A good question to think about

In connection to the interaction recorded in John 4:46-54, Allen Webster makes the following observation and follows it up by asking a good question to think about:

Jesus said to him, “Except ye see signs and wonders, ye will not believe” (John 4:48). He reproves him without so much a pleasant greeting or a kind word. He did not say, “Well, I’m sorry about your son” or, “Thanks for coming,” or anything courteous. He surprises the man by seemingly chastening him.

We expect Jesus to use this strong manner to an insincere, hardhearted Pharisee who was trying to catch Him saying something he could use to accuse Him (Matthew 22:15), but not to a hurting father with a son about to die. We would expect Jesus to say what He said to the Centurion, “I will come and heal him” (Matthew 8:7). We are sure that if there ever was a sincere-from-a-tender-heart prayer, it was this man’s humble request. Why, then, did Jesus say this? Was He really trying to push him away?

(When Jesus Healed a Boy He Never Saw, Glad Tidings Publishing, House to House/Heart to Heart Bible Tracts, p. 4-5)

What do you think? What was going on when the King of kings responded this way to a father and royal official with a sick child?