Theis small group Bible study of John 4:43-54 contains commentary, outlines, cross-references, Bible study discussion questions, and applications.  Visit our library of inductive Bible studies for more in depth inductive studies on this and other books of the Bible you can use in your small group.

John 4:43-54 Bible Study Commentary And Discussion Questions


I. Jesus enters Galilee (43-45)
   A. He received more welcome there (44)
   B. They knew Him already (45)
II. Jesus heals the official’s son: second major sign (46-54)
   A. The man approaches Jesus (46-49)
   B. Jesus healed him immediately over a long distance (50)
   C. The man was healed at that very moment (51-54)

Discussion Questions

  • How come so many people in Galilee already knew Jesus?
  • When was the last time Jesus was in Cana?
  • What power did he demonstrate that time?
  • How far was Capernaum from Cana?
  • What does it mean that the man was a “royal official”?
  • What is Jesus’ point in verse 48?
  • Who is referring to by saying “you people”?
  • Do you think people will generally believe if they see signs and wonders?
  • Did the man demonstrate faith?
  • Was his faith lacking in any way?
  • What does this miracle show about Jesus’ power?
  • What does it show about his concern for the individual?
  • Why do you think John recorded this specific miracle?
  • How did the father feel about his son?
  • Why do you think Jesus did this miracle for the man’s son?
  • What lessons can we learn from this?
  • Should we need to see God or His miracles before we believe? Is that reasonable?
  • What is faith? Is faith accepting something when you see proof?


John 4:40 – Jesus stayed in Samaria for two days first.

Matthew 10:34-36 – Jesus didn’t come to bring peace, but a sword.

Matthew 13:57 – A prophet is not without honor except in his own country.

John 2:23-25 – Jesus goes up to the feast and does many signs there.

John 2:1-12 – The last time Jesus was in Cana he turned the water into wine.

Matthew 11:23 – Capernaum (This is where Jesus settled after living in Nazareth. This is where he was questioned about paying taxes, healing the man that they lowered through the roof, healing the centurion’s son from a distance, and talked to his disciples about being a servant) saw a lot of miracles, but will descend to Hades for unbelief.

Luke 18:3-8 – The widow persists in asking the judge again and again for a favor.

Matthew 8:5 – Jesus heals the Centurion’s son across a long distance. Great faith.

1 Corinthians 1:22-23 – The Jews ask for signs and Greeks search for wisdom but Paul preaches Christ crucified.

Acts 16:31-34 – The jailer and his whole household believed.

I. Jesus enters Galilee (43-45)

Verse by Verse Commentary

Jesus spent two days in Samaria. If people are interested in hearing the gospel it seemed like He was willing to share with them. This is also shown because He instructed the disciples normally to leave only if the people rejected (Matthew 10:14).

It is a normal aspect of human nature to take for granted the blessings that they have close to them. A husband will often not value a good wife even though others can see how blessed he is. Instead he may just find fault and criticize. A son may not be thankful for all of the good things that a parent does for him, instead taking them for granted and complaining for the mistakes that they make. In the same way, a prophet is generally not accepted or honored by the people close to him, his own family. A lot of Jesus’ family thought he was loony. The people in his hometown mostly rejected him. This characterized Jesus’ ministry. But if one set of people rejected Him, He went to another. In the end Paul and the other disciples ministered mostly to the Gentiles because the Jews rejected Jesus.

If you are on a beautiful mountain you might not realize how beautiful it is. You may think it is itchy or mosquito infested or something. But if you look at it from a distance you will notice how beautiful the mountain is.

Our family thinks we’re crazy for coming to China to share the gospel. Jeff’s family makes fun of and yells him most of the time when he is back. Moses’ family pressures him to get a job. Daniel and John’s families both want them to get jobs and don’t appreciate the sacrifices they are making. David’s family probably won’t appreciate it either when he shares with them.

John 2:23-25 describes Jesus interaction with the people at the feast. These people were accepting Him because of His miracles. As the verse in John 2 tells, Jesus didn’t entrust Himself to them. Many of these were like the seed on rocky soil. They saw Jesus’ miracles and in excitement turned to Him. But this faith is not a deep one and when the signs stop coming or some difficulties come again they will be quick to forget the signs and turn away from Christ.

Points to remember

  1. Don’t take for granted the blessings you have around you. Remember to thank the people around you for the services they do. Thank God for His blessings. Don’t wait until you lose it to realize how precious it is!

  2. If you try to share the gospel with others or be a good testimony, expect that your family will mistreat and persecute you. This is normal. You will probably be scoffed for it. Jesus experienced the same thing.

II. Jesus heals the official’s son: second major sign (46-54)

1. Verses 46-47

Cana was the location where Jesus attended the wedding and turned the water to wine. There He demonstrated His power over time and the natural elements. This time when He went back to Cana an official came to Him about His son.

This man had a very close relationship to his son. He came all the way from Capernaum (can put in some points on Capernaum from above), which was about 20 miles away. He loved his son, who was about to die, and Jesus was His only chance to have Him healed. It is clear he had pretty strong faith in Jesus. He didn’t come and ask if Jesus was able to heal His son. He wasn’t timid or fearful, but he implored Jesus to go there and heal his son. This was a pretty brave thing to do and he was evidently persistent. In Luke 18:3-8 Jesus tells a story of and commends a widow who persisted in asking a favor from a judge. This official was like that and should also be commended.

While we should have respect and fear for God, we shouldn’t be timid in our requests. Neither should we give up quickly in our prayer requests. Be sure our motives are right, but pray again and again for the things that are important. Don’t give up thinking it is impossible. Ask and you will receive. Knock and the door will be opened. Nothing is too big for God to answer and no one is too hard for God to change. In the past Mom prayed for years for two people that they would be saved. After years it looked like they would never be saved and at different times she stopped praying for them. Right after that each one believed. The lesson is not to stop praying! But that was a reminder to her to keep praying because God can change anyone! If you are praying for a family member or friend or another kind of request, don’t stop! Keep persisting day after day.

Points to remember

  1. The official was persistent. He didn’t give up asking Jesus to help him, but “implored” Jesus.

  2. He also had strong faith, traveling a long way to meet Jesus and ask for His help. He had to leave his son’s death bed to do it. It certainly would have been easier to stay at home and do nothing.

2. Verse 48

The man definitely had some faith or he would not have gone from Capernaum to Cana to meet Jesus. But his faith was not enough. He wanted Jesus to physically go there and he wanted to physically meet Jesus. He wanted to see it and perhaps couldn’t imagine that Jesus could do it at a distance. But Jesus is not only talking to this man; He is talking to all of the Jews there (He is using the plural number, which he never does when talking only to an individual.). They had this problem of just wanting to see signs. In 1 Corinthians 1:22-23 we see that the Jews really wanted many signs. So Jesus reprimanded them for their general lack of faith. In Hebrews 1:1 we learn that faith is the “assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” The Jews, like many people today, wanted proof. They wanted to see signs. These signs gave them temporary faith, but they had no real root. If you trust in signs how will you respond when you see trials instead? Can we be stable just trusting in signs? Here their excuse for not believing was not enough signs. It doesn’t mean they would necessarily believe if they saw the signs of Jesus, which we can see in other places did not cause them to believe firmly.

There are several problems with those just looking for signs.

  1. They tend to look for what they deem are supernatural signs, but skip a lot of equally amazing signs like Creation. They are setting themselves up as a judge to decide what is a sign and what isn’t.

  2. Signs will not normally convince them anyway. They will explain them away. Therefore they just use their perceived lack of signs as an excuse to not believe.

  3. Satan can also perform signs 2 Thessalonians 2:9. He is an angel of light.

  4. These people will be likely to turn away from God as soon as the sign disappears from view. Their root is not deep and they don’t have strong faith.

We need to be wary of all of these problems. Do not rely on signs. Have faith in God and in His Word. If you do see signs compare them with Scripture to see if they are true. Don’t let your faith be rooted in emotion. Also, do not think God has left you when we face trials. Trials will come to the believer. Expect them and persevere through them.

Points to remember

  1. People want visible signs and proofs, but will probably not believe them anyway.

  2. Have firm faith in God. True faith perseveres, but doesn’t demand God to give you some proof of His care. True faith can see signs of God anywhere, even in the middle of trials.

3. Verses 49-50

The man continued to ask Jesus to go heal his son. He didn’t give up easily. Jesus showed His authority and power by saying, “Go; your son lives.” In Jesus’ last miracle there He demonstrated His power of time and the elements. In this one He demonstrates His power of distance and disease. Both of these show His divine attributes. He is omnipresent and omniscient. Jesus says this with amazing authority! He doesn’t promise to pray or ask the Father and see what He can do. He doesn’t say He will go with the man and do it or that He thinks the man will take a turn for the better. But boom! Just like that, the man was healed and Jesus was confident about it. This also shows that Jesus wasn’t just an advanced or amazing physician for his day and knew of a lot of natural and normal cures. He healed this man without ever physically seeing him, diagnosing him, prescribing medicine, or doing surgery. That is divine. No one can do that except for God.

Remember that the overall purpose of John is to show us who Jesus is so that we can know we have eternal life through Him. This miracle really shows to us who Jesus is, His divine character. Also, it fits right in line with Jesus’ ministry philosophy. He didn’t desire recognition or attention. There wasn’t any hoopla. This miracle was almost done in secret. It was done for an individual, not a group. Jesus had a heart of compassion and cared for the individual.

To the man’s credit, he didn’t question Jesus at all. He didn’t ask, “how can you heal from so far away?” or “can you give me some sign so I will know for sure?” He simply believed. That faith is quite strong. He believed Jesus could heal over a distance without ever seeing the patient.

Points to remember

  1. Jesus clearly shows His divine nature. He has the power of distance and disease. He is watching everything you are doing. Also He can reach His hand into your life whenever He wants to help you with anything great or small. Do not think God is far away. He is close by and cares about you. He is involved in the world.

  2. No disease is too difficult for God to cure. Sometimes in our mind we think sure God can do anything, but then we resign ourselves to the fact that there is no hope and some especially terrible diseases cannot be cured, even by God. God can do it! Believe Him!

  3. Trust in God for anything! Have strong and simple faith that God is able to do what He promises, even if it seems impossible to us.

4. Verses 51-54

Sure enough. Jesus’ word was confirmed. The son was healed at the exact time Jesus said. We know that the man already believed his son would be healed, so what is this belief? This belief is probably one of trust in Jesus as Savior/Messiah. Before the official believed Jesus could do signs and healings. Now this sign convinced him that Jesus was the Messiah. One “leap of faith” will spawn another. We will not smash our mouth when we leap, but instead will fly by God’s grace. Notice that this man already believed before the sign. His faith was just strengthened afterwards so that he accepted Christ as the Messiah. Again, if someone doesn’t believe before a sign, he probably won’t believe after it. But if we believe before a sign our faith will be confirmed even more.

When one believes in a household very often more follow, especially in that time of very tightly knit families with a strong head as the leader. Mom was about the first in her family to believe in Christ and since that time one after another after another has believed. Each person is still responsible for their own relationship with God, but a family that believes has a strong influence. Also we see from this that sickness can be part of God’s plan for good. This sickness gave the entire family opportunity to hear the gospel and believe.

Main Points –

  1. Do not expect that those around you will appreciate you for sharing the gospel or other acts of service. More likely they will complain about your mistakes. Do it because it is right, not because you will be honored. And from the others side, appreciate those close to you and their service. Don’t take them for granted. Don’t take God or His blessings for granted either.

  2. Persevere in your prayer life. Do not offer up one or two quick and feeble prayers and then give up because God is too far away or will never answer you. Keep knocking on the door and imploring Him to answer like the widow with the judge. God has power over time, distance, disease, and everything else. He does have the power to help you.

  3. Have strong faith and do not rely on signs or amazing emotional ups. Satan can work wonders too so don’t just automatically assume everything amazing you see is from God. Evaluate by God’s Word. The Bible is the standard, not amazing signs or works! Do not fall into the mindset that God needs to prove Himself to you. He is present even in the midst of trials so have a deep root in Him.

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