43 When the two days were over, he went from that place to Galilee 44(for Jesus himself had testified that a prophet has no honor in the prophet’s own country). 45When he came to Galilee, the Galileans welcomed him, since they had seen all that he had done in Jerusalem at the festival; for they too had gone to the festival.
46 Then he came again to Cana in Galilee where he had changed the water into wine. Now there was a royal official whose son lay ill in Capernaum. 47When he heard that Jesus had come from Judea to Galilee, he went and begged him to come down and heal his son, for he was at the point of death. 48Then Jesus said to him, ‘Unless you* see signs and wonders you will not believe.’ 49The official said to him, ‘Sir, come down before my little boy dies.’ 50Jesus said to him, ‘Go; your son will live.’ The man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him and started on his way. 51As he was going down, his slaves met him and told him that his child was alive. 52So he asked them the hour when he began to recover, and they said to him, ‘Yesterday at one in the afternoon the fever left him.’ 53The father realized that this was the hour when Jesus had said to him, ‘Your son will live.’ So he himself believed, along with his whole household. 54Now this was the second sign that Jesus did after coming from Judea to Galilee.
We have seen by now that John transitions by the movements of Jesus and the disciples – now they go to Galilee, where Nazareth, Jesus’ home town is located, and where he previously had “no honor”. Now, however, the Galileans had also been to Jerusalem and had seen Jesus’ actions and welcome him. And so, they come back to the little village of Cana.
There was an official there whose son was very ill, even near death, in Capernaum. He came to Jesus, begging him to come to Capernaum to heal his son. Jesus says to him, “Unless you see signs and wonders you will not believe”, but the man replies to him, “Sir, come down before my little boy dies.” The man does believe – he is certain that Jesus can heal his son. Jesus said, “Go, your son will live.” And because the man believed Jesus, he turned and started immediately for home. He was met on the way by servants who told him the child lived. When he asked them when he began to get better, it was the very time when Jesus had said to him, “Your son will live.” And he and all his household believed in Jesus, the giver of life. In Jesus not only did the son live, but the entire household found life and hope.
John says this was the second sign that Jesus did after coming from Judea to Galilee. The first sign in Cana was the changing of water to wine at the wedding; this healing sign comes after Jesus and the disciples had gone to Judea and returned by way of Samaria. We know that he performed miracles not enumerated in Jerusalem, for many believed because of them. But John enumerates specific miracles, or “signs”, that lead to people understanding who Jesus is. In witnessing the sign at the wedding, the disciples believed; now, in witnessing Jesus’ life-giving miracle, the official and his entire household come to understand who Jesus is, and to believe in him.
John is bearing witness to his community, and to us, his readers, so that we also might believe. He gives only a few “signs” but they are those that bring people to believe. He carefully selects those events of Jesus’ life and ministry which he tells, that he might help his community come to that understanding. Jesus is the Messiah, or Christ, the Son-of-God. There is never a wondering who he is in John, only a leading of those who do not yet know to that understanding.