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The Miracle-Working Christ
1. On the mountain top. The mountain tops in the Bible stand forth in bold review. They represent Heavenly experiences, fellowship with God, and stand for visions of the things to come.
(1) We read in Deuteronomy these words: "And Moses went up * * to the top of Pisgah, * * and the Lord shewed him all the land." It was above the miasma of the swamp and the valley that Moses ascended. What a wonderful view was his!
From Nebo's mountain top, old Pisgah's height,
The landscape lay below,
The sun-kissed, promised land, ablaze with light,
And bathed in beauty's glow.
May we, from Pisgah's height, above the maze
And mists of valley-strife,
With open face, transfigured, fix our gaze
Upon the Lord of Life,
And see in Him our life made ripe with grain,
And tree, and fern, and flower:
A fruitful life, enriched with dew and rain,
And clothed with Heav'nly power.
Moses' vision also stands for a prophetic insight to the Scriptures. John, from the Isle of Patmos, was caught up into the heavens and it was there that God showed him the things which must be hereafter.
The Apostle Paul was caught up into the third Heaven, and there he saw unspeakable things which the tongue could not utter. May God grant us the privilege of mountain-top visions of the things to come.
(2) We read in the Gospels how Christ "Went out into a mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God." Here is a second mountain-top experience. It stands for separation from the busy marts of life, on the one hand; and for contact with God, on the other hand. We need just such an experience frequently in our own lives. Prayer changes things.
2. The vale below. When Christ was transfigured on the mountain, Peter, James, and John were with Him. From the mountain top they descended to the valley. There they found a man with a child possessed with a demon. The man complained to Christ: "I besought Thy disciples to cast him out; and they could not." Then the Lord rebuked the unclean spirit, healed the child, and delivered him to his father. The Lord could have stayed on the mountain top, but He came down to the place of need, and of suffering.
It is all right for Christians to delight in mountain-top experiences, but they, too, must not always dwell in the heights with God. They must come down to scatter their blessings among the needy multitudes.
Why should we see God and walk with God, if it is not with the thought of bringing Him to the masses?
While we may find Christ on the mountain top, we may also find Him ministering in the vale below. If we would walk in His steps we too will serve the people.
Let us remember that our Lord came down from Heaven, the mountain top of glory. He came down to go about doing good; He came to die outside the camp. Let us have the mind which was in Christ, in us. Let us seek to serve among the populace.
I. THE HEALING OF THE LEPER (Matthew 8:1-3 )
1. The leper represents the sinner in his uncleanness. Leprosy appeared upon the skin as a white, pinkish spot. When it was seen it spoke horror to its victim. It began to tell him he was possessed of an incurable and loathsome disease. The leprosy would slowly, but surely spread until the whole man seemed covered with putrefying sores. Sin is similar to all this. It, also, is deep seated in the heart. It is a disease incurable by men.
2. The leper can worship God. One would scarcely think that God would permit such a one to fall down and worship Him; but God did permit this leper to come, in his needy and stricken condition, unto Him.
We know that God is holy, and cannot receive into Heaven the unholy. Jesus Christ is standing this moment, as it were, with outstretched hands and is saying to every leprous, undone sinner, "Come unto Me, * * and I will give you rest."
Have you not read of the call of our God, "Look unto Me, and be ye saved"? Christ came to cleanse the leper, to save the sinner.
3. The quest of the leper, who came to worship Him. The leper said: "Lord, if Thou wilt, Thou canst make me clean."
Here was a prayer of faith. He knew that the Lord had power and authority to cleanse him. He knew that if He would, He could make him clean.
To every unsaved man, we wish to say, first, the Lord can, and secondly, the Lord will save, when there is a. cry of faith from a trusting soul.
He cannot do ought but respond to the prayer of faith. Has He not said, "Him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out"? Again, has He not said, "According to your faith be it unto you"? Thus it was that the leper was made whole.
II. THE TOUCH OF THE MASTER'S HAND (Matthew 8:3-4 )
1. The Lord touched him. A hurried reading does not impress one, but when we stop to consider, we see how marvelous was the touch of the Lord. First of all, it acclaimed Jesus Christ as impervious to contamination. He could touch a leper, without becoming leprous. He could sit with the publicans and sinners and teach them the things of God, without becoming sinful. The Lord Jesus was not only the holy One and the sinless One, but He was the impeccable One. The only time He ever felt the terrific touch of sin, was when, upon Calvary, He was made sin for us.
The touch of the Lord Jesus also showed forth a sympathetic Christ. He did not stand aloof from the leper. He carried no "holier than thou" spirit. He did carry a spirit of deep concern, of pity, and of tenderest love toward the needy.
Have we not felt the touch of His hand? And when He touched us, were we not comforted and cheered?
"Oh the touch of His hand on mine,
The touch of His hand on mine,
There is grace and power,
In the trying hour,
By the touch of His hand on mine."
2. The Lord spake to him. How marvelous were His Words, "I will; be thou clean." How assuring. There is in the words of our Lord a certainty that dispels doubt. It is in this sense that He spake as none other spake. He could say to the leper, "I will; be thou clean," and the leper became clean. He could say to the wild waves, "Be still," and the waves were hushed. He could say to Lazarus, "Come forth," and he who was dead came forth. Our Lord still speaks with authority.
3. The leprosy was immediately cleansed. There was no delay in the application of healing. The Lord can work by stages, but it is not necessary for Him so to work. In the matter of salvation, it is an immediate healing. A sinner may enter the church house buried in iniquity. He may receive mercy by believing on the Lord Jesus Christ. The passage from death into life is an instantaneous passage. Weeks of weeping and of wailing at some altar bench will not help, but at the end of all, faith, living faith in our Lord Jesus Christ will do the work. We are saved by faith.
III. A CENTURION'S FAITH (Matthew 8:5-9 )
1. A great man beseeching the Saviour. The centurion was a great man because he was a man of authority and of power. He could say to one of his soldiers, "Go," and he immediately went; or "Come," and he came; or "Do this," and he did it. Such a one came and prostrated himself before the Lord. Such a one besought Him.
It is not only the publican, but also the Pharisee who should beat upon his breast, and cry for mercy. It is not only the Mary of Magdala, possessed with demons, who should weep upon the Master's feet as she worshiped Him; but it is also the Mary of Bethany, the possessor of precious nard, and a woman of culture.
Whether it be Nicodemus, the teacher in Israel, or whether it be the demoniac wandering in the tombs, their place is alike at the feet of the Master.
2. A great man caring for his servants. The centurion said to Christ: "Lord, my servant lieth at home sick of the palsy, grievously tormented." Here was a great one interested in a lowly one; a master caring for a servant. There is something about this that appeals to us, and we believe it appealed to the Lord. The truly great bear the spirit of the Lord and Master, when they stoop down to lift up the fallen.
3. A great man with a great vision of faith. Christ said to the man: "I will come and heal him." The centurion answered and said, "Lord, I am not worthy that Thou shouldest come under my roof: but speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed."
The centurion recognized that the One before whom he stood, and to whom he made his plea was a Man of authority as well as he himself. He saw, however, a difference. His own authority lay in the line of a centurionship.
The authority of the Master covered every realm, even the realm of sickness and of death. Thus the centurion urged the Lord saying, "Speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed."
Weigh well the meaning a word only. Jesus Christ is the Word, and His Word is spirit and life.
IV. THE MARVELING OF THE MASTER (Matthew 8:10-12 )
1. Jesus marveled. We marvel that He marveled. He did not marvel at the buildings of the Temple. Of them He said: "See ye not all these things? verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down."
The Lord did not marvel at the learning and the lore of the scribes and of the Pharisees. To them, with all of their wisdom, He had nothing but words of rebuke. He belittled the phylacteries which they made so broad, and the borders of the garments which they made so large. He decried their love of the uppermost rooms at the feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogue.
The Lord marveled at nothing, save the faith of the centurion, an alien who believed with an indescribable faith.
Is it not written, "Without faith it is impossible to please Him"? What was it in Abel, and Enoch, and Noah, and Abraham, and the rest that pleased God? It was their faith. Unto this hour unbelief is black with the frown of God, but faith lightens His countenance. The Lord Jesus looks for faith and confidence, unwavering and unshaken, in the midst of a world filled with skepticisms and with doubt. May we give Him such a faith.
2. Jesus contrasted the unbelief of His own people, Israel, with the faith of an alien. He said: "I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel." Today we feel that the English-speaking race is the specialty of God; and it is true, indeed, that to them has been given unparalleled light and privileges; while from them has sounded forth the message of salvation to the ends of the earth. However, of this we are certainly aware, that among the so-called heathen of earth there is oftentimes manifested a faith in Christ, and a confidence, which is far beyond that of our own so-called Christian lands.
For this cause Christ said: "Many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the Kingdom of Heaven. But the children of the Kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth."
V. ACCORDING TO YOUR FAITH BE IT UNTO YOU (Matthew 8:13 )
Here are some very refreshing words: "And Jesus said unto the centurion, Go thy way; and as thou hast believed, so be it done unto thee."
1. Our Lord teaches that our faith circumscribes our blessings, that is, we receive accordingly as we believe. This statement is true not only of the centurion, but of us. There is a passage in the Book of James which says: "But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord."
Whatsoever is not of faith is sin. Whatsoever is of faith is reckoned unto us as righteousness. It is written of Abraham: "For what saith the Scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness."
What we need, today, is a quickening of our faith through the study of the Word, and a knowledge of the greatness of God. We must believe not only that God is, and that He possesses unlimited power, but also that God is the Rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.
2. Our Lord showed how the centurion believed that which he did not see. He simply told him to go his way. Had the centurion lingered, as much as to say, "I want some demonstration, some proof that my servant is healed," his servant had not been healed. The centurion had a faith similar to Abraham's, when he went out not seeing the place to which he went.
Quickly, the soldier started homeward, and the first step he took toward home was the selfsame moment in which his servant was healed.
How wonderful are the accomplishments of faith! Faith in the Living God has wrought righteousness, obtained promises, subdued kingdoms, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire. May we walk in that sacred pathway!
VI. THE HEALING OF PETER'S WIFE'S MOTHER (Matthew 8:14-15 )
1. Sickness may even enter the house of a favorite disciple. Peter was one of the special three. He, along with James and John, had many privileges not accorded to the other nine. The fact, however, that Peter was one of the valiant servants of his Lord did not keep his wife's mother from being sick.
We feel assured that since Peter, during three years and a half, was traveling with his Lord, that his wife was dwelling in her mother's home. It was natural for Peter to return to that home; and for Jesus, and the other disciples, to enter with him.
When they arrived, on this occasion, the mother lay sick of a fever.
2. Does Jesus dwell in your home? It is blessed to have the Lord of life, and light, and health, visiting with you. It is blessed when all is well; it is thrice blessed when some are sick. We delight in the motto which we have seen in many a home:
"Christ is the Head of this house,
The Unseen Guest at every meal,
The Silent Listener to every conversation."
If Christ is indeed with us, let us welcome Him, recognize Him, and give attention to His Words.
3. The touch of the Divine hand. The Lord Jesus who touched the leper, now touched the hand of Peter's wife's mother. That touch again carried blessing, and the fever left her.
Let us not relegate the touch of Christ's hand to the leper, or to this precious mother, or even alone to the days of Christ's earthly sojourn. Why should we not feel the same precious touch upon our hand, or upon our fevered brow? Christ is still: "The Lord that healeth thee," to those who put their faith in Him.
4. Healing is for service. We read: "And she arose, and ministered unto them." The Lord does not heal merely that we may feel better. He heals us in order that we may carry on for Him. There are words to be spoken, there are deeds to be done. Let us, therefore, when we pray for healing, pray, with the promise to God that we will use every energy of our renewed strength for Him.
VII. WHEREIN THE SCRIPTURES WERE FULFILLED (Matthew 8:16-17 )
1. The end of a busy day. You, who have followed the study throughout, have discovered how many had been blessed by the Lord during this, one of the busiest days of healing and teaching in the ministry of our Lord. He, perhaps, after He had eaten at the home of Peter's mother-in-law, may have desired rest. The populace, however, would not let Him rest.
Our verse says: "When the even was come, they brought unto Him many that were possessed with devils: and He cast out the spirits with His Word, and healed all that were sick."
We like the expression: "They brought unto Him." This reminds us of the time when Christ was preaching in a certain home, and four men brought the man sick of the palsy and let him down through the roof. We should all of us join in bringing people to the Lord Jesus Christ.
What a wonderful ministry bringing people to Jesus!
2. The fulfillment of the Prophet's words. Matthew 8:16-17 say: "[He] healed all that were sick: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the Prophet, saying, Himself took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses."
(1) Wherein did these words have their fulfillment? The answer is simple. They were fulfilled in the healing that took place, as Jesus tarried in the home of Peter's wife's mother.
(2) When were the words of the Prophet Isaiah, as recorded in the 53d chapter, fulfilled? They were fulfilled that day, in the home of Peter's wife's mother. Let us then not relegate them to another day, even the day of the crucifixion of Christ.
(3) Did Isaiah's words not link these and all of Christ's healing to the Cross of Christ? For our part we believe that all of the healings, the casting out of demons, were accomplished by virtue of the Calvary work of Christ. We do not believe that these healings were in the atonement, the same as sin is in the atonement. They were in the atonement the same as the physical earth was in the atonement. We do not get our new bodies now.
The great reason for the miracles of the Bible seems to have been this: that men should recognize that there was offered to them in God a power for the blessing of their lives wholly beyond all the natural powers of man and of the physical universe. This freely offered and undeserved blessing of God centered and culminated in God's gift of His Son, Jesus Christ; and the miracles of the Bible are more numerous during and soon after Christ's life on earth than at any other time. Moreover, it is significant that all through the centuries those who have found and manifested a supernatural life through receiving Jesus Christ as Saviour have believed in the miracles of the Bible. The lesser miracles of the physical universe: a supernatural freedom from the power of sin, given to and sustained in them by Jesus Christ as their new life from God. To them, therefore, it is unreasonable to accept the greatest miracle, revealed in the Book, and doubt the lesser ones there recorded. And they rejoice that the lesser miracles paved the way to the working of the greatest one. Sunday School Times.
Discipleship in Training
1. Let us consider the insincerity of the multitude. The last study closed with the crowds pressing upon Christ that they might be dispossessed of demons, and healed of all manner of sicknesses. The Lord did heal them all. We are sure, however, that He saw the real intent of the populace. They sought Him, not because they loved Him, nor because they received Him as the Son of God. They sought Him because of the benefits they would obtain.
Christ knew what was in man. He still knows. He knows our thoughts, whether we were baptized, and joined the church because we had felt His saving power, and received Him for aye as Saviour, Christ, and Lord, or, whether we joined the church with selfish motives.
Would that all believers were sincere and genuine. If they were we would have less of world-mixing than we have in many churches today.
2. Let us consider the need of others across the lake of Galilee. The people in other parts had the same need as the people this side the lake. The Lord Jesus Christ has laid down before the Church, the whole world as its parish. "Every creature" should be our quest, both in our prayers, our gifts, and our service.
We are in danger of becoming contracted in our view. We remember visiting a certain village that lay nestled in the mountain. Our vision was circumscribed. We could not see anything except the scattered homes of some 2,000 people. There was a big world beyond the mountain, but our vision was hemned in.
Not only so, but it seemed to us that the whole town was self-centered. You have heard the proverbial prayer of the selfish heart:
"God bless me and my wife. My son John and his wife, Us four and no more."
The heart of God is bigger than one family or one city. His vision takes in the world, and His command is, "Go ye into all the world." Christ gave commandment to depart unto the other side. Let us not, therefore, become onesided, or "this-sided."
On another occasion, the Lord said: "Let us go into the next towns, that I may preach there also." We think: "The next towns also" would be a fine motto for many a self-centered and selfish heart.
During a holiday season the British general of the Salvation Army desired to cable his greetings to the Army in America. He sent just one word over the cables: "Others." Are there not others who need our testimony?
Is it nothing to you, oh, ye Christians at home,
That millions are passing each day
Into darkness forever, to sigh and to moan,
Not knowing that Christ is the Way?
Is it nothing to you who have much and to spare,
That lost ones are starving each hour?
Yet, it's not just alone of your bread they would share,
But of Christ and His glory and power.
Is it nothing to you who in luxury live,
That many have never once heard
Of the Saviour who died, full salvation to give?
O send them the truth of His Word.
Oh, ye Christians at home, up, awake, while 'tis day!
For the shadows of night hasten fast;
If you long for a part in the harvest display,
Toil on, ere the summer is past
Mrs. R. E. Neighbour.
I. A WOULD-BE FOLLOWER (Matthew 8:19-20 )
1. A spirit of boasting. A certain scribe came unto the Lord saying: "Master, I will follow Thee whithersoever Thou goest." He was ignorant of where the Lord was going. He knew nothing of the gathering cloud, nothing of the tempests that were about to fall upon his Lord. Nothing of the poverty which belonged to the Son of Man.
This scribe probably saw popularity and power ahead of him when he said: "I will follow Thee whithersoever Thou goest." He who would go with the Master should weigh well the cost thereof (Luke 14:27-28 ).
2. Making plain the demands of discipleship. The Lord Jesus never let down the bars to gain a disciple. Here was a man of prominence, and his name would have been quite an addition to the roll of disciples. The Lord, however, did not rush to enroll him.
When a certain rich young ruler prostrated himself at the Master's feet bringing with him both reputation and financial possibility, Christ quietly said: "Go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, * * and come, take up the cross, and follow Me." Would that we in the churches were less anxious for members, especially members of affluence and power.
3. Forecasting His rejection of men. The Lord seemed to be saying to this certain scribe: "You want to follow Me then you must enter into My poverty, into My rejection, isolation, and death." The Lord was not ignorant of the fact of coming events. He knew that He would be cast off, spit upon, crowned with thorns, crucified, and knowing this, He did not want to secure a disciple under the false ideas which He saw gripped the scribe. He plainly said: "The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of Man hath not where to lay His head."
II. ANOTHER WOULD-BE DISCIPLE (Matthew 8:21-22 )
1. Putting other things first. This one said: "Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father." The Lord did not deny any man the privilege of showing filial fidelity. He did rebuke this man for putting anything "first." It is written in the Word: "He that loveth father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me." Let no one imagine that in such a statement the Lord Jesus was egotistical. He was asserting the fact of His Deity. It is the rightful position of Deity to be first, holding pre-eminence in all and over all.
2. Let the dead bury their dead. We wonder who "the dead" could be, who were to bury "their dead." They certainly were not the physically dead, who had been themselves buried, or were about to be buried. What Christ said was, therefore, "Let those who have never known the Light of life; let those who are spiritually dead, and not alive to things Divine, bury those who are physically dead."
This makes us think of a passage in Romans 13:1-14 where it is written: "It is high time to awake out of sleep: * * the night is far spent, the day is at hand." There is another verse which says: "The time is short: it remaineth, that both they that have wives be as though they had none; and they that weep, as though they wept not, and they that rejoice, as though they rejoiced not; and they that buy, as though they possessed not."
With the Lord's death approaching with such rapid bounds there was no time for the disciple to tarry until his father died, that he might bury him. With the Lord's Second Coming now so nearly upon us, there is no time for us to turn aside for anything, that we may follow the Lord later on.
III. DISCIPLES WHO FOLLOWED HIM (Matthew 8:23 )
1. Some disciples fell behind. As Christ entered into the ship to go across the sea, there were many who entered not. Perhaps the certain scribe and perhaps the disciple of Matthew 8:21 both lagged behind. We know not. There is one thing we do know, that there are many who run well for a time, because there is nothing to hinder them. According as it is written: "Ye did run well; who did hinder you?"
Again it is written: He "dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the Word, by and by he is offended." Such an one has no deep rooting in Christ.
There is another who heareth the Word, but the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the Word and he becometh unfruitful. God give us men and women who follow on.
2. Other disciples entered with Him into the ship. They made the lot of the Lord, their lot. Where He went, they went. Whatever befell Him, befell them. This is the true position of every true follower. If we want to be with Him in the glory, sharing His crown; we must first go with Him outside the camp, bearing His reproach.
We remember how the Lord said: "If they have called the Master of the house Beelzebub, how much more shall they call them of His household?" If they hated Him, they will also hate us. If they despised Him, they will despise us. Can we expect the world to crown us with a crown of approval and royal dignity, when it crowned Him with a crown of thorns? If we must follow Him, we must follow also His shame and spitting.
The word "follow" carries with it a tremendous meaning. There is one thing it does not mean. It does not mean following afar off, as followed Peter in the hour of his defection. We must follow as Ruth followed Naomi, saying: "Whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God."
IV. INTO THE STORM WITH CHRIST (Matthew 8:24 )
There is a striking connection here. Read the closing words of Matthew 8:23 , and the opening words of Matthew 8:24 .
1. The storm is suggestive of the lot which befalls all true disciples. Those who follow Him, do enter into a storm. They enter into a storm for the simple reason that there is always a storm gathering against the Son of God.
(1) There was a storm against Him throughout the Old Testament Scriptures. The devil was ever trying to destroy the Seed before it was born. In order to do this he fought continually against the line through which the Seed was to come.
(2) There was a storm against Him at the time of His birth. The devil tried to force Joseph to put away Mary when he discovered that she was with child of the Holy Ghost. The devil sought to bring about the death of the infant Son, the Holy Child, through the edict of Herod, when the innocents were slain.
(3) There was a storm against Him during all of His earthly life. It was seen in this study, when the tempest swept down on the boat as Christ lay asleep. It culminated on the Cross when principalities sought to overwhelm Him.
(4) There is a storm which is now seeking to overwhelm Him. That storm has gone so far as to deny everything vital to the birth, the death, the resurrection, the high-priestly work, and the Second Coming of Christ. The Lord is being attacked in the house of His friends, and in every great truth that surrounds Him and crowns Him Lord.
2. No one can follow Christ without entering into a great tempest. There is no way to avoid it. If we are one with Him, we must be one with Him in His persecution, one in the denials, and one in the attacks against Him.
V. THE ONLY HOPE OF SALVATION (Matthew 8:25 )
1. The cry, "We perish." Yes, and they would have perished, so far as any possibility of any self help was concerned. The whole world would have perished. Each individual of the world would have perished if the Lord had not died, risen and come forth to save us.
John 3:16 comes in just here, "That whosoever believeth in Him should not perish." However, He who believeth not, will perish.
2. The prayer, "Lord, save us." The words: "Save us" express a plea of the heart. When Peter was sinking in the waves, while trying to walk on the sea, he cried: "Lord, save me." This was the cry of our own souls, when we felt ourselves lost and undone. Thank God, there is a Saviour!
When the angel spake to Mary he said: "Thou shalt call His Name JESUS: for He shall save His people from their sins." "Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under Heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved."
Human philosophies utterly fail to save the sinner from being engulfed in eternal death. Good works prove themselves to be a bed too short upon which we may stretch ourselves, and coverings too narrow on which we may cover ourselves. Salvation is indissolubly linked to the Saviour.
3. The word "Lord." The Saviour is our Lord. The disciples said, "Lord, save us." Paul said to the jailer, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ." This all carries with it the thought that the word "Jesus" is unalterably linked with the word "Lord." If Jesus were a mere man, son of Joseph and Mary, He could never be the Saviour. The angel, in announcing the birth of Christ to the shepherds, said: "Unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord."
The Book of Isaiah, throughout, emphasizes the fact that the Redeemer is God, and that God, even the Lord and Christ, is our Redeemer. We quote but one verse: "Look unto Me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else."
VI. THE DISCIPLES' LORD IN ACTION (Matthew 8:26-27 )
1. A gentle rebuke. "Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith?" And why should we be fearful? There is no exigency in the believer's life that Christ cannot meet. If we go with Him, and bear His reproach, He will go with us, and share His power. He knoweth the things which concern us. He lives to meet our every need.
Why should we be fearful as to obtaining power to meet the exigencies which befall us in our word and work for Him? Our God and Christ hath said: "All power is given unto Me * * I am with you."
Why should we be fearful as to death? Our Christ is Lord. He faced our enemy. He died and was buried. He himself descended into hades, and He came forth with the keys of death and of hell in His hand; "Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith?"
2. A marvelous demonstration of power. " Then He arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm." Such is the Christ whom we adore, and whom we serve.
"The winds and the waves obey His will,
Peace be still, peace be still,
Whether the winds or the storm-tossed sea,
Or demons, or men, or whatever it be,
No waters can swallow the ship where lies
The Master of ocean and earth and skies,
They all so sweetly obey Thy will,
Peace be still, peace be still."
3. A confession of Christ's glory and power. Matthew 8:27 reads: "But the men marvelled, saying, What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey Him!" We join with the disciples, to worship the Son of God. No one ever spake as He spake, wrought as He wrought, conquered as He conquered. What manner of Man is this? He is the God-Man God manifest in flesh. Him we love and Him we serve.
VII. THE MASTER'S QUEST (Matthew 8:28-34 )
1. What went ye forth for to see? We have wondered, perhaps, why it was that the Master left the multitude, crossed the sea in the storm, and came to the other side of Galilee. We now discover the object of His quest.
Read Matthew 8:28 . This was evidently the quest of the Master two demon-possessed, and devil-driven lunatics.
The disciples marveled when Christ calmed the sea, and they said, "What manner of Man is this?" We may all marvel as we see One so great and so mighty, God the Son, and Son of God, taking such a journey to touch two such vile and fierce characters.
However, if we would marvel, let us marvel that God so loved the world. Jesus took a journey far greater than across Galilee, when He came down from Heaven and its glory for you and for me.
2. The salutation which met the Master's ears. As the Lord passed by the place where other men dared not pass, the demoniacs cried out saying: "What have we to do with Thee, Jesus, Thou Son of God? art Thou come hither to torment us before the time?" Whatever others may have thought or think of Jesus, the demons pronounced Him, Son of God. The men looked for torment because they believed in torment; and they knew they were fit subjects thereof. The Lord, however, had come to save, and not to destroy.
3. How the whole city met the Lord. He had come across the sea to save the demoniacs, and to be a blessing to the city that lay near by; but when they of the city saw Him, they besought Him that He would depart out of their coast. They did this because they lost a herd of swine, which were drowned in the waters. They were unmindful of the fact that two men who had been a danger to them all had been healed, and made worthy of trust.
The treatment which Christ received from the people of this Galilean village, did no more than bespeak the treatment that He received from the whole world: "He was in the world, * * and the world knew Him not. He came unto His own, and His own received Him not."
I visited a large hothouse once in which grew a great Acacia tree, I broke off a small twig and carried it home and put it in a vase. The next day I was surprised to find what great fragrance came from that small twig. Day after day it lasted and not until it had wholly withered and died and crumbled did the fragrance disappear. So much it reminded me of the really true Christian life that carries the fragrance with it from the vine of life until it is through with this life.
Aunt Dinah described a young member of her church as having "Jes' enough 'lijion to make her misable too much to be happy at a dance, an' too little to be happy in prair meetin'." Alas! the type is common a troubled spirit that halts halfway, afraid to go back, and unwilling to go forward. There is no place in the borderland. The halfway Christian is a torment to himself and no benefit to others. Forward.
There is a fable of an old lantern in a shed, which began to boast it had heard its master say he didn't know what he would ever do without it. But the little candle within spoke up and said: "Yes, you'd be a great comfort if it wasn't for me You are nothing; I'm the one that gives the light." We are nothing, but Christ is everything, and what we want is to keep in communion with Him and let Christ dwell in us richly and shine forth through us. D. L. Moody.
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Neighbour, Robert E. "Wells of Living Water Commentary on Matthew 8". "Living Water". https://www.studylight.org/
the Sixth Week after Easter