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Chapter 12. The Healing of the Paralytic I.
"And again He entered into Capernaum after some days; and it was noised that He was in the house. And straightway many were gathered together, insomuch that there was no room to receive them, no, not so much as about the door: and He preached the word unto them. And they come unto Him, bringing one sick of the palsy, which was borne of four. And when they could not come nigh unto Him for the press, they uncovered the roof where He was: and when they had broken it up, they let down the bed wherein the sick of the palsy lay. When Jesus saw their faith, He said unto the sick of the palsy, Son, thy sins be forgiven thee." Mark 2:1-5.
The Four Friends.
It is a striking thing that in this story of the healing of the paralytic the sufferer himself plays a very small part It would, perhaps, scarcely be true to say he was entirely passive; for Christ could not have spoken to him as He did had there not been some kind of faith and wistful longing in his soul. At the same time, it is quite obvious that the main interest of the story gathers, not around the paralytic, but around his four friends and our blessed Lord. The story is so replete with points that claim our notice, that, we had better, in this chapter, confine ourselves to a study of the four friends and their action.
1. What true and genuine friends these men were! Theirs was no fair-weather friendship. They stood by their friend in his hour of need and deep distress. That is the badge and sign of a true friendship it bears the strain of misfortune and reverse. "I call you not servants... but... friends," said Jesus to His disciples (John 15:15). And in another verse we find the reason why our Lord bestowed this honourable title upon them. "Ye are they," He said, "which have continued with Me in My temptations" (Luke 22:28).
At the commencement of His career Christ had multitudes of admirers and followers. But as trials came thronging in, and as opposition deepened, these people turned their backs upon Him and deserted Him in shoals. But amid the wholesale desertion of the crowds the apostles remained staunch and true; and their loyalty to their Master in His day of trouble proved the genuineness of their friendship. For it was just on the eve of the Cross and Passion that Christ gave them that honourable name. "Ye are they which have continued with Me in My temptations. No longer do I call you servants, but I have called you friends." And these four men had the same claim to that honourable title. They continued with their friend in the time of his trouble and distress.
Notice, too, how they fulfilled the highest office of friendship. They had heard of Christ's power, and they determined they would carry their friend to Him. They were ready to do anything to bring back health and vigour to his wasted and stricken frame. And that is again a mark of a genuine friendship it always seeks the good of the loved one. It is always plotting and scheming for the well-being of the friend. That was how John Robinson, the beloved pastor of the Pilgrim Fathers, was described by one of his flock. "He ever sought our good, both body and soul." That was a true friendship.
And as man's good, both body and soul, is best secured by union with Christ, this follows, that the highest office of friendship is to do what these four men did, bring the friend to Jesus. When Andrew found Messiah, he hurried off to seek his brother Simon. "He brought him unto Jesus." What a friend he was to his brother that day! "Philip findeth Nathanael, and saith unto him, we have found Him" (John 1:45, R. V.). What a friend Philip was to Nathanael that day! Are we friends of that type?
Their Faith Undaunted by Difficulties.
2. What magnificent faith these friends had! It was faith that was not daunted by difficulties. It was not an easy task to bring their friend to Jesus, but they persevered, in spite of all obstacles, and their faith won the blessing. "Jesus seeing their faith saith unto the sick of the palsy, Son, thy sins are forgiven." (ii. 5, R.V.). There are difficulties still in the way of bringing friends to Christ. The crowd of engagements and cares and pleasures, and the opposition of so-called society, they are all hindrances in the way but a true faith perseveres. Monica wept and entreated and prayed for years, but at last she saw Augustine her son at the Saviour's feet. "In due season we shall reap, if we faint not" (Galatians 6:9.)
Exerted for Another.
Theirs was a vicarious faith. "Jesus seeing their faith saith unto the sick of the palsy, Thy sins are forgiven." He blessed the sick man for the faith of the four devoted friends. We often talk of vicarious sacrifice. But here is vicarious faith! That people receive large and rich blessing on account of the faith of others, is not theory, but fact. The Bible is full of it. For the sake of ten righteous men God would have spared Sodom. The Lord blessed the house of Potiphar for Joseph's sake. God saved the whole ship-load of people because His servant Paul was on board. And so still, God blesses the world for the sake of His faithful servants who are in it. He blesses the house for the sake of a saintly mother. He blesses this man and that for the sake of a godly friend, just as He forgives and saves the world for the sake of a Holy Christ.
Here is encouragement to make our faith a real help to others. Are we doing this?
Chapter 13. The Healing of the Paralytic II
"When Jesus saw their faith, He said unto the sick of the palsy, Son, thy sins be forgiven thee. But there were certain of the scribes sitting there, and reasoning in their hearts, Why doth this man thus speak blasphemies? who can forgive sins but God only? And immediately when Jesus perceived in His spirit that they so reasoned within themselves, He said unto them, Why reason ye these things in your hearts? Whether is it easier to say to the sick of the palsy, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and take up thy bed, and walk? But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (He saith to the sick of the palsy), I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy bed, and go thy way into thine house. And immediately he arose, took up the bed, and went forth before them all; insomuch that they were all amazed, and glorified God, saying, We never saw it on this fashion." Mark 2:5-12.
In the last chapter, we thought of the part played in this incident by the four faithful friends. Let us to-day study the action of our Lord. When the bed on which the sick of the palsy lay was lowered through the roof and let down just in front of Him, that was the first word He spoke to the sick man, "Son, thy sins are forgiven thee."
The Need and the Word.
(1) What a strange and startling word it was! Sins? But who had said a word about sins? No one. What then was the meaning of our Lord's startling word? It was just a case of speaking to the young man's deepest and sorest need. The Gospels often remind us of Christ's wonderful power of insight. "He knew," John says, "what was in man" (ii. 25). And so He knew what was in this paralytic. He saw that he suffered from a sorer plague than the palsy. Probably his affliction was due to excess and sin; and it was the memory of the sin that was the intolerable burden. And Jesus speaks first to the most bitter and urgent need. He speaks to the guilt-laden soul. "Son," He said and the tenderness of the address is worthy of note, indicating as it did that prodigal though the paralytic had been, he was still beloved "thy sins are forgiven thee." The four friends brought him to Jesus in order to get healing for his body: Jesus begins by healing the soul.
The Word and the Boon.
(2) What a gracious word it was! If Jesus had done no more for this paralytic, I believe he would have gone back to his house a singing soul. If he had been carried home as physically helpless as he came, he would yet have possessed a joy beyond words. For Jesus had conferred upon him the boon he most urgently craved. He had delivered him from the burden and fear of his sin.
It was to give this supreme boon Jesus came to earth. "It is He," said the angel, "that shall save His people from their sins" (Matthew 1:21, R.V.). Sin is to this day the world's sorest plague.
Sin is to this day the soul's deadliest hurt. Physical pain is nothing to the guilt and shame of sin. And it is from sin and its haunting dread that Jesus came to redeem us. He goes about our world, whispering to those who through fear of death have been all their lifetime subject to bondage, this gracious message: "Son, daughter, thy sins are forgiven thee."
The Boon and its Giver.
(3) But is it a true word? Can Jesus give the forgiveness of which He speaks? Or is He merely mocking men with a promise which He can never fulfil? That was the very point on which the scribes sitting by challenged Him. "He blasphemeth," they said; "who can forgive sins but one, even God?" (Mark 2:7, R.V.). And Jesus promptly meets their challenge, and gives evidence of His power to forgive. "Whether is easier," He asks them, "to say... Thy sins are forgiven; or to say, Arise,... and walk?" (Mark 2:9, R.V.).
These scribes had been saying to themselves the offer of forgiveness was one the reality of which they could not test, and that Christ had spoken of forgiveness because He found Himself unable to heal. Our Lord proceeds at once to heal, in order to demonstrate His right to forgive a demonstration all the more conclusive in the eyes of all present, inasmuch as they had a saying to this effect: "There is no sick man healed of his sickness until all his sins have been forgiven him." So, without waiting for a reply from the scribes, Jesus goes on to say, "But that ye may know that the Son of Man hath power [authority] on earth to forgive sins (He saith to the sick of the palsy) I say unto thee, Arise, take up thy bed, and go into thy house" (Mark 2:10-11, R.V.).
The Giver and His Authority.
Our Lord's strange but gracious word about forgiveness was also a true word. The healed man was the proof of the reality of forgiveness. The outward healing was the verification of the inward grace. The spiritual blessing manifested its reality in the sphere of the physical. We too have evidence in abundance to prove that the promise of forgiveness is no delusion. We know of people to whom Christ has spoken as He spoke to the sick of the palsy, and we can see the change. We know by their life, even by their very appearance that the burden of sin has been lifted and its haunting dread clean taken away. This word is a true word. Forgiveness is no word, no dream, no mere phrase. Men need never fear of being deceived in Christ. "He is a great forgiver," said a criminal on his way to execution. Yes, "a great forgiver!" He has authority to forgive, and however great our load and black our record we can yet say with humble confidence, in the familiar words of the creed, "I believe in the forgiveness of sins."
Chapter 14. The Originality of Jesus Christ
"We never saw it on this fashion." Mark 2:12.
How was our Lord Original?
Christ's miracle upon the paralytic left the crowd in a condition of excited and exultant amazement. And this was the comment they made upon it all, "We never saw it on this fashion." Christ was absolutely different from any other leader, healer, prophet they had either read about or seen. In His speech and action He was unique and unprecedented. The deepest impression made upon them was that of Christ's originality.
Now in what way was Christ original? Well, when we look at the story of the paralytic we find He was original in the Gospel He preached. When we look at verse thirteen we see He was original in His methods of preaching it. And when we look at the paragraph which tells us of the call of Levi, we find He was original in His choice of people to whom to preach it.
In His Gospel.
(1) Our Lord was original in the Gospel He preached. The particular thing in Christ's treatment of the paralytic that most struck the crowd, the thing that was absolutely novel and unprecedented, was His first words to the sick man, "Son, thy sins be forgiven thee." It amounted to a declaration to the multitude that His mission was not to heal bodies, but to save souls; that His aims were not material but spiritual.
A Welcome Gospel.
The Messianic Gospel, according to current Jewish expectation, spoke mainly if not exclusively of material benefits. The good news they expected to hear was the good news of national deliverance. Christ's good news spoke not of deliverance from the Roman yoke, but of deliverance from sin. It was thus an unexpected Gospel but it was a most welcome Gospel, because it spoke to man's deepest and sorest need. In Mark 2:15 we read that the "Publicans and sinners sat down with" Christ. But the Greek word says they "kept following." It was this new Gospel of the forgiveness of sins that drew them.
A Universal Gospel.
And it was not only a welcome Gospel, it was a universal Gospel. Had Jesus preached the kind Gospel the Jews expected, it might have been good news to them but to no one else. But His Gospel of forgiveness is a universal Gospel. For we have all sinned and come short of the glory of God, and the proclamation that the Son of Man hath power on earth to forgive sins is good news to the wide world.
The Method of Proclamation Original.
(2) Our Lord was original in His method of preaching the Gospel. "He went forth again by the sea-side, and all the multitude resorted unto Him, and He taught them" (Mark 2:13, R.V.). "He taught them," not in any school or synagogue, but by the side of the blue sea and under God's broad skies. This was typical of Christ's methods. The Jew was scrupulous about sacred times and holy places. To Jesus every time was sacred and every place holy. Worship, to Jesus, did not depend upon questions of when or where; it was all a question of spirit. "Ye shall neither in this mountain nor yet at Jerusalem," He said to the Samaritan woman, "worship the Father.... God is a Spirit: and they that worship Him must worship Him in Spirit and in truth" (John 4:21, John 4:24).
And so the Lord broke through Jewish stiffness and narrowness. He refused to be tied down to sacred hours and dedicated buildings. The street, the sea-shore, the private house, the hill-side, any place was acceptable to Him, because He knew, and wishes us to know that
"Where'er we seek Him God is found
And every spot is hallowed ground."
The choice of Hearers Original.
(3) Our Lord was original in His choice of people to whom to preach His Gospel. Mark 2:13 commences a paragraph which tells us how He called Levi from his toll-booth and then went and sat at meat with publicans and sinners. This was an absolutely unprecedented thing. All other teachers ask for the best people as their disciples. But Jesus deliberately cares for and befriends the worst. He was the "friend of publicans and sinners." He raked the gutter for His saints.
The exquisite India paper on which the Oxford Bibles are printed is made for the most part out of old sails dirty, tattered, apparently worthless rags. And in much the same way out of the world's waste Jesus made some of the most shining of His saints. He made an apostle out of Levi; a theologian out of Augustine; a writer of holy books out of John Bunyan. He can save to the uttermost them that come to God through Him (Hebrews 7:25).
Chapter 15. The Call of Levi
"And as He passed by, He saw Levi the son of Alphæus sitting at the receipt of custom, and said unto him, Follow Me. And he arose and followed Him. And it came to pass that, as Jesus sat at meat in his house, many publicans and sinners sat also together with Jesus and His disciples: for there were many, and they followed Him. And when the scribes and Pharisees saw Him eat with publicans and sinners, they said unto His disciples, How is it that He eateth and drinketh with publicans and sinners? When Jesus heard it, He saith unto them, They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance." Mark 2:14-17.
The Man, the Call, and the Reason.
Levi or to give him his more familiar name, Matthew was a tax-gatherer, and to be a tax-gatherer in that country and at that time was almost equivalent to being a scoundrel and a thief. And yet this was the man Jesus called to be a disciple!
Why did Jesus call Levi? He called him because he was spiritually fit to be called. In this renegade publican's heart Jesus saw the hunger and thirst after righteousness! Scribes and Pharisees, judging by outward appearances, regarded him as outcast, vile beyond contempt, lost beyond hope. But Jesus, penetrating through the outward appearance, read his heart and knew him to be fit for the kingdom of God!
This is characteristic of Jesus. He saw good where no one else saw anything but evil. In publicans and sinners like Levi and Zacchæus He saw that "feelings lay buried which grace could restore." And just because He saw good where no one else saw anything but evil, He hoped where every one else despaired. "A dimly burning wick" (Isaiah 42:3, R.V., margin), the prophet had said of Him, "He will not quench." He saw the "dimly burning wick" of a desire for holiness in Levi's heart, in the heart of the woman who was a sinner, in Zacchæus' heart. He did not quench that flicker. He fanned it into a flame.
The Prompt Obedience
"Follow Me," said Jesus to Levi. And he arose and followed Him. Our Lord's confidence in Levi was justified by his prompt obedience. Of course we are not to suppose Jesus came to Levi that day as a perfect stranger. No one could live in Capernaum and not know about Jesus. The probability is that Levi had been one of those publicans who "kept following" Jesus. In view of Levi's action, we may well believe that, as he listened to Our Lord, he learned to loathe his life and to hate his sin and to long for holiness; and that it only needed this call to make him break away from his old associations and give his life and soul to holier and better things. "He arose and followed Him."
And ready Sacrifice.
What glorious and sacrificial obedience this was! Levi was not simply sorry for his life; he broke with it and left it, forever. As Dr. Salmond points out, it was a harder thing for Levi to rise up and follow Christ than it was for Peter and his comrades. Their occupation as fishermen was one to which they could easily return as indeed they did return after the Resurrection. But there was no return to his toll-booth for Levi. When he left it, he left it altogether. Like St Paul, he suffered the loss of all things for Christ. And he did it without a moment's hesitation. "O my sweet Lord Jesus," he would say, with the seraphic Samuel Rutherford, "a smile from Thee is better than kingdoms."
The Token of Joy.
He rose up and followed Christ, and then promptly made a feast, to which he invited all his old friends and associates. He did it in token of his joy. He had just made a stupendous sacrifice, for he had left all. But the thought of his sacrifice was swallowed up in the thought of his great gain. He had lost his toll-booth he had gained the kingdom. And he did it in the second place, in order that he might share his joy. Joy is always communicative. When the woman found the lost piece of silver she sent for her friends and neighbours to rejoice with her. "Rejoice with me," she said, "for I have found the piece which I had lost" (Luke 15:9, R.V.). And that is what Levi was saying by this great feast of his, "Rejoice with me, for I have found the pearl of great price." Joy is always communicative, and especially the joy of a Saviour found. The saved man at once turns missionary. The man who has once really experienced the redeeming love and grace of Christ wants to tell to all the world around him of the Saviour he has found.
The Work of Grace.
What great things Divine grace did for Levi! It found him a publican, it made him an apostle! It found him an outcast, it wrote his name on the foundations of the New Jerusalem! And notice how grace works. It always conserves a man's natural endowments. It destroys no power. It converts and consecrates it. Now Levi was clever with his pen. What grace did was to consecrate his natural gift. When Levi became a Christian, says Dr. Alexander Whyte, he took his pen and his ink-horn with him, only now instead of using them for purposes of extortion, he used them to write the story of his Blessed Lord.
From a publican to an apostle what cannot grace do? It can lay hold of us in our weakness and sin, set us among princes, and make us inherit a throne of glory.
Chapter 16. The Law of Congruity
"And the disciples of John and of the Pharisees used to fast: and they come and say unto Him, Why do the disciples of John and of the Pharisees fast, but Thy disciples fast not? And Jesus said unto them, Can the children of the bridechamber fast, while the bridegroom is with them? as long as they have the bridegroom with them, they cannot fast. But the days will come, when the bridegroom shall be taken away from them, and then shall they fast in those days. No man also soweth a piece of new cloth on an old garment: else the new piece that filled it up taketh away from the old, and the rent is made worse. And no man putteth new wine into old bottles: else the new wine doth burst the bottles, and the wine is spilled, and the bottles will be marred: but new wine must be put into new bottles." Mark 2:18-22.
Fasting the Law and the Tradition.
Our Lord's refusal to conform to the religious practices in vogue amongst the Jews often brought Him into collision with the rulers. This paragraph tells us of a controversy He had with the Pharisees and the disciples of John on the matter of fasting.
Fasting, by the law, was only prescribed for one day the great Day of Atonement. But tradition had here, as in so many other things, added much to the written law, so that zealous Jews like the Pharisee in Christ's parable had come to fast on two days in the week. The disciples of John also seem to have had this much in common with the Pharisees, that they made much of this ascetic practice. Jesus, on the other hand, paid practically no attention to their fast days. And this nonconformity of His caused no little scandal to the Pharisees, and no little difficulty to the disciples of John.
The Appeal to our Lord.
Thus it was that on one of their fast days they came to Jesus the disciples of John being put forward as spokesmen and asked Him: "Why do John's disciples and the disciples of the Pharisees fast, but Thy disciples fast not?" (Mark 2:18, R.V.). Jesus answers these puzzled men by an exquisite little illustration, justifying His own practice, while at the same time not condemning theirs. It was impossible, He said, for the sons of the bride-chamber to fast while the bridegroom was with them. But when the bridegroom was taken away, then would they fast in those days.
The Underlying Principle.
Now, without pausing to note the tremendous claim Christ puts forward in applying the Divine name "bridegroom" to Himself, let us notice the principle that underlies our Lord's answer. It is the principle of appropriateness, the law of congruity. It was ridiculous, He said, to expect the sons of the bride-chamber to fast in the wedding week. The outward must always be the expression of the inward, and there is absolutely no merit in the outward form unless the inward feeling is congruous with it.
Now fasting was originally just the expression of penitence and sorrow and abasement for sin. But with the Pharisee, fasting had become, for the most part, a matter of rule, a mere bit of routine. All this was offensive to Jesus. He insists upon the law of congruity. It is the principle St James lays down when He says, "Is any among you suffering? Let him pray. Is any cheerful? Let him sing praise" (James 5:13, R.V.). It is equivalent to saying that the religious life must be absolutely single and true and sincere; that there must be about it no trace of hypocrisy or deceit.
And its Application.
This is a very searching rule, which has its pertinent modern applications. The act of worship, for instance, according to this law, is of little or no value in God's sight, unless it is the expression of a worshipping spirit. "Saying one's prayer's" is a barren and profitless exercise, unless behind the uttered words there is the praying soul. Even participation in the Holy Communion will profit us nothing, unless it be the expression of a lively faith in Christ, and an entire consecration of ourselves to His service. The inward feeling must accompany the outward form. "Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in Thy sight, O Lord, my strength, and my Redeemer" (Psalms 19:14).
An Underlying Assurance.
Notice, further, what our Lord's answer implies that to possess Christ is to possess the secret of perpetual joy. "As long as they have the Bridegroom with them they cannot fast." The one real cause of grief and pain is the loss of Christ. "When the Bridegroom is taken away, then shall they fast." There is no sadness like that of those who are without the Bridegroom. But while the Bridegroom is with us we cannot fast. No matter what comes!
Heaven is associated not with fasting, but with feasting. We read of the marriage supper of the Lamb, and of ceaseless music and song; in a word, of perpetual joy. Do you know why the life of the world to come is not a fast, but a feast? It is because they have the Bridegroom there. "The Lamb is the light thereof."
Chapter 17. The Sabbath
"And it came to pass, that He went through the corn fields on the Sabbath day; and His disciples began, as they went, to pluck the ears of corn. And the Pharisees said unto Him, Behold, why do they on the Sabbath day that which is not lawful? And He said unto them, Have ye never read what David did, when he had need, and was an hungred, he, and they that were with him? How he went into the house of God in the days of Abiathar the high priest, and did eat the shewbread, which is not lawful to eat but for the priests, and gave also to them which were with him? And He said unto them, The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath: Therefore the Son of man is Lord also of the Sabbath." Mark 2:23-28.
Our Lord and the Sabbath.
We saw in our last chapter how Jesus offended the Jews by His disregard of fast days. But He offended them deepest of all by His free treatment of the Sabbath. Dr. A. B. Bruce points out that we have in the Gospels no fewer than six instances recorded of offence given or taken on this account. In five of these Jesus Himself is the offender; in the other the story of which is given at this point by Mark it is the conduct of the disciples that comes in for censure.
All this seems to prove that Jesus deliberately intended to alter the entire spirit of Sabbath observance. The Jews, in consequence of our Lord's action, called Him a Sabbath-breaker. But He was no Sabbath-breaker. He was the true Sabbath-keeper. There is no hint or suggestion in any of these stories of His conflicts with the Pharisees of any repudiation of the Sabbatic law, of any intention to interfere with the day of rest. The hallowing of the Sabbath was one of those Divine commandments which our Lord bade others observe, and one which He observed Himself. What our Lord did protest against and fight against was the debasement of the Sabbath, that perversion of the commandment which had changed what God meant for a gracious boon into a most grievous burden.
The Charge of Sabbath-breaking.
How far that perversion had gone is made abundantly clear by the two incidents which Mark here relates. In the first they bring a charge of Sabbath-breaking against the disciples because they plucked the ears of corn as they passed through the field. In the other they bring a charge against our Lord Himself because He healed a man with a withered hand on the Sabbath day. Our Lord has His defence for each specific case. His answer to the charge against His disciples is that no ritual or ceremonial law is to stand in the way of urgent human need. His answer to the charge against Himself is that the Sabbath brings no holiday from beneficence; mercy is of universal and perpetual obligation.
Our Lord's Answer.
But our Lord was not content simply to answer the narrow and pedantic accusations of the Pharisees. In one simple but profound sentence He set forth the real meaning, intention, and purpose of the Sabbath. "The Sabbath," He said, "was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath" (Mark 2:27).
This answer of our Lord's is the key to a right conception of the Sabbath. The Pharisees had inverted the order. They had put the Sabbath first and man second, as if the whole duty of man was to observe a multitude of minute and detailed Sabbatic rules. Jesus restores the true order. He puts man first and the Sabbath second. Man was not made in order to keep the Sabbath; but the Sabbath was made in order to meet man's needs. The Sabbath, that is to say, is not something which God exacts from man, it is a grace that He confers upon him. It was meant not for a burden but for a boon.
That was not the Jews' thought of it, and perhaps that is not exactly how some modern Christians think of it. They think of the Sabbath only, as Mr. Lathom says, as something done by men for God, and in so doing they make God a taskmaster like the gods of the pagans. But the Sabbath is really something done by God for men, and is a constantly-recurring evidence of His pity and love and gracious care. And we do not think of the Sabbath rightly until we look at it, not as a burdensome obligation, but as a beautiful privilege and a great delight.
"The Sabbath was made for man." Notice the universal note. The Sabbath was not simply for the Jews; it was for man everywhere. It was a gift, not simply to the chosen people, but to all mankind. And the Sabbath was made for man, because man needed it. It was instituted for his convenience and benefit.
Within recent years the Sabbath has been spoken of as an "interruption in the week," and a strenuous effort has been made to do away with it, as if it were a hindrance and obstacle to human progress. But the Sabbath is no vexatious "interruption," it is a gracious ministry. The reason for the weekly rest day is lodged deep in human nature. Physically, mentally, spiritually man needs the Sabbath. And never was the Sabbath more needed than to-day, for never was the "pace" of life so fast.
What a boon our Lord's Day is, coming as it does week by week to tired men and women, with its opportunity of rest for mind, and body, and soul. Let us hold fast to it; let us thank God for it
"Accept, O God, our hymn of praise,
That Thou this day hast given,
Sweet foretaste of the endless day
Of rest in heaven."
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Jones, J.D. "Commentary on Mark 2". Jones' Commentary on the Book of Mark. https://www.studylight.org/
Eve of Ascension