On Interpreting Signs from God


August 26, 2020

John 4:46-54 (NIV)

Once more he visited Cana in Galilee, where he had turned the water into wine. And there was a certain royal official whose son lay sick at Capernaum. When this man heard that Jesus had arrived in Galilee from Judea, he went to him and begged him to come and heal his son, who was close to death.

“Unless you people see signs and wonders,” Jesus told him, “you will never believe.”

The royal official said, “Sir, come down before my child dies.”

“Go,” Jesus replied, “your son will live.”

The man took Jesus at his word and departed. While he was still on the way, his servants met him with the news that his boy was living. When he inquired as to the time when his son got better, they said to him, “Yesterday, at one in the afternoon, the fever left him.”

Then the father realized that this was the exact time at which Jesus had said to him, “Your son will live.” So he and his whole household believed.

This was the second sign Jesus performed after coming from Judea to Galilee.


As we get started today I want to revisit rule #1 of the Daily Text. Don’t skip the text. What I write for your consideration is to the text as tin is to gold. This whole thing is about the Word of God, so please always read it with care.

I’ve seen something in today’s text all at once ordinary and exceptional and it’s something I’ve never noticed before. It is verse 50:

The man took Jesus at his word and departed. 

The man took Jesus at his word. Now the piercing question: Do we take Jesus at his word? Or do we need to see a sign or wonder in order to truly believe?

“Unless you people see signs and wonders,” Jesus told him, “you will never believe.”

This Father wanted Jesus to go with him to heal his son who was on the precipice of death. Instead, Jesus does the greater miracle of a distance healing while requiring greater faith of the boy’s father.

This is more than an isolated miracle. This healing of the Roman official’s son, like the water into wine, rises to the level of a sign. I think of a sign as a miracle on steroids. There’s more here than meets the eye. A sign opens up an endless well of revelation. On the one hand, it cannot be pinned down to one meaning; on the other, it can’t mean whatever we want it to mean. A sign is a demonstration that never stops demonstrating. A sign beckons us to take off our shoes and recognize we are standing on holy ground. In the presence of a sign we bow and behold, and ask Jesus, through the Holy Spirit, to reveal and even particularize his meaning to us. The operative word is not dissect, but discover. This is not science. It’s mystery.

Rather than me speculating about the meaning of this sign, how about we do what I am suggesting and get on our knees before Jesus, the God of this mysterious sign, and ask him to reveal himself and his meaning to us?


Abba Father, thank you for your Son, Jesus, who not only performs signs but charges them with inexhaustible mystery and meaning. Come, Holy Spirit, and interpret to us this sign of the healing of the Roman official’s son. We confess our tendency and posture is too often that of trying to master meaning. Teach us to bow before the mystery and behold your majesty in a way we’ve not seen before. We pray in Jesus’ name, amen.


1. Will you do this—find a posture of humility and ask Jesus to reveal and interpret this sign to you?

2. How do you react to this description I am offering as to nature of a sign?

3. If the Holy Spirit shows you something, and you believe it is for more than just yourself, would you consider sharing it?

TODAY, and every Wednesday at noon central time, we gather on a global Zoom call to sow together for a great awakening in prayer. It is powerful. Would you join us today? ZOOM LINK HERE. 

For the Awakening,
J.D. Walt

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Comments and Discussion

One Response

  1. The faith of the Roman soldier gave way to the Master of time and space. That Jesus healed the man’s son from afar demonstrates that he is powerful above our notion of the need for right-here-right-now experiences of him. The Roman soldier wanted Jesus to come with him. We gather and have faith that his presence is among us. He summons our faith and then directs and acts outside of the boundaries of time and distance or physical space. We have longed each year to gather for the New Room Conference, a specific time and a localized place. It has become a pilgrimage for most of us, but cannot hold what God is doing because of the limitations of logistics, time and physical space. He is Master of time and space and acts in another dimension. Our faith to pray and approach him for what we desire, a great awakening, will give way to the faith to take him at his word. The weight of his glory and love is not contained in time and space, or by our hands on the gates that release God’s love and presence. New Room can become New Rooms of an infinite measure.

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