I am new to Christianity, but I have read the Gospel of John and have watched a movie about Jesus. Was the Pilate in John 18:28 the same man whose son Jesus healed in John 4:46?


No. The Pilate of John 18:28 was the Roman procurator of Judea in Jesus' day. Pilate was the civil authority who thought he had the power to turn Jesus over to the Jews to be crucified. A procurator was any of various imperial officials with fiscal or administrative powers. The equivalent today might be a governor.

Regarding the "nobleman" in John 4:46-54, from the NET Notes comes the following:

Although βασιλικός (basiliko) has often been translated “nobleman” it almost certainly refers here to a servant of Herod [Antipas], tetrarch of Galilee (who in the NT is called a king, Matt 14:9, Mark 6:14-29). Capernaum [the town where the sick son was] was a border town, so doubtless there were many administrative officials in residence there [, and this unnamed nobleman was one of them.]

Jesus healed this man's son "long distance," so to speak, because He knew this nobleman had the faith to believe Jesus would do as He said He would. There was no need for Jesus to leave what He was doing and walk about 20 miles or so from where He was (viz., Cana) to Capernaum, where the sick boy was.

In our day, Pilate would be the equivalent of the governor of, say, Pennsylvania. The nobleman would be the equivalent of the Director of the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue and Taxation; in other words, a high-level bureaucrat.

If on the other hand the nobleman was a military man (and this is a distinct possibility), he would be, approximately, the equivalent of a lieutenant, major, or even a colonel, whereas Pilate would be a general.

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    Judging from the parallels of Matt 8:5-13, Luke 7:1-10, John 4:46-54, I would think the nobleman was the same as the Centurion. – david brainerd Apr 10 '14 at 3:50
  • @davidbrainerd: To be honest, I hadn't even thought of going to a harmony of the gospels (e.g., Orville E. Daniel's, "A Harmony of the Four Gospels NIV," Baker Book House, 1987, 1989). Guess I didn't exercise "due diligence." I must say, though, that the passages you cite may not be parallel. After all, the Matthew account says "When Jesus had entered Capernaum," whereas the John 4 account says the nobleman approached Jesus in Cana, about 20 miles or so from Capernaum. What do you think? – rhetorician Apr 10 '14 at 18:28
  • The gospel writers often place the same event in a different setting or have slightly different dialogue. Matthew and Luke are certainly parallel here, but in Matthew the man approaches Jesus himself and in Luke the man sends a delegation of Pharisees to Jesus. I think the gospel writers are working off of traditions and don't always get every detail exactly perfect. – david brainerd Apr 11 '14 at 7:45
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    Note that, while parallels are certainly possible between Matthew, Mark and Luke (known as the synoptic gospels for this reason) parallels with John are much harder to assert. – lonesomeday Apr 11 '14 at 11:13
  • @davidbrainerd: Re the synoptics not getting every detail exactly perfect: Being an inerrantist, I've learned to give Scripture the benefit of the doubt, figuring the jury is still out. Apparent discrepancies often become clearer through additional thought, study, and even enlightenment by the Holy Spirit. Allowing for inaccuracies and mistakes in God's word can become a slippery slope to compromise, rationalization, and unbelief. Moreover, many apparent contradictions have sorted themselves out with new archeological discoveries. My watchwords, therefore, are patience, faith, and trust. – rhetorician Apr 11 '14 at 13:35

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