Lesson 4:
The Need of the Dying—Life’s Healing

Bible reading
You may find it helpful to also read the entire case found in John 4:43-54.

John 4:46b, 49-50
46b …And there was a certain royal official, whose son was sick in Capernaum.
49 The royal official said to Him, Sir, come down before my little child dies.
50 Jesus said to him, Go, your son lives. The man believed the word which Jesus said to him and went his way.


In the Gospel of John, the third case of the dying son of a royal official reveals that the entire human race is in a sick, dying condition. When man sinned, the power of death entered in (Rom. 5:12) to cause a deadened, corrupted condition. Not only our spirit, but also our thoughts, emotions, and will are in a damaged state and need healing. We can receive this healing life by spending time in God’s Word to contact the Lord as the life-giving Spirit who is embodied in the Word. Such a practice supplies, restores, and heals us with the divine life to change our dying condition into life.

Bible study reading
Please prayerfully read through the following portions of ministry related to this lesson. 

This case, the third among the nine, reveals the dying people’s need of healing. This case concerns the son of a royal official who was about to die. Mankind firstly needs regeneration, secondly satisfaction, and thirdly healing…We are all sick and dying people. We are fallen people, weak and fragile, who are dying and who need the Lord’s healing. We have been regenerated and, day by day, we may contact the Lord, the living Spirit, for our satisfaction. In addition to this, we need healing.

Romans 8:11 says, “And if the Spirit of the One who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who indwells you.” If we allow the indwelling Spirit to make His home in our being, this indwelling Spirit will saturate our dying, mortal body with resurrection life. Our mortal body will be enlivened, quickened, and healed with the divine life. Romans 8 reveals that our spirit, soul, and body all may receive the divine life…Whenever the divine life enters into a part of our being, it heals that part. This means that the divine life changes the death of that part of our being into life.

Although the royal official begged the Lord to come down and heal his son (John 4:47, 49), the Lord simply spoke the word, and the boy was healed. “Jesus said to him, Go, your son is living. The man believed the word which Jesus said to him and went his way” (4:50). The royal official believed the word out of the mouth of the Lord. When he learned from his slaves that the boy was living, he and his whole household believed (4:51-53). Hallelujah for the life-giving word! We love the life-giving word, not the word in dead letters, but the word that is the Spirit. The Lord simply spoke the life-giving word, and the dying boy was healed. Today the Lord is still sending forth His healing word. When the dying people receive this word through believing, they are healed with life. Once the life-giving word has been transfused into us, whether or not we are conscious of it, we can never be the same. The life-giving word brings about a real change in our life.

When dying people receive the word through believing and are healed with life, this, in principle, is changing death into life. Death’s deadening power is overcome by life. Praise the Lord for His healing life and for the life-giving word that heals all our sicknesses! (Life-study of John, msg. 13, section 1)

Lesson help

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Going deeper
Please read or listen to these materials for an in-depth study of this lesson.

Further reading:
Life-study of John, msg. 13
Pray-Reading the Word

Radio broadcast link:
Broadcast 19, The Need of the Dying—Life’s Healing
(Click the link above and select Broadcast 19)

Footnotes from Recovery Version of the New Testament:
John 4:50, footnote 1
John 6:63, footnote 3
2 Timothy 3:16, footnote 2
Romans 8:11, footnote 4

Questions for personal or corporate study:
References in parentheses indicate readings or broadcasts that may be helpful in answering the questions.
  • How does the case of the royal official’s dying son illustrate humanity’s dying condition spiritually, psychologically, and physically in the sight of God? (Radio broadcast 19)
  • How is this case in John 4 related to Romans 8:11? (Rom. 8:11, footnote 4)
  • How can the Word of God heal us? Consider your personal experience of being healed by the Word of God.
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Next week

The Need of the Impotent—Life’s Enlivening

The cases in the Gospel of John demonstrate that man has many different needs, and that the life of the Lord Jesus is able to meet all these needs. So far, we have seen that the moral need life’s regenerating, the immoral need life’s satisfying, and the dying need life’s healing. Next week we will go on to see that the impotent, that is, the weak, need life’s enlivening. Not only is man weak, but he also is unable to do anything about his weakness. Only the life of the Lord Jesus can rescue us from our impotence. 

We highly recommend using the printed Life-study messages as a tool to explore this lesson. There are over 1,900 Life-study messages in total, and this amazing resource expands and develops this lesson in greater detail.

View Life-study of the Bible resources on our website
Works Cited

Lee, Witness. Life-study of John. Anaheim: Living Stream Ministry, 1985.

All verses and excerpts © 2021 Living Stream Ministry.
Used by permission. Reproduction is prohibited. 
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