John 4:50 (ESV) … “Jesus said to him, “Go; your son will live.” The man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him and went on his way.”
We must admire this man’s faith. Jesus simply said, “Go thy way; thy son liveth” (John 4:50). And the man believed Jesus and started to return home! Both the Samaritan woman and this anonymous nobleman must have rejoiced the heart of Jesus as they believed the word and acted on it.
The boy was healed the instant Jesus spoke those words; so the man’s servants started out to find him so they could share the good news. (Again, it is the servants who know what is going on. See John 2:9; 15:15.) The boy had been healed at the seventh hour, which, in Roman time, would be 7 o’clock in the evening. The father certainly would not have traveled at night, for that would have been dangerous; nor would the servants have taken that risk. The father’s faith was so strong that he was willing to delay going home, even though his heart yearned to see his beloved son.
When the father and the servants met the next day, their report confirmed his faith. Note that the father thought the healing would be gradual (“began to improve”); but the servants reported a complete, instant recovery.
This man began with crisis faith. He was about to lose his son and he had no other recourse but the Lord Jesus Christ. Many people came to Jesus with their crises, and He did not turn them away. The nobleman’s crisis faith became confident faith: he believed the Word and had peace in his heart. He was even able to delay his trip home, knowing that the boy was out of danger.
His confident faith became confirmed faith. Indeed, the boy had been completely healed! And the healing took place at the very time when Jesus spoke the Word. It was this fact that made a believer out of the nobleman and his household. He believed that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of God; and he shared this faith with his family. He had contagious faith and shared his experience with others.
This is one of several miracles that Jesus performed “at a distance.” He healed the centurion’s servant from a distance (Matt. 8:5–13, and note that he too lived in Capernaum), and He healed the daughter of the Canaanite woman in the same manner (Matt. 15:21–28). These two were Gentiles and, spiritually speaking, were “at a distance” (Eph. 2:12–13). Perhaps this nobleman was also a Gentile. We do not know.