Short Meditations in John 4: 52. Signs
Jn 4:54 This was the second miraculous sign that Jesus performed, having come from Judea to Galilee
And so to conclude this incident, John summarises it as the second of the signs that Jesus performed in Cana in Galilee. It wasn’t only the second healing miracle because the turning the water in wine had been “the first of his miraculous signs, Jesus performed at Cana in Galilee,” (Jn 2:11) but “while he was in Jerusalem at the Passover Feast, many people saw the miraculous signs he was doing and believed in his name.” (Jn 2:23), so yes, he had done many more healings in Jerusalem but as far as Galilee was concerned this was still the early days of his ministry.
So again, why does John refer to Jesus’ miracles as signs? The answer has got to be because the whole of his Gospel is given over to revealing Jesus as the Son of God and these miracles act as signs pointing to that truth. Indeed John makes that very clear in his closing chapters: “Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.” (Jn 20:30,31)
You cannot be more clear than that. Probably for some fifty years or more after Jesus’ ascension John has pondered on all the wonderful things he saw and heard in those three wonderful years with Jesus. Now in old age, as people do in old age, he reflects back to those many years ago which stand out so clearly in his memory and he realises that as good as the other three Gospels had been in laying out the basics of what had happened, they had been just that, factual records picking up on the main things Jesus did or said, but they had not taken in and appreciated the wonder of some of the things he said. This is why John’s Gospel focuses far more on great truths, the greatest of which is the number of ways that Jesus revealed himself to his disciples and to the world.
This was The Son of God but such had been the enormity of what the disciples had seen, that in those early decades, it seems, they had been almost overwhelmed by those staggering healings and the mind jolting events culminating in Jesus ascending back to heaven, that that was all they could think about. They had not had the reflective years that John had now had to ponder on what Jesus had been saying about himself and what was the significance of all of these miracles. Thus again and again John uses this word, ‘signs’ to add that significance. All of these things pointed out this one great truth – the glorious Son of God, who had come down from heaven was in their midst! Hallelujah!