) [today] and one day to Nazareth (20 miles across the Valley of Jezreel) and on to Cana [today] (8 miles over the hills north of Nazareth) where he had been invited to stay at the home of Nathaniel. Jesus arrived on Friday May 14 before the beginning of the Sabbath.
Jesus had decided to begin a preaching tour of Galilee. He would begin in Cana and proclaim the good news there. Then he would journey around Galilee. Jesus was now 32 years old and the spirit of God was pressing him to begin God’s ministry. He would travel to nearby communities and teach in their Synagogues, as well as in open places where people gathered.
Thus Jesus proclaimed the good news on Saturday and Sunday in Cana. The word quickly spread that “the prophet who had done signs and wonders in Jerusalem” was now in Cana. It was even known in Capernaum by Sunday afternoon, where another drama was unfolding.
In Capernaum a doctor had examined the son of a Roman centurion. When the doctor reported to the father that he had done “all that could be done” but that things did not “look well”, all who were there could see the pain in the father’s eyes.
One of the centurions servants had heard about Jesus’ acts done at the Passover, and had just learned that Jesus was currently in Cana of Galilee only a day’s journey away. Because the centurion had treated the Jews justly, even helping with the synagogue, the servant told the centurion about Jesus in order to save the boy’s life.
The centurion decided that it couldn’t hurt to ask Jesus for help, so he sent the servant, and one of the leaders of the synagogue, to ask for help. ‘Best to send his own people’, thought the centurion. And on Monday morning the two left. The servant led the donkey, on which the leader of the synagogue rode.
In the late afternoon the servant and the leader of the synagogue arrived in Cana, and the leader spoke to Jesus on behalf of the centurion. Jesus agreed to travel to Capernaum the next day.
On Tuesday morning, Jesus and others set out on the journey to Capernaum. But meanwhile in Capernaum, the boy had taken a turn for the worse. The centurion believed that his son would not survive long enough for Jesus to walk that far, so he got on his chariot and left for Cana to give Jesus a ride, if necessary, back to Capernaum.
And so it happened that the two met on the road in the early afternoon. When they met, the centurion, believing that his son’s time was very short, asked Jesus not to bother coming all the way to Capernaum. Instead “just give a word of healing”. ‘If Jesus is truly a healer from the Hebrew God’, thought the centurion, ‘then he should be able to drive out the killing spirit from where he stands.’
Jesus was impressed by the willingness of a non-Jew to believe in the power of the spoken “Word of God”, and at about 1 pm, told the centurion that his son would live. The centurion immediately returned to Capernaum while Jesus returned to Cana.
When Jesus arrived in Cana one of the disciples of John the Baptizer had just arrived from Bethany, Perea and brought the news of John’s arrest. Jesus considered the news carefully, and decided that he would now move to Capernaum and really begin his ministry.
As night fell [around 6 pm], and the new day began, the centurion encountered some of his own servants on the road. They had set out walking from Capernaum around 2 or 3 pm in order to find the centurion and tell him that his son had suddenly gotten better. What impressed the centurion most was the report that his son’s fever had broken “the day before” (that is: in the daylight hours just past [in the early afternoon]) around the same time that Jesus had told him that his son would live. Obviously Jesus was the “genuine article”.
Then, on Wednesday morning, Jesus left Cana early and traveled to Capernaum where he would stay and truly begin his ministry.
No questions have been asked yet.