Latter portion of Homily XXXV.
Ver. 46. "So Jesus came again into Cana of Galilee, where He made
the water wine."
The Evangelist reminds the hearer of the miracle to exalt the praise
of the Samaritans. The men of Cana received Him by reason of the miracles
which He had done in Jerusalem and in that place; but not so the Samaritans,
they received Him through His teaching alone.
That He came then "to Cana," the Evangelist has said, but he has not
added the cause why He came.17 Into Galilee He had come because of the
envy of the Jews; but wherefore to Cana? At first He came, being invited
to a marriage; but wherefore now? Methinks to confirm by His presence the
faith which had been implanted by His miracle, and to draw them to Him
the more by coming to them self-invited, by leaving His own country, and
by preferring them.
"And there was a certain nobleman whose son was sick at Capernaum."
Ver. 47. "When he heard that Jesus was come out of Judaea into Galilee,
he went unto Him and besought Him that He would come down and heal his
This person certainly was of royal race, or possessed some dignity from
his office, to which the title "noble" was attached. Some indeed think
that this is the man mentioned by Matthew (Matt. viii. 5), but he is shown
to be a different person, not only from his dignity, but also from his
faith. That other, even when Christ was willing to go to him, entreats
Him to tarry; this one, when He had made no such offer, draws Him to his
house. The one saith, "I am not worthy that Thou shouldest come under my
roof"; but this other even urges18 Him, saying, "Come down ere my son die."
In that instance He came down from the mountain, and entered into Capernaum;
but here, as He came from Samaria, and went not into Capernaum but into
Cana, this person met Him. The servant of the other was possessed by the
palsy, this one's son by a fever.
"And he came and besought Him that He would heal his son: for he was
at the point of death." What saith Christ?
Ver. 48. "Except ye see signs and wonders, ye will not believe."
Yet the very coming and beseeching Him was a mark of faith. And besides,
after this the Evangelist witnesses to him,19 declaring that when Jesus
said, "Go, thy son liveth," he believed His word, and went. What then is
that which He saith here? Either He useth the words as approving of20 the
Samaritans because they believed without signs; or, to touch Capernaum
which was thought to be His own city, and of which this person was. Moreover,
another man in Luke, who says, "Lord, I believe," said besides, "help Thou
mine unbelief."21 And so if this ruler also believed, yet he believed not
entirely or soundly, as is clear from his enquiring "at what hour the fever
left him," since he desired to know whether it did so of its own accord,
or at the bidding of Christ. When therefore he knew that it was "yesterday
at the seventh hour," then "himself believed and his whole house." Seest
thou that he believed when his servants, not when Christ spake? Therefore
He rebuketh the state of mind with which he had come to Him, and spoken
as he did, (thus too He the more drew him on to belief,) because that before
the miracle he had not believed strongly. That he came and entreated was
nothing wonderful, for parents in their great affection are also wont to
resort not only to physicians in whom they have confidence, but also to
talk with those in whom they have no confidence, desiring to omit nothing
whatever.22 Indeed, that he came without any strong purpose23 appears from
this, that when Christ was come into Galilee, then he saw Him, whereas
if he had firmly believed in Him, he would not, when his child was on the
point of death, have hesitated to go into Judaea. Or if he was afraid,
this is not to be endured either.24 Observe how the very words show the
weakness of the man; when he ought, after Christ had rebuked his state
of mind, to have imagined something great concerning Him, even if he did
not so before, listen how he drags along the ground.
Ver. 49. "Sir," he saith, "come down ere my child die."
As though He could not raise him after death, as though He knew not
what state the child was in. It is for this that Christ rebuketh him and
toucheth his conscience, to show that His miracles were wrought principally
for the sake of the soul. For here He healeth the father, sick in mind,
no less than the son, in order to persuade us to give heed to Him, not
by reason of His miracles, but of His teaching. For miracles are not for
the faithful, but for the unbelieving and the grosser sort.
[3.] At that time then, owing to his emotion, the nobleman gave no great
heed to the words, or to those only which related to his son,25 yet he
would afterwards recollect what had been said, and draw from thence the
greatest advantage. As indeed was the case.
But what can be the reason why in the case of the centurion He by a
free offer undertook to come, while here though invited, He goeth not?
Because in the former case faith had been perfected, and therefore He undertook
to go, that we might learn the rightmindedness of the man; but here the
nobleman was imperfect. When therefore he continually26 urged Him, saying,
"Come down," and knew not yet clearly that even when absent He could heal,
He showeth that even this was possible unto Him in order that this man
might gain from Jesus not going, that knowledge which the centurion had
of himself.27 And so when He saith," Except ye see signs and wonders, ye
will not believe," His meaning is, "Ye have not yet the right faith, but
still feel towards Me as towards a Prophet." Therefore to reveal Himself
and to show that he ought to have believed even without miracles, He said
what He said also to Philip, "Believest thou28 that the Father is in Me
and I in the Father?29 Or if not, believe Me for the very works' sake."
(c. xiv. 10, xiv. 11.)
Ver. 51-53. "And as he was now going down, his servants met him,
and told him, saying, Thy son liveth. Then enquired he of them the hour
when he began to amend. And they said unto him, Yesterday at the seventh
hour the fever left him. So the father knew that it was at the same hour
in the which Jesus said unto him, Thy son liveth; and himself believed,
and his whole house."
Seest thou how evident the miracle was? Not simply nor in a common way
was the child freed from danger, but all at once, so that what took place
was seen to be the consequence not of nature, but the working30 of Christ.
For when he had reached the very gates of death, as his father showed by
saying, "Come down ere my child die"; he was all at once freed from the
disease. A fact which roused the servants also, for they perhaps came to
meet their master, not only to bring him the good news, but also deeming
that the coming of Jesus was now superfluous, (for they knew that their
master was gone there,) and so they met him even in the way. The man released
from his fear, thenceforth escaped31 into faith, being desirous to show
that what had been done was the result of his journey, and thenceforth
he is ambitious of appearing not to have exerted himself32 to no purpose;
so he ascertained all things exactly, and "himself believed and his whole
house." For the evidence was after this unquestionable. For they who had
not been present nor had heard Christ speak nor known the time, when they
had heard from their master that such and such was the time, had incontrovertible
demonstration of His power. Wherefore they also believed.
What now are we taught by these things? Not to wait for miracles, nor
to seek pledges of the Power of God. I see many persons even now become
more pious,33 when during the sufferings of a child or the sickness of
a wife they enjoy any comfort, yet they ought even if they obtain it not,
to persist just the same in giving thanks, in glorifying God. Because it
is the part of right-minded servants, and of those who feel such affection34
and love as they ought for their Master, not only when pardoned, but also
when scourged, to run to Him. For these also are effects of the tender
care of God; "Whom the Lord loveth He chasteneth, and scourgeth," it says,
"every son whom He receiveth." (Heb. xii. 6.) When therefore a man serves
Him only in the season of ease, he gives proofs of no great love, and loves
not Christ purely. And why speak I of health, or abundant riches, or poverty,
or disease? Shouldest thou hear of the fiery pit or of any other dreadful
thing, not even so must thou cease from speaking good of thy Master, but
suffer and do all things because of thy love for Him. For this is the part
of right-minded servants and of an unswerving soul; and he who is disposed
after this sort will easily endure the present, and obtain good35 things
to come, and enjoy much confidence in the presence of36 God; which may
it be that we all obtain through the grace and lovingkindness of our Lord
Jesus Christ, to whom with the Father and the Holy Ghost be glory, now
and ever, and world without end. Amen.
1 lit. "brought up with."
2 al. "to be."
3 Ben. "that coming."
5 al. "elected."
6 al. "instituted."
7 i.e. of Redemption. pa=san th9n pragmatei/an sunesth/sato.
8 al. "them," i.e. the Prophets.
9 al. "seeking."
11 e0pi\ diorqw/sei.
12 ms. in Bodl. reads, "and why say I of a lost world?
of a world which was in evils great exceedingly."
13 or, "messengers."
14 al. "suppose."
15 i.e. who had wrought deliverances.
16 ms. in Bodl. "and this is, that `a prophet hath no
honor in his own country. 0' "
17 ms. in Bodl. reads, "and why, saith some one, went
He again to Cana?"
18 al. "brings on."
19 al. "witnesses it."
21 Mark ix. 24 [not found in St. Luke].
22 ms. in Bodl. adds, "of things belonging to carefulness."
23 e0k pare/rgou.
24 i.e. in a true believer.
25 Morel. "'and regarded only what was taking place concerning
26 a@nw kai\ ka/tw.
28 ms. in Bodl. reads, "He said this as (He said) to the
disciples, `Believe, 0' "&c.
29 e0gw\ e\n tw=| Patri\ kai\ o9 Path\r e0n e0moi/. G.
T. and Ben.
32 lit. "been aroused."
34 al. "are stanch."
35 al. "all."
36 al. "from."
John iv. 54; v. 1.-"This is again the second miracle that Jesus did,
when He was come out of Judaea into Galilee. After this there was a feast
of the Jews; and Jesus went up to Jerusalem."
[1.] As in gold mines one skillful in what relates to them would not
endure to overlook even the smallest vein as producing much wealth, so
in the holy Scriptures it is impossible without loss to pass by one jot
or one tittle, we must search into all. For they all are uttered by the
Holy Spirit, and nothing useless is written in them.
Consider, for instance, what the Evangelist in this place saith, "This
is again the second miracle that Jesus did, when He was come out of Judaea
into Galilee." Even the word "second" he has added not without cause, but
to exalt yet more the praise of the Samaritans, by showing that even when
a second miracle had been wrought, they who beheld it had not yet reached
as high as those who had not seen one.