Except Ye See Signs and Wonders, Ye Will not Believe
John 4:46-54
So Jesus came again into Cana of Galilee, where he made the water wine. And there was a certain nobleman…

Let us dismiss the idea that these words had any special reference to the courtier, and let us regard them as an exclamation wrung from Jesus by a deep feeling in His own mind, in which He apostrophized the whole multitude of His countrymen. The courtier's urgent request was not the cause, but the occasion, of the exclamation —

I. No doubt OUR LORD MEANT TO COMPLAIN OF SOMETHING WHICH SADDENED AND VEXED HIM; and that something was the necessity of doing miracles in order to attract the children of men, and to keep them when attracted. If we ask why He disliked the necessity of doing signs and wonders, the answer is twofold.

1. Because the character which He gained by such means was in great measure hateful to Him. He was looked upon by very many as a very successful magician or conjurer. Was it not odious to have everybody talking about Him, running after Him, asking Him to do a miracle to gratify their curiosity, saying that He did miracles by the power of Satan?

2. Signs and wonders are in themselves useless, if not objectionable. All interferences with the course of nature are undesirable in themselves. God has made the outward order of things to suit the general character and needs given. The sorrows of life are just as needful for us as its joys; its poverty is as whole- some as its wealth; death is quite as good a friend as life. Nothing could be more disastrous than that the common balance of joy and grief, of life and death, should be seriously disarranged. Christ did not come to do "miracles"; He did not come to thwart and undo the work of suffering, disease, and death; He came to bless and sanctify their work; not to change the ordinary conditions of human life, but to help us to live better, holier, happier, under those conditions. It was a mistake then, but not His mistake. It was the mistake of the people. They would come to Him, and beg Him to do this or that outward thing for them, and pray Him so earnestly, so humbly, so trustfully, that He could not help Himself — having the power, He had not the heart to refuse.

II. I can only see one valid objection to this position, viz., THAT GOD WOULD NOT HAVE GIVEN HIS SERVANT THESE GIFTS HAD THEY BEEN SO LITTLE GOOD IN THEMSELVES. But God has ever, in the whole process of revelation, accommodated Himself to the moral and spiritual condition of His people at the time being. That Christ should do signs and wonders in the age and in the land in which He appeared was inevitable because it was necessary to place Him in strict harmony with His spiritual surroundings. Miracles have practically ceased long ago, not because the Lord's arm is shortened, but because the faith and piety of Christians have outgrown the craving for miracles, while a larger knowledge has led men to doubt their usefulness. Did not our Lord possess that larger knowledge? Did He not desire to find that higher faith and piety?

(R. Winterbotham, M. A.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: So Jesus came again into Cana of Galilee, where he made the water wine. And there was a certain nobleman, whose son was sick at Capernaum.

WEB: Jesus came therefore again to Cana of Galilee, where he made the water into wine. There was a certain nobleman whose son was sick at Capernaum.

Domestic Affliction a Messenger of God
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