Story 33: The Messiah’s Preaching in Galilee Begins: Will the People Hear His Call?

John 4:45-54

Roman soldier on horseback

The Samaritan woman…steeped in sin…saw Jesus for who He was and was transformed along with her whole town. A Roman Official comes to Jesus and finds his son completely healed. They both saw their desperate need and invited His work in their lives. Would the people of Israel recognize Him, too? The beauty of what He did and said was amazing…but He is still at work today. As He calls upon each one of us to respond to Him for salvation and transformation, will we recognize His voice? Will we respond to His transforming love?

As the Lord travelled to Galilee to begin His ministry there, He stopped for several days in Samaria. The people there had responded to His message of freedom and transformation with great faithfulness. Then the Lord journeyed to Cana. This was the town where the Lord had turned water into wine at the wedding feast. It was His first miracle, proclaiming that the bridegroom of Israel had come!

News about Christ had begun to spread all around the region. Everyone was watching for His next move. They knew He was coming north from Judea, and that He could be arriving in Galilee any day. As He arrived, He received a warm welcome. The people of Galilee had been in Jerusalem for the Passover feast. Many of them had heard His teaching and seen His miracles, and some of them had probably been healed. Some of them were probably there when He turned over the tables of the moneychangers in the Temple. Whoever this Jesus was, He was powerful, and He was dynamic. What was he going to do next?

The people of Galilee were fascinated with this man named Jesus, but it wasn’t for His words of truth. Their hearts were not hungering after God or His will. They wanted to see miracles. They wanted a genie who could grant them wishes.   They wanted a victorious warrior who could heal hundreds of years of Israel’s wounded national pride. They didn’t welcome Him by faith like the Samaritans. The Galileans didn’t want a true prophet. They were looking for a miracle worker. They wanted someone that would amaze and entertain them. There were some in Galilee whose hearts were ready. Would the rest of them embrace their Savior for the reason He had come?

As Jesus arrived in Cana, a man came to Him with the greatest need of his life. He was a royal Roman official living in Galilee and his son was dangerously sick. His home was in the seaside village of Capernaum. His child lay there at the point of death. How desperate he must have felt! How powerless! But he had heard of this man Jesus who had special power to heal, and so he searched Him out. When he found Christ, he began to beg him.

The royal official pleaded, “‘Sir, come down before my child dies.’”

Jesus looked at the him and said, “‘You may go. Your son will live.’”

The man had faith in what Jesus said, so he headed home. It was a long way back to Capernaum. Can you imagine his thoughts as he went along? He was still on his journey the next day when his servants found him on the road. They had come with wonderful news. The boy was alive!

The man asked them what time the boy was healed. They said, “‘The fever left him yesterday at the seventh hour.’” That is one o’clock in the afternoon. The man thought about it and realized, that was the exact same time Jesus had said, “‘Your son will live.’” God used the timing of the healing to prove that this was truly a miracle of Christ!

Can you imagine how excited the official was to get home? Imagine the happiness of his whole family and the massive hug he must have given his boy! Imagine how they must have all talked about this traveling preacher who could speak healing from miles and miles away. Everyone in the official’s household listened to the amazing story of what happened and believed in Jesus.

Christ stayed in the region for some time after this. As He began to preach, He went into the Jewish synagogues and proclaimed the Good News to the people there. These synagogues were the place where Jews came to worship on the Sabbath. They were kind of like church. The synagogues had been set up by the Pharisees to train the Jewish people in the Word of God. Respected Jewish men would stand up and read from the sacred scrolls of the Old Testament, and faithful Jews would sit and listen to the Words of their Lord.

Now the Lord had come, and His first business was to go to the children of God and explain that a great shift had taken place in history. A New Era had come, and their hearts needed to be ready. The day of salvation had arrived! The prophecies of the Old Testament were coming true right in front of them! Would they believe?

As we read about this time of His life, we will hear stories of His glorious miracles. They will tell of amazing healings. They will explain the authority of Christ over the demonic forces that tormented the people of His time. And there will be amazing tales about His mighty power over nature. All of these things proclaimed that Jesus was the One the people were waiting for! He had come in the power of the Living God. We will also listen in on the words He preached. Different people in these stories will respond to Jesus in very different ways. At first, the Galileans were pleased with Jesus. They wanted signs and miracles and were thrilled to see His power. But will they put their faith in Him? As we read about Him, we are being given a chance to put our hope in Jesus as well. How will we respond to the Savior of the world?

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