THE NOBLEMAN'S BOY
by Jesse Lyman Hurlbut
AFTER STAYING two days in Sychar, the village near Jacob's well, Jesus and his disciples went on their way northward to the land of Galilee. They walked across the great plain where so many battles had been fought in the old times, and climbed the mountains beyond it. Nazareth, where Jesus had lived for so many years, was on his way, but Jesus did not at this time stop there, for he had in his mind to visit it a few weeks later. With his followers, Jesus came for the second time to Cana, the place where a few months before he had turned the water into wine.
When Jesus was at Cana at his first visit, very few people had heard his name. But now everybody was talking about him, for all the people who had come home from the Feast of the Passover told their friends and neighbors of the wonderful young Prophet who had been preaching in Jerusalem, and had driven the men buying and selling out of the Temple, and had wrought wonders in curing the sick.
About twenty miles from Cana was the city of Capernaum, on the shore of the Sea of Galilee. At Capernaum was living a man of high rank, an official of King Herod Antipas. This nobleman was in deep trouble, for his son was very ill with a great fever and lying at the point of death. The news that Jesus was again in Galilee, and only twenty miles away, brought to the nobleman a hope that perhaps this Prophet might be willing to come down from Cana to Capernaum and cure his son.
At once he made up his mind to go to Jesus and ask him to come and help him. It was a hard journey from Capernaum to Cana, twenty miles of mountain climbing; but this anxious father started very early in the morning, and came to Cana at about one o'clock in the afternoon. He found Jesus, told him how ill his son was, and begged him to come to Capernaum and cure him. Jesus did not seem very willing to go. He said to the nobleman:
"Unless you people are always seeing me do wonderful works you will not believe in me."
"Oh, sir," pleaded the troubled father, "do come down quickly or my son will die!"
"There is no need for me to come," said Jesus. "You may go home, for your son will live and will get well."
These words would make a heavy trial to this man's faith in Jesus. For how could he know that his son would be well, without any sign given him by Jesus? And how could he understand that Jesus by a word could cure someone who he had not seen and who was twenty miles away? But the father at once believed the promise of Jesus. He did not even hurry home to see if his boy was cured, but waited until evening before starting upon his journey.
The next day, as he was nearing home, his servants met him with the glad news:
"Your son is living and is very much better."
"At what time," said the nobleman, "did he begin to improve?"
"It was yesterday," they told him, "at about one o'clock when the fever left him."
The man was not surprised, for it was just as he had expected. That hour, one o'clock, was the very time that Jesus had said to him, "Your son will live."
This miracle, or work of wonder, was much talked about and led not only this nobleman, but all his family with him, to believe that Jesus was the Saviour and the King of Israel who had been promised so long.