John 4:49 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

John 4:49, NIV: "The royal official said, 'Sir, come down before my child dies.'"

John 4:49, ESV: "The official said to him, “Sir, come down before my child dies.”"

John 4:49, KJV: "The nobleman saith unto him, Sir, come down ere my child die."

John 4:49, NASB: "The royal official *said to Him, 'Sir, come down before my child dies.'"

John 4:49, NLT: "The official pleaded, 'Lord, please come now before my little boy dies.'"

John 4:49, CSB: ""Sir," the official said to him, "come down before my boy dies.""

What does John 4:49 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

It's easy to sympathize with the man's approach to Jesus. As limited people, we often find ourselves only able to focus on one thing at a time. Jesus is making a theological point (John 4:48), but the man is in no condition to debate. His child is nearly dead (John 4:47), so all he can think of is getting Jesus to come back to Capernaum for healing. Jesus' purpose in making these statements is not to dismiss the man's need, but to test his faith.

Biblical "faith" is not simply mental knowledge. It's an act of trust: choosing to rely on those things we do know in spite of the things we don't know. Apparently, this man already had some level of belief—intellectual knowledge—that Jesus could heal his son. This might have been a last, desperate attempt when all other medicine had failed. Clearly, he hopes that Jesus can do something, or he would not have come all the way to Cana. The real question is how much faith the man has in Christ.

In other words, hoping and wishing that Jesus can heal is not the same as faith—trust—that He can heal, or will heal. The next verse will show Jesus putting this challenge to the man directly, and his response.