So [Jesus] came again to Cana in Galilee, where he had made the water wine. And at Capernaum [about 20 miles away] there was an official whose son was ill. John 4:46
The Greek word for a king was basileus. This ‘official’ is described as a basilikos (literally, a little king!), someone who served the king, or we might say, “a member of the royal household.”
This man walked the corridors of power. Some have suggested that this might have been Herod’s household manager, Chuza. In Luke 8:3 we read of “Joanna, the wife of Chuza, Herod’s household manager… who provided for [Jesus and the disciples] out of their means.” Joanna was among the women who went to anoint Jesus’ body with spices and found his empty tomb (see Luke 24:10).
We don’t know if this is the story of Chuza and Joanna, but it is the story of a member of the King’s household who, along with his entire family (see John 4:53), came to believe in Jesus.
So here we have a “little king” who lives a life of privilege. He has his own servants (plural; 4:51), and with all of his responsibility, he is rewarded with a handsome salary.
But this man carried a great burden—his son was ill (4:46). Suffering comes to the rich as well as the poor, and for all his power and wealth, this royal official had not been able to help his own son. Worse than that, his son was at the point of death (4:47).
This is the story of a desperate father and a dying son. This story will resonate with everyone who has ever lost a child.
When have you experienced what this father felt—the fear, pain, or helplessness?