John continues his Gospel with a look at the next two “signs” of Jesus as the Messiah. The first “sign” was in John 2 (see John 2:11) where the water was turned into wine. Now we come to the next two of the “signs.”
Remember that John labels the miracles of Jesus that he reports as “signs,” showing us that he is reporting only those miracles that are needed to make the point. Further, it shows that John knew he had to leave out some events (John 21:25) so his choices were guided by purpose. In modern times, we’d assume that meant he left out parts of the story that didn’t help, but that is far from being certain. Further, what would undo these miracles?
The second sign in John is the healing of an official’s son. Jesus has returned to Cana and the first response is a lament over the people’s demand for more signs. Jesus had already done a sign there, but it wasn’t enough.
A word of caution: let what Jesus has done be enough, rather than demanding more from Him. His grace is sufficient to meet your needs with newness when you truly need it!
The power of Jesus to heal at a distance is seen elsewhere, like the story of the Centurion in Luke 7:1-10. There is no reason to think John didn’t know the difference between a “royal official” and a “centurion,” much less a “son” and a “servant,” so there is no need to compress those two into the same story.
We then get the third sign, the healing at Bethesda. There’s a name that comes back—think about Bethesda Naval Hospital (that is now officially Walter Reed Hospital, after the National Naval and Army Hospitals were merged)—among other uses of the term. There is also some question here about whether the verse explaining the angelic troubling of the waters is original to John or was added later. That’s why a more recent Bible translation will footnote the lines.
John is less concerned with the issue of angels and more on the fact that Jesus healed on the Sabbath. Why? Because that’s what the religious leaders are worked up over! Here stands someone able to heal a paralysis that has lasted almost 4 decades, and they’re stressed about the day of the week.
Do we ever do that?