A man sick of the palsy.
The highest cause for joy
I. The miserable condition of a human being.
II. The power and love of Jesus.
III. thy joyous change produced. (American Homiletical Review.)
Sin and its forgiveness
I. Our faith may be effectual in saving others. The faith of the centurion obtained a cure for his servant. Such instances prove that, in all eases, we may help on the salvation of our friends; that in some cases our faith may stand in the place of theirs. Another one’s faith may do for an infant, a lunatic, for one who has an insurmountable obstacle m the way of coming to Christ. Apply this to the case of sponsors in infant baptism. We are related to God, and members one of another.
II. The connection between disease and sin. Christ goes deeper than the outward evil, to that which is evil-sin. The consequence of sin often traced in suffering. The consequences of past deeds remain.
III. Christ the restorer of health and the forgiver of sin. We have no right to argue there was no repentance: he felt his need of Christ. Christ spoke to the suffering sinner; giving first that we may return to Him of His own. There may be s crowd of evil thoughts, doubts between you and your Saviour; let none of these hinder you. (C. B. Drake, M. A.)
Helplessness and its Master
There are three views of the outward miracles of our Lord, one as marvels of power, as demonstrations of benevolence, as seeing in them a Divine correspondence between the things of nature and the things of the spirit; between the facts of the outer and inner world. Thus, the multiplied bread a visible image of heavenly nourishment.
I. In the text palsy stands for spiritual prostration and indifference. Action and feeling are smitten; but not gone.
II. The condition of the cure. This patient does hear, does believe, and is ready to obey. Let us never despair of another. “They brought him”-notice this neighbourly and vicarious kindness. There are instances when the sick man alone lacks force to arise. In the fulfilment of the necessary condition faith and action are joined, and the action expresses the faith. These persons not only believe abstractly in Christ’s power; they brought their sick neighbour where He was. It was not an experiment with them, but the faith of confident expectation. On our way to cure we have no time for speculation, or curiosity; but to draw near with faith.
III. What he said to the sick of the palsy.
1. A title of endearment and an assurance of hope. Adaptation of Christ’s treatment; he never administers rebuke to self-abasement.
2. The words reveal a deep insight into the relations of physical and moral evil. Pain, the result of sin; hence He removes disobedience, then discomfort.
IV. The low instincts and preferences of the natural man chafe at this divine friendliness. These scribes represent jealous and selfish human nature. This friendliness is too wise, deep, holy, for their low desires. The scribes watch for the chance of hostile criticism. Self-will demands to be saved after its own manner.
V. Here then, in the cavils of these spectators, the divine physician finds a new disorder more deeply struck than the other. His compassion; His patience. He changes the manner of His mercy, and is willing by any means to convince the people that He is Lord. All miracle is one, the cure of sick bodies and sick hearts.
VI. The multitude glorified God. The intended result was reached. (Bp. Huntingdon.)
Good cheer for sad hearts
I. Sin-its relation to the body. Its sphere of action is in “high places; “ mere matter cannot sin. It lives secretly in the soul, but works terribly in the body. As sin works outward through the body, punishment strikes the body on its way to the seat of sin. Here is one of God’s grandest temples lying in ruins; and God incarnate comes to restore it. He came not to deliver the body from the temporal consequences of sin, but the man from its power here, and its presence hereafter.
II. Sin-its removal by the Lord.
1. It is by a free pardon that sin is removed and its eternal consequences averted. There is no other cure.
2. The Saviour to whom this needy man was brought has power to forgive sins. It is the acquired right of Him who bore the law’s curse.
3. Christ has power to forgive on earth. While we are on this earth only.
4. The Son of Man hath power to forgive. The power lies in our brother’s hands.
5. Christ the Saviour, in coming to a sinful man desires his safety hereafter, but also his happiness now-“Son, be of good cheer.” Every man has his own way of seeking “good cheer”; some by money, lands, politics, war. (W. Armlet.)
The efficacy of grace
1. In awakening the dormant powers of the palsied man.
2. In calming the perturbed soul-“Be of good cheer.”
3. In healing both soul and body. (A. F. C. Wallroth.)
The cure of the paralytic
I. That sin is great evil.
II. That faith is a great blessing.
III. That Christ is a great saviour.
1. His knowledge. He knew the real need of the paralytic.
2. His authority. It is good to have been afflicted. (D. Rees.)
The paralytic, or sickness improved
Why does our Saviour begin with the pardon of sin?
1. To display His sovereignty.
2. To show that the soul is the principal care.
3. Perhaps the man suffered more from spiritual distress than from bodily pain.
4. It would seem to emit a ray of His glory, and prove a test to try the dispositions of the company.
Here are several things worthy of notice:-
1. This cure was effected by a word.
2. He was ordered to return home. Christ did not seek His own glory.
3. Fix your eye on Jesus, the most prominent figure in the story.
4. How far the case of the paralytic resembles yours.
The forgiven paralytic
I. The afflicted sufferer brought to the Saviour.
II. The reception given by Christ.
1. Observe what it was that found its way to the heart of Christ. Not his suffering, but faith.
2. Mark the peculiarity of the reception he gave to the paralyzed man-“Son, be of good cheer,” etc.
III. The contradiction of sinners which Jesus had to endure. “This man speaketh blasphemy.”
IV. The great truth taught us by this narrative.
1. All men, till they come into saving contact with Christ, are carrying about with them two heavy burdens.
2. Christ has power to meet every case of accumulated guilt and heart-seated depravity.
3. What then is the nature of this blessing? (P. Morrison.)
The mystery of sickness
1. The connection which subsists between the prevalence of sickness and the invasion of sin.
2. Why it is not always the case that when sin is pardoned sickness is healed. Not for want of power on the part of our Lord. Also in the case of the palsied man it was necessary that He should give to the Jewish people a proof that He possessed the power He claimed; this not necessary now. Christ does even now sometimes heal where all human remedy has failed; but not always. Then the discipline of continued affliction is good, impatience is subdued. Also we have given an evidence of the power of the gospel, in the triumph of grace over nature. (S. Robjohns, M. A.)
The paralytic healed
1. The terrible state of the patient.
2. The charity of his friends.
3. The compassion of Jesus, so ready and comprehensive.
4. The opposition of his enemies.
5. The patient, meek forbearance of our Lord.
6. The triumphant display of His Divine power.
7. Its effect upon the multitude, wonder, not repentance. (The Clergyman’s Magazine.)
The story of a paralytic
One real case of bodily paralysis may help us to picture what above all things we ought to know, the state of our own inner life. I have seen this quoted from the medical records at Paris:-A man was attacked by a creeping paralysis; sight was the first to fail; soon after, hearing went; then, by degrees, taste, smell, touch, and the very power of motion. He could breathe, he could swallow, he could think, and, strange to say, he could speak; that was all; not the very slightest message from without could possibly, it seemed, reach his mind, nothing to tell him what was near, who was still alive; the world was utterly lost to him, and he all but lost to the world. At last, one day, an accident showed that one small place on one cheek had its feeling left. It seemed a revelation from heaven. By tracing letters on that place, his wife and children could speak to him, his dark dungeon-wall was pierced, his tongue had never lost its power, and once more he was a man among men. Strange this, and true; a parable too if we read it aright. The worst kind of paralysis, but, God be thanked, far the rarest of all, is that of the heart and conscience. There never was a man with no affections and no sense of right and wrong. But never must they be pronounced past cure. God alone knows our real state; there is always some tender spot in our nature, some sensitive place on which He can write in characters of love, and it may be some one’s privilege to find it-the thought of a mother, of the days of childhood, of a little one who died, or whatever it be, God- can still use that as a means of cure. (H. S. Swithinbank, M. A.)
Forgiveness, the primary Reed of the sinner
Not, “Be of good cheer, thy health is given thee,” though that he had also; but “ thy sins are forgiven thee.” If a friend should come to a malefactor, on his way to the gallows, put a sweet posy in his hands, and bid him be of good cheer, smell on that; alas! this would bring little joy with it to the poor man’s heart, who sees the place of execution before him. But if one came from his prince with a pardon, put it into his hand, and bade him be of good cheer; this, and this only, would cheer the poor man’s heart, and fill it with a ravishment of joy. Truly, anything short of pardoning mercy is as inconsiderable towards pacifying a troubled conscience, as that posy in the dying prisoner’s hand would be. (Gurnall.)
Christ sees the beginning and the ending of the patient’s ailment
Sin is the well in which it springs, and perdition the sea to which it is flowing. When he looked on disease, he sees its beginning and its ending: his work is to cut short its course, ere it issue in the second death. He looks upward and downward: he will not confine his view to these symptoms which appear in the body, and pertain to time. (W. Arnot.)
Getting the palsied man to Jesus
Many Oriental houses have a court or quadrangle in front; the buildings which form the house occupy one or more of its sides. The internal part of such a house is often screened by a corridor below, having the various household officers behind it, and a gallery above, from which is the entrance to the family apartments. The gallery is roofed over, and its roof is about the same height as the roof of the house. Bearing this in mind we may account for what occurred in this way. The quadrangle was full of people; our Lord instructs them from the gallery: the Pharisees are in the family apartments adjoining the gallery; the friends of the sick man cannot enter the quadrangle from the street; or if this could be done, they cannot reach the corridor, from which there were steps leading to the gallery; they ascend, therefore, the stairs from the back or side of the house leading to the roof, and break open the roof or verandah which covered the gallery. The house-roof was used for a terrace, and was built of strong materials; the gallery-roof was of very slight construction, of the same character as the covered balcony. (Webster and Wilkinson.)
But that ye may know that the Son of Man.
This narrative is remarkable,
1. Because it is evident that while our Lord forgave the sick man’s sins for his own sake, He healed his disease for the sake of those who stood by.
2. Because our Lord claims the power of forgiving sins, not because He is the Son of God, but because He is the Son of Man.
3. It is one of the very rare instances in which a miracle seems to have been performed for the purpose of convincing unbelief. What is this forgiveness? It must be the same thing as human forgiveness. “Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive them that trespass against us.” It therefore cannot mean the remission of punishment. Forgiveness is reconciliation; the offence is no longer allowed to stand between the parties. When God forgives He receives us back to His favour. It is free, full, and outruns our repentance. But He does not destroy the consequences of sin; the punishment remains. But it entirely changes the character of the punishment. What we regarded as the blow of an angry Ruler, becomes the chastisement of a kind Father. Our Lord claims the power of forgiving sins, not because He is the Son of God, but because He is the Son of Man. Why does our Lord thus describe Himself? We are accustomed to think that the pardon of sin is a power possessed by God alone. When Christ calls Himself the Son of Man, He is displaying before our eyes a pattern of what we ought to be, and of powers we ought to possess. Were we perfect beings, the power of forgiving sins would be ours. The ministry of reconciliation is committed to man. The forgiveness of sins is the reconciliation of the sinner to God; people of great personal holiness have the power of reconciling sinners to God. This may fall short of the power to forgive; but it is because the holiest man falls short of the measure of Christ. We may now see why our Lord accepted the challenge of unbelief. He cured the man to show the bystanders that they ought to have like power. It was man, not God, who had made the way of forgiveness hard. Love raised the life that self-righteous scorn had trampled down. (J. P. Wright, M. A.)
The forgiveness of sins
Christ here addressed the soul of the man first; sometimes His first attention was given to the body. From the indiscriminate order of Christ’s procedure in this matter, we like to see how body and soul are equally dear to God. The power which is given to Christ upon earth to forgive sins.
1. There is a beautiful justice in the fact that He who purchased the pardon, at such an untold price of suffering, should be the one to whom it is permitted to have the joy of giving it.
2. At the moment when our blessed Lord said these words the apostles were all standing by; and He did His own work, in His own solitude, to His own glory.
3. In these words “on earth “I read the blessed promise that so long as this earth shall last, more and more wicked though it may grow, He will never leave this earth while it is an earth, but will be always here to do His forgiving work. (J. Vaughan, M. A.)
The forgiveness of sins
I. As the great want of man.
II. As the peculiar achievement of christ.
III. As the primary offer of the gospel. (J. A. Seiss, D. D.)
1. The force of the name “ Son of Man,” implying
2. His grand prerogative-“power on earth to forgive sins.”:Forgiveness is His own right by virtue of His
3. The great blessing-“forgiveness.” “The soul might have been healed and the body untouched; but the paralysis, both moral and physical, was removed.
The Son of Man
“There have been two men in the world,” says St. Paul: “the fallen Adam, with his infantile and undeveloped perfections; and the Christ, with His full and complete humanity.” All other men are fragments; He is the “Entire and perfect Chrysolite.” “Aristotle is but the rubbish of an Adam,” and Adam is but the dim outline sketch of a Jesus. And between the two there have been none. The one Man as God meant Him, the type of man, the perfect humanity, the realized ideal, the home of all the powers of manhood. (Dr. Maclaren.)
The Oriental frequently spreads a mat upon the ground and sleeps in the open air. In the morning he rolls up his mat, and carries it away. (A. Cart, M. A.)
The Rev. H. Wilkins, Cheltenham, in “ Good Cause for Good Cheer,” writes: “It is no general statement, but a personal assurance of the forgiveness of sins. Looking with His own keen glance of love into the sick man’s eyes, He says: ‘Thy sins be forgiven thee.’ The general truth of the pardon of sins is not enough for us, we want a personal forgiveness. One day when Martin Luther was almost overwhelmed with despair in his cell at Erfurth, an old monk tried to comfort him by repeating the article of the Apostles’ Creed, ‘I believe in the forgiveness of sins.’ Luther often repeated the same words. ‘Ah!’ said the good old monk, ‘it is not enough to believe in the forgiveness of David’s sins or Peter’s sins; this the devils believe. God’s command is to believe that our own sins are forgiven.’ This was the assurance that Jesus gave here. He knew this man’s life-history; He knew, probably, that there was a close connection between his suffering and his sin; but whatever his sins were, they were frankly forgiven.”
He saw a man named Matthew sitting at the receipt of custom.
The following Christ
Whom are we to follow, and on what road, and to what place?
I. We are to follow Christ. Do not the soldiers follow their captain? Do not the redeemed follow their deliverer? Do not the disciples follow the teacher? We must follow Him further and further. Immediately, lest we never have the invitation given us again. He has something worthy to be obtained by such as follow Him. Will a man shut his ears to such a merciful invitation? If a rich man were to call a famished man to come into his house and be fed, would tie not instantly follow? The state of those who refuse is one of miserable bondage.
II. What is the way along which he calls us to follow? Christ has opened a new and living way, in every sense of the Word. Our old, corrupt nature dislikes a new was. Christ gives the power, hence no excuse. But is this new way unpleasant? It has good company and entertainment; at the end, the house of the Almighty Father.
III. To what place. (R. W. Evans, B. D.)
The calling of Matthew
I. Consider the event as illustrative of divine grace. God seeks whom He will to serve Him. The change rapid.
II. We are to forsake all inordinate love of riches. Discriminate between the possession of riches and inordinate love of them.
III. Subsequently to his conversion Matthew entertained his master, inviting guests from his former companions-a proof of the sincerity of his conversion. We should silently and sedulously seek others. What mariner, rescued from the fury of the waves, would refuse to extend a charitable hand to his companions who are plunging in the abyss he has escaped. (Pitman.)
The calling of St. Matthew
I. The call.
1. It was a call of sovereignty. There was no miracle; the attraction of personal authority.
2. It was a call of grace. What was there in St. Matthew to recommend him?
3. It was a call of love (1 John 3:1).
II. The answer.
1. It was an answer of faith. He followed because he believed-had trust-in Christ.
2. It was an answer of decision.
3. It was an answer of self-sacrifice. (Canon Titcomb, M. A.)
“A man called Matthew:”
I. His call seemed accidental and unlikely.
II. His call was altogether unthought of and unsought.
1. He was in a degrading business.
2. He was in an ensnaring business.
3. He would not have dared to follow Jesus even if he had wished to do so.
III. His call was given by the Lord, with full knowledge of him. Jesus “saw a man named Matthew.”
1. He saw all the evil that had been in him.
2. He saw his adaptation for holy service.
3. He saw all that He meant to make of him.
IV. His call was graciously condescending.
V. His call was sublimely simple.
1. Few were the words.
2. Clear was the direction.
3. Personal was the address.
4. Royal was the command.
VI. His call was immediately effectual.
1. He followed at once.
2. He followed spiritually as well as literally.
3. He followed wholly.
4. He followed growingly.
5. He followed ever after.
VII. His call was a door of hope for others. (C. H. Spurgeon)
St. Matthew’s Day
I. We may learn also the necessity of our immediate and cheerful obedience to the commands of God. When our Saviour called him to arise and follow Him, He
II. St. Matthew did not answer, “not yet, lord, while so many persons are looking on; at night I will come to Thee. Not yet, Lord, while my fortune is beginning to thrive; another year and I will give up my business.”
1. He arose immediately, and followed Him.
2. With joy, as having attained the highest honour which mortal man could obtain.
3. To prove that joy he makes a great feast: calls together his brother publicans.
4. In defiance of their ridicule or wonder.
III. Compare this conduct with your own. (Bishop Heber.)
St. Matthew’s Day
I. The call; in a word of command, “Follow me”: a word very well befitting the Captain of our salvation, when He was to list soldiers or officers in His militia. Some have not come at the call. Others, though they have come, have not followed Him as they should do.
II. There is something oh our part, when we are called, to be done by us. There must be concurrence and obedient compliance of our will. Else we may resist the word as well as the,Spirit.
III. The obedience-“He arose and followed Him.’ His rising up shows
IV. The constancy.
1. He followed his master to the end.
2. Till His departure.
3. Till his own death. (Adam Littleton, D. D.)
Receipt of custom
Some articles of produce are taxed as they are brought into the town. A booth of branches, or a more substantial hut, is erected at every entrance into the city or village, and there, both day and night, sits a man at the “receipt of custom.” He taxes all the produce, piercing with a long, sharp iron rod the large camel-bags of wheat or cotton, in order to discover concealed copper-wire, or other contraband. (Van Lennep.)
Custom of sitting at work
The people of this country sit at all kinds of work. The carpenter saws, planes, and hews with his hand-adze sitting upon the ground, or upon the plank he is planing. The washer-woman sits by the tub, and, in a word, no one stands where it is possible to sit. Shopkeepers always sit; and Levi sitting at the receipt of custom is the exact way to state the case. (W. M. Thomson, D. D.)
The commencement of a religious life easy for some men
How easy it is for some men to rise and follow Christ, as compared with others. They seem to fall into the way of faith: it is like bringing the sun to bear upon a bud that wants to open, and that is just waiting for light in order that it might unfold its deep and sacred beauty. It is so easy for some men to pray: they seem to be walking up a gentle green slope to meet God at the height of it. When other men try to pray it is like climbing up a rugged, steep rock, some of the stones loose, and if you put your foot upon them you will fall. It is so easy for some men to do the act of benevolence. (J. Parker, D. D.)
When Christ calls, He also draws
“Come,” says the sea to the river. “Come,” says the magnet to the steel. “Come,” says the spring to the sleeping life of the field and forest. And, like the obedience of the river to the sea, of the steel to the stone, of the earth’s charmed atoms to the spring’s effectual call, is the obedience of the soul to Christ’s wondrous spirit. (C. Stanford.)
He that said “ Let there be light,” says now, “Follow me.” That power sweetly inclines which could forcibly command; the force is not more irresistible than the inclination. When the sun shines upon the icicles, can they choose but melt and fall? When it looks into a dungeon, can the place choose but be enlightened? Do we see the jet drawing up straws to it; the loadstone, iron? And do we marvel if the Omnipotent Saviour, by the influence of His grace, attract the heart of a publican? (Bishop Hall.)
1. We must remember how in business may be found a service for Christ.
2. We may learn not to think too much of daily work, and set too great a price on it.
3. We shall seek to give of the fruits of our trading to Christ.
4. The true servant of Christ will be willing to give up, not only of the fruits of daily work, but daily work itself for Christ. (T. Gasquoine, B. A.)
As Jesus sat at meat in the house.
I. Levi’s calling.
II. Levi’s feast.
1. It probably did not immediately follow the call, but was a fit token of the joy of its acceptance.
2. St. Matthew the blessed means of bringing together the Saviour and the lost whom He came to redeem. (A. M. Stuart.)
Publicans and sinners.
Appreciation an elevating influence
You cannot elevate, you cannot improve any man whom you utterly despise. You cannot bring the best out of a man if you do not believe that the best is somewhere in him. There is a shocking insolence in human judgments, and the tendency of them is to crush men down to their own base level, till the whole world is all thistles and all mole-hills, never a mountain and never a forest tree. When Cowper was a Westminster boy, he was despised as a shrinking, moping, ineffectual creature; it was not until the age of fifty, that in the warmth of loving appreciation, like flowers in the sun, the powers unfolded within him, which made him one of the sweetest of English poets. When Clyde became the hero of Plassy and the conqueror of India, his father said that he did not think the booby had so much sense. When Dal-garno, the ablest and most eloquent man of his day, went to an English countess as a candidate for the post of tutor to her sons, she insulted him with the remark that she could not possibly engage a person so stupid. So it is, we judge men not by what they are, not by what they might be, but by our own dull prejudices and ignorant misconceptions.
Men are elevated by an appeal to their best qualities
My brethren, the love that sees goodness and beauty in all human nature helps to make goodness, and to make beauty in human nature. The moon turns but one side to the earth; it has another side in which there may be silver lights and shades undreamed of, seen only by the angels of God. So there are two sides to your character and mine. The woman whom you despise when you meet her as so dull and commonplace is an angel of God to her husband, and the man whom you think so singularly stupid and ineffectual is a very idol to his mother and his sisters. What makes the difference? The man is the same. It is love makes the difference, it is appreciation, it is sympathy. To those in whom the man is not one of a class, he is not a publican or a sinner, or a heretic, or a Samaritan, but he is a human soul, who walks in the transfiguring glory of their affection. You think a person dull-why, that is because you are dull. An angel has been with you and you have known it not, and I imagine that to a spirit full of malice and self-conceit an angel would be very dull. Each human soul is like a cavern full of gems. The casual observer glances into it through some cranny, and all looks dark and sullen and forgotten. But let light enter into it; lift a torch up to the walls, let God’s sunlight fall into it and flood its open recesses, and lo! it will flash with crystals and with amethysts, and each separate crystal will quiver under the touch of brightness with a transporting discovery of its own nature. If souls do not shine before you it is because you bring them no light to make them shine. Throw away your miserable, smouldering, fuming torch of conceit and hatred, lift up to them the light of love, and lo! they will arise and shine; yea, flame and burn with an undreamt of glory. (Canon Farrar.)
They that be whole need not a physician.
The heavenly physician
I. Who neglect the heavenly physician?
1. Those who depend for salvation upon their own good lives.
2. Those who depend for salvation upon their religious duties.
3. Those who depend for salvation upon their correct notions.
II. Those who value the heavenly physician-“They that are sick.” A general invitation to this Physician. Reasons why some of you are still uncured. How will His medicine affect you? Think of His love. (C. Clayton, M. A.)
I. There is a moral disease in the heart and character of man,
1. Depraved mental appetite.
2. The faculty of moral vision is impaired.
3. Moral stupor and lethargic disposition of mind.
4. Feverish excitement of disposition.
5. Moral weakness and want of activity.
II. The peculiar characteristics by which this moral disease is distinguished.
1. Universal in extent.
2. Disastrous in results.
3. Incurable by anything less than Divine energy.
III. The remedy proposed.
1. Universally adapted.
2. Absolutely free.
3. Infallably efficacious. (The Pulpit.)
Jesus the Physician
I. We are all sick. Many are our ailments. Sin the great malady. We need a Physician. The world has no medicines.
II. What a physician he is.
1. He is appointed of God (Isaiah 61:1).
2. He is adapted for it. Understands all cases. Neglects none.
III. The remedy. He makes use of many means of recovery.
1. Sometimes he makes use of the affections as a means of restoring health. How many have to trace that recovery to loss of a dear object!
2. Sometimes He makes use of a reproving conscience.
3. The main remedy is His own precious blood:
Christ the great Physician
I. That sin is the disease of the soul.
1. Sickness destroys our power of action.
2. It deprives a man of rest.
3. It frequently occasions delirium.
4. It deforms the body.
5. It is the forerunner of death.
II. That Jesus Christ is the great physician.
III. That men are generally too insensible of their sins to apply to Christ.
IV. Those who know their true condition are very desirous of his help, (G. Burder.)
The Physician and His patients
I. A defence, complete and unanswerable. Christ did not come despising the people, but as a Healer of the sick.
II. A direction to His followers.
1. Christianity is remedial.
2. Christianity is hopeful. (D. Fraser, D. D.)
The healing work healthy
A physician once told us that he kept himself in health by going to see patients. Whenever he discontinued this, and insisted on patients coming to him, or when he tried to go out of practice altogether, he fell into lethargy, and lost both physical and mental power; but so soon as he resumed active efforts to heal others, his own healthy returned. Let servants and handmaids of Christ take the hint. He who desires sound, strong, spiritual life and health in himself should go and try to heal others, showing patience, sympathy, and hopefulness. This is to walk as Christ walked. (D. Fraser, D. D.)
The characteristics of the whole and sick, in a spiritual sense, considered and contrasted
There are none of the sons of men who are really whole. The whole and sick in contrast are these:
1. He that is whole has never had a clear affecting sight and sense of sin; but he that is sick is fully convicted, and deeply sensible of it.
2. They that are whole are generally easy and serene, and unapprehensive of danger; but the sick soul is alarmed and anxious, and can’t be easy till it perceives some appearances of recovery.
3. They that are whole are unwilling to apply to a physician, or to follow his prescriptions; but to the sick a physician is welcome, and they will submit to his directions, however self-denying. (S. Davies, M. A.)
Christ no specialist
Properly we have amongst ourselves now special studies of special cases. One man undertakes the brain, another the heart, another the blood, it may be, another the bones and joints. This is right, amongst ourselves; for probably hardly any one man has the time, even if he had the capacity, to master with sufficient adequateness all the details and necessities of our wondrous bodily frame. But Jesus Christ said to the leper, “Be thou clean,” to the man sick of the palsy, grievously tormented, “I will come and heal him.” When he went into Peter’s house and saw his wife’s mother laid and sick of the fever, he touched her hand and the fever left her, he put out the fire with his touch. He is no specialist, he has not a necromancer’s power over any one department of human life or human suffering. His healing was fundamental and all-inclusive. He made the well-head pure, and the flowing stream was as pure as the fountain whence it flowed. It is so in spiritual matters. There is not in the Church a doctor who cures lying, and another who makes a special study of drunkenness, and a third who is gifted with peculiar ability in dealing with persons of felonious disposition. There is one Mediator between God and man: he makes the heart right, and then all the accidental local diseases, with all their train of ever-varying symptoms, are cleansed and utterly expelled. (J. Parker, D. D.)
Jesus Christ can attend to all who come to Him at the same moment
I once went with a friend who wanted to see a great physician. But there were ever so many other people waiting to see him, and they went in by turns one by one, and we had to wait a whole hour before our turn came. The physician could not attend to more than one person at a time. But if all you dear children were to pray to the Saviour this evening at the same moment, and tell Him all your wants, He could listen to you all at the same time, and help each of you according to your need. (W. Harris.)
Jesus is always at home
If your little sister was taken very ill and you were sent for the doctor, you would run with all your speed; yet when you came to his house he might be just gone out, and your sister might die before he came home. But this is never the case with Jesus. Whenever you call upon Him, you will find Him. He is always where people can find Him directly they want Him, and you know he can heal people without coming to them in His bodily presence. (W. Harris.)
Unconscious of danger
Sometimes people are in a very dangerous state, and yet they do not feel pain. In a sad railway accident which happened some time ago, a young lady was taken out of one of the carriages, and she said she was not hurt at all, she felt no pain. She stood up and tried to walk and then fell back dead. She had received a very serious injury, and yet she did not feel it at the moment. So it was with these Pharisees, they had a sin within their hearts which would ruin them if it was not taken away. That sin was pride. This sin is so dangerous, because it keeps people from feeling how sinful they are, and so keeps them from coming to Jesus Christ to be healed. (W. Harris.)
Christ the Physician of souls
I. Sin is the sickness of the soul. It is the disease of the soul that makes the sinner a sick man.
1. Sickness brings pain and torment to the body, so does sin to the soul.
2. Sickness takes away the beauty of the body. Sin spoils the beauty of the soul.
3. Diseases are death’s carols which are sent; before it to bind the prisoner. Sin tends to spiritual and eternal deeds, and will bring it on if it be not cured,
II. What is in sin that sickens the soul?
1. The guilt of it the obligation to punishment.
2. The stain. It brings a blot with it, that defiles the soul.
3. The reigning power of it. Sin keeps its throne. It commands and receives obedience.
4. The indwelling power of it.
III. What are the properties of soul sickness?
1. It is spiritual. They are the most dangerous disorders that affect the vital parts.
2. It is an universal sickness, spreading itself through the whole man. All the faculties of the soul are injured and disordered by it. It darkens the mind, wounds the conscience, pollutes the heart, disorders the affections, and weakens the memory for good.
3. It is an infectious sickness.
4. It is hereditary, natural to us. We are born with it.
5. It is a growing disease.
6. It is mortal disease.
IV. Is sin the sickness of your soul?
1. Go quickly to the Physician for the cure of the disease of the soul which you labour under, Delay no longer.
2. Time is flying. No medicine will cure that wound, no argument will persuade it to return. Yesterday has taken its eternal farewell. The candle burnt to the snuff will not light again. Your only time is the present.
3. Death is approaching. If death take us away raider the power of that sickness, there is no cure for it hereafter, if.
4. Make frequent application to Christ. Such people as can take little food at once, had need to take it frequently, Alas! the few addresses which we make to the throne of grace, look like as we thought ourselves whole, little needing the Physician. (Thomas Boston.)
Christ’s way of caring souls
Three things concur to the care of the soul.
I. The blood of Christ.
II. The spirit of Christ.
III. The word of Christ.
1. “He sent His word and healed them.”
2. The waters of the sanctuary are healing waters. (Thomas Boston.)
Christ cures all who come to Him
Why does He undertake and perform the cure of souls?
I. Because he has his father’s commission for that effect.
II. Because of his love and pity to men. Love provided the remedy and applies it also.
III. Because he hath been at vast expense to prepare the remedy and medicine for their souls.
IV. For his own glory.
1. The glory of the Mediator is highly exalted by His curing sick souls.
2. The glory of God is displayed in the cure.
3. Had the sick been left to be swallowed up by death, justice would have been exalted, but now justice, mercy, grace, and truth, are all glorified in their salvation through Christ. (Thomas Boston.)
Christ the Physician of souls
Come to Him for the cure of your spiritual diseases.
I. You have need of him. Let necessity drive you to Him. The less you see your need, the more need you have of Him. Some diseases are very common among us.
1. Blindness of the eyes of the mind.
2. Spiritual dumbness.
3. Hardness of heart.
4. Falling evil of backsliding.
5. Pride and self-conceit.
6. Decay of grace.
II. Christ is skilful.
1. He knows what will suit your disease.
2. He is successful. Seine diseases are the reproach of medicine; none can baffle Him.
III. He cures freely.
1. Other physicians are enriched by their patients, but He enricheth His making them heirs of glory.
2. He is the only physician.
3. Either you must die or come to film. (Thomas Boston.)
I will have mercy and not sacrifice.
Mercy preferred to sacrificed
God prefers it.
I. Because it indicates more clearly man’s relation to Himself. Cannot judge of man’s character by outward ordinances, but when he straggles against sin.
II. Because it is more serviceable to our neighbours, Religious exercises may do us good, a pure life useful to others as well.
III. Because it brings the greatest happiness to us. (Seeds and Saplings.)
Instituted religion not intended to undermine natural
I. That natural religion is life foundation of all instituted and revealed religion. Our Lord owns that which the Pharisees objected, but purified it-
1. By telling them that it was allowed to a physician no converse with the sick in order to their cure.
2. By endeavouring to convince them of the true nature of religion, and of the order of the several duties thereby required.
Natural and moral duties more obligatory than ritual and positive; showing mercy is a prime instance of these moral duties - sacrifice is an instance of positive and ritual observances.
1. That the Jewish Scriptures everywhere speaks of these as the main duties the Jewish religion.
2. That no instituted service of God, no positive part of religion, was ever acceptable to Him, when these were neglected Isaiah 1:11; Jeremiah 7:1; Jeremiah 7:5).
3. The great design of the Christian religion is to restore and reinforce the practice of the natural law (Titus 2:11-12; James 1:27).
II. That no revealed religion was ever destined to take away the obligation of natural duties, but to establish them.
1. That all revealed religion calls men to the practice of natural duties.
2. The most perfect revelation that ever God made, furnishes helps for the performance of moral duties.
3. The positive rites of revealed religion are shown to be subordinate to them. (J. Tillotson, D. D.)
The Saviour’s tenderness
It is a characteristic of all false religions to make more of the outward sacrifices we could offer to God than of the infinite mercy He is willing to show to us.
I. The tenderness of the Saviour’s character.
1. In connection with what has been revealed to us concerning His mission and life and work. This harmonizes with all the prophetic intimations given of His character. The tenderness of His character has accompanied Him to heaven, a permanent condition of His nature.
II. View this compassionate attribute of our Lord in its bearing in some of the experiences of the christian life.
1. How should we be comforted by it under our early convictions of sin, and doubts of the Divine forgiveness.
2. It should be comforting under the weakness of our failing hearts, when it is hard to grasp the promise, and faith is uncertain.
3. As it bears upon our slow progress in the Divine life, and fluctuations of religious feeling.
4. In adversity and temptation the Christian has a strong refuge in Christ’s tenderness.
5. In death he feels the Saviour’s tenderness. (D. Moore, M. A.)
The religion of tenderness
A domestic illustration of this principle occurs to me. Suppose that when a father is engaged in earnest prayer for the salvation of the world, there rings through the house the cry of one of his children in pain, perhaps in danger, will he be doing ]fight to spring to his feet and go to the little one’s help? Certainly he will. Let it be remembered that God is a Father, and there will be no two thoughts about that. And, as for the prayer for the world’s salvation, God can and will open His ear when you go again to speak to Him, and the salvation of mankind will be none the farther off, but somewhat nearer, because you succoured your little one. I will put it from the child’s point of view. What do you think would be his conception of God if he knew that God would not allow his father to come and help him when he was in trouble? I will put it, so to say, from God’s point of view. What would He think of those who supposed Him to be indifferent to a child’s cry? (J. P. Gledstone.)
I came not to call the righteous.-
The main object of Christ’s ministry, to call sinners to repentance
1. He calls sinners by making appeals to the conscience.
2. By preaching an all-sufficient atonement for sin.
3. By means of an offer of reconciliation.
4. By raising in their minds hopes of future glory. (R. Burgess, B. D.)
Christ not for the self-righteous
A young man was recommended to Diogenes for a pupil; and his friends, thinking to give Diogenes a good impression concerning his intending disciple, were very lavish in his praises. “Is it so?” said the old philosopher; “if the youth is so well accomplished to my hands, and his good qualities are already so many, he has no need of my tuition.” As little are self-righteous people fit for Christ. (Toplady.)
Christ for the needy
Suppose a man of learning, in company with two persons: the one really ignorant, but highly conceited of his knowledge, and consequently unteachable; the other ignorant too, but sensible of it, and therefore desirous of instruction. Suppose he should turn from the self-conceited creature, and carry on conversation with the other, who was likely to profit by it: and suppose the former should resent it, and say, “If he were indeed a scholar, as he pretends to be, he would not be fond of the society of such an ignorant dunce, but would rather choose me for a companion.” How properly might a teacher reply, “Oh, you are a wise man, and have no need of instruction-but this poor ignorant creature is sensible of his want of instruction, and therefore, it is most fit I should converse with him.” Such a reply has a peculiar pungency and mortifying force in it, and such Jesus used in the case before us. (President Davies.)
The sinner awakened
Suppose some of you, who have come here to-day vigorous and healthy, should suddenly discover the spots of a plague broken out all over you, how it would strike you with surprise and horror! Such is the surprise and horror of the awakened sinner, thus he is alarmed and amazed. (President Davies.)
Can the children of the bride-chamber mourn?
The joy of the Jesus circle
“The children of the bride-chamber,” how much this name tells us as to the spirit that reigns in the Jesus circle. Like a wedding party. This bliss was not an accident, or an affair of temperament. It was the natural effulgence of the new life imparted to those who joined the society of Jesus. Christ was a man of joy. He had
1. They had the joy of fresh religious intuitions.
2. The joy of spiritual freedom. (A. B. Bruce, D. D.)
Right response to circumstances
Let there be liberty in God while there may; girding up in ourselves, by forced exercise and discipline, when there must; let the soul go by inspiration when the gale of the Spirit is in it, anti when it has any way stifled or lost the Spirit, let it put itself down upon duty by the will; when the Divine movement is upon it, let it have its festal day with the bridegroom, and when the better presence fades or vanishes, let it set itself to ways of self-compulsion, moving from its own human centre. (Horace Bushnell, D. D.)
Liberty and Discipline
We may figure in a certain coarse analogy, that we live in a city having two supplies of water for its aqueduct: one upon high ground back of it, whence the water runs down freely along the inclinations of the surfaces; and the other in some lake or river on its front; whence, in case that fails, or the ducts give way, a supply is to be received by forcing, or the dead lift of the pump. (Horace Bushnell, D. D.)
With Messiah begins the holy union between the soul and God, so often declared by the prophets. The first hour of spiritual espousals must needs he one of joy. A sorrowful moment will soon come; there are sure tokens of it already in the malice of the rulers of the hierarchy, ready to break forth on every occasion. (E. de Pressense, D. D.)
Putting ourselves in position for God
The navigator of a ship does nothing for the voyage, save what he does by setting the ship to her courses, and her sails to the wind. A seed must have position, else it cannot grow; if it is laid on a rock, or buried in sand, or sunk in water, or frozen up in ice, it will be inert as a stone; but in good warm soil, and sun, and rain, and dew, it will quicken easily enough, because it is in position. A tree will die out of position, a clock will stop out of position, a plough wants holding, a saw wants guiding, a compass wants setting; nothing in the world works rightly that has not position given it. (H. Bushnell, D. D.)
A piece of new cloth unto an old garment.
Christ the great Innovator
The boldness with which Christ asserted the novelty of Christianity. His was not the apologetic, half-hearted tone, so common amongst those who have some thing fresh to tell the world.
I. In what respect was the gospel of Jesus new?
1. In its idea of God. Jesus was the first to teach effectively the Fatherhood of God. The legal idea of God fell into desuetude. The old Jewish view of God was as an exactor; the new God of Jesus was a giver.
2. Along with the new idea of God came naturally a new conception of the kingdom of God; rather than law, it was viewed as love.
3. These thoughts were accompanied by a new way of life, the typical feature of which was neglect of fasting, which meant a conscience freed from legal scrupulosity.
II. The courage of Jesus was not less conspicuous than his originality in thought and conduct.
1. As He believed, so He spoke publicly, habitually.
2. He was equally unreserved in His action.
3. He was fearless in defence of His conduct when assailed.
4. The gloomy foreboding was not a mistaken one. The Bridegroom was taken from the sorrowing society. The duty arising out of these facts. To glorify Christ as the Maker of the new world. How is this to be done?
I. By recognizing to the full extent the service rendered, by forming to ourselves a broad, comprehensive idea of the vast change introduced into the world by the action of our Saviour.
2. By becoming ourselves children of the new era, appreciating and using to the fall the liberty of a Christian man. (A. B. Bruce, D. D.)
It is wrong-
I. In ritual.
II. In theology.
III. Is human character.
1. Disfigurement-“agreeth not.”
2. Injury “the rent is made worse.” (U. R. Thomas.)
The parable of the new piece of cloth
By an old garment I understand is meant a man’s own righteousness. It may be so compared.
1. Because it is old as Adam.
2. Because it is worn out.
3. It was once a new, good garment.
4. It needs mending.
But why is righteousness compared to a garment?
1. Because it is to cover nakedness.
2. Because it covers the shame of mankind.
3. Because of the usefulness of it.
4. In respect of ornament.
5. Because it tends to keep a man warm in winter.
6. It preserves from thorns and briars. (B. Keach.)
New wine into old bottles.
Garments and wine skins
By these illustrations our Lord conveyed a lesson on the charm of naturalness and the law of congruity in religion,
1. As old cloth and new cloth are one in being cloth, old wine and new are one in being wine; so the religion before Christ and that which He introduced are essentially one in kind, if not in quality.
2. The effect of the forced junction of the old and new would be injurious to both. (D. Fraser, D. D.)
What is meant by old bottles?
Why is the carnal heart compared to an old bottle
1. Because a bottle is a proper receptacle of liquor, so is the heart of man a proper receptacle of Divine knowledge, grace, joy, etc.
2. Because a bottle of itself is an empty thing, and must be filled; so the heart of man is naturally empty of good.
3. Because a broken bottle cannot hold new wine, nor can an unrenewed heart hold saving peace, joy, etc. (B. Keach.)
Making skin bottles
As soon as the animal (goat) is killed, an opening is made in the skin large enough to introduce the lips, and a man begins to blow between the skin and the flesh until the two are completely separated from each other throughout. The head and feet are then cut off, and the entire body of the animal is drawn out of its skin through the opening at the neck. The hair is sometimes partially removed and the skin tanned. In Persia the skins are saturated with pitch. The opening at the neck is used for filling and emptying the vessel, while the four feet are tied or sewed up. The grape-juice which is to undergo the process of fermentation is put into skins, which are either entirely new or which have been carefully examined and found able to withstand the pressure.
And touched the hem of His garment.
I. How many evils sin hath brought into the world.
II. We are too much disposed to seek human help instead of going directly to God.
III. However deep-seated and desperate the condition of the soul’s health, the Saviour can help us.
IV. The secrecy with which the afflicted woman sought help of Jesus.
V. The impression which the suffering woman had formed of Jesus. (J. H. Norton.)
Christ the Healer
The sinner and the Saviour.
I. The way in which these two are thrown together. As we say by chance this woman crosses His path; it was a by-errand of the Son of Man.
II. The occasion of their being brought together. It is the incurability of her disease by earthly skill that throws her upon the heavenly Physician. Man’s failure brings her to One who cannot fail.
III. The point of connection between them.
IV. The woman’s need of Christ.
V. Christ’s need of the woman. The sun needs the earth as truly as the earth needs the sun. You may say, What would the earth be without the sun? Yes; but what would the sun be without an earth to shine upon? What would become of its radiance? All wasted. It would shine in vain. So Christ needed objects for the exercise of His skill, love, and power. The Lord hath need of us.
VI. The woman’s thoughts of Christ. She is modest, earnest, humble; so full of faith that she deems a touch enough. Like the garden, He cannot but give out His fragrance. The simplest form of connection with Him will accomplish the cure. (A. Bonar, D. D.)
Faith’s approach to Christ
I. Faith comes with a deep despair of all other help but Christ’s.
II. Faith has a Divine power to discover Christ.
III. Faith comes with an implied trust in Christ.
IV. Faith seeks for its comfort, close contact with Christ.
V. Faith, with all its imperfections, is accepted by Christ.
VI. Faith feels a change from the touch of Christ. (J. Ker, D. D.)
The patient of many physicians
I. One touching out of many pressing on Jesus. There was love, power, and nearness enough for all the crowd, yet only one touched Christ for healing. We are near Christ in the house of God and at the holy table, yet perhaps do not by faith touch.
II. Her case is the worst of all.
1. She is the weakest in all the crowd, yet she presses through till she reaches Jesus. Our inability a needful lesson, but earnestness is a power. By grace are we saved. There is always a crowd between Christ and the inquiring soul-a crowd of past sins, evil spirits, etc.
2. She is the vilest of all, the most unfit to touch the Holy One, for her very touch defiles. Christ is cleansing for the vile.
3. Her coming is the worst-timed of all applications; it was unseasonable. He was in the midst of another case. The coming ill-timed He does not refuse.
4. Her coming seems to be in the very worst way; none other appears to have come so ill. She comes by stealth.
III. Her immediate healing.
1. Her coming to be healed is late, and yet immediate; late in reference to the past, immediate in the haste of this afternoon. The reason humbling, because she has spent all. The sinner does not come to Christ first, but after every other refuge has failed.
2. Her cure is immediate, complete, conscious.
3. She cannot depart in health without confessing Christ the Healer. The coiner need not, but the follower must bear the cross of Christ; it is lighter to bear afterward. (A. M. Stuart.)
The issue of blood healed
I. The woman’s condition, and touch, and cube.
1. Her condition represents that of every sinner.
2. Difference between her touch and that of the crowd.
3. Her faith successful, though imperfect and mixed with error.
II. Why did not Jesus leave the woman in the concealment she sought?
1. That she may confess and glorify Christ before others.
2. That He may confess her and confirm her faith, and confer upon her further and higher blessings.
3. He adds a further and spiritual blessing-“Go in peace.” This a word of power. (T. M. Macdonald, M. A.)
The true Healer tried last
Was not the same struggle seen in the case of Luther, issuing, too, in the same result? That cell in Erfurth heard sounds and saw sights of conflict and sorrow enough to make our hearts bleed. What tears that monk shed, what prayers he offered, what lacerations he inflicted upon his flesh to chase away its lusts, what hunger he endured that he might starve his appetites to submission, until he nearly killed the body in seeking to kill its sins, and he was found once and again nearly lifeless on the floor! But what of his sins? They were as vigorous as ever. Plied by many physicians, they yielded not; scourge, hunger, thirst, nightly vigils, all failed; and he had spent nearly all that he had, and was “ nothing the better, but rather the worse.” Nearly all, I say, for he had still a little left. One more physician he had not tried, and that was the eternal city of Rome, which he must see; and there, amid its sanctities and miracles, he must and a perfect cure. He must climb on his bare knees the wondrous stairs of the Santa Scala, and there the burden will roll from his soul for ever. But the burden presses heavier as he climbs; and in the moment of his blackest despair, a remembered text rings in his ears like music from heaven’s gate, “The just shall live by faith,” and he rushes from the scene rejoicing in Christ Jesus, and putting no confidence in the flesh. Thus it is that men must despair before they can hope. (E. Mellor, D. D.)
An imperfect faith no hindrance to moral cure
The sun can send some of its light and heat through very murky skies, and the Sun of Righteousness can do the same, and even more. (E. Mellor, D. D.)
There may be much earthly rubbish in the soul that comes to Christ; but if there be in it one gleaming grain of the gold of faith, Christ will receive that soul with all its rubbish; for He knows well that in due time all that is worthless will drop away, that the eye of faith will sweep over a vaster horizon of truth from day to day, until we shall be light in the Lord, and shall not walk in darkness. (E. Mellor, D. D.)
Moral healing sought from selfish desire
Most of the religion of mankind begins in what may be viewed as selfishness, and then becomes transformed into love. Most of religion did I say? I might have said, the natural life of every one of us from childhood has followed the same law. Where is the child that began life with love? Life begins with hunger and other needs. The infant is a bundle of imperious and constant necessities. It loves no one, can love no one. Love has to be begotten, to be wakened up little by little as months roll on, and the expanding babe learns who it is that feeds and fondles it, whose arms they are that enfold it, whose face it is that reflects upon it the very light of heaven. Can anything be more selfish than the cries of the child which seeks nourishment and comfort, caring nothing from whom they come if they do but come? But can anything be more unselfish than the love which at length rises up in the soul? A love which makes the name of mother the sweetest, dearest name on earth; a love which will traverse seas and not be chilled by distance, and which feels that no tears are too many which are shed on the grave where she rests in peace. We cannot begin our Christian life at the highest point, or with the highest motives, any more than our natural life. (E. Mellor, D. D. )
The woman’s idea in touching the hem
The notions which the woman entertained of Christ were very confused. She was timid and shrinking-a woman probably of a sensitive temperament, her nervous system possibly injuriously affected by her disease; but only ignorance and superstition could have suggested the idea of a furtive touch of our Lord’s garments. (H. Allen, D. D.)
Sense helps to faith
Some instrumentality for connecting the faith of our souls with Christ we all, perhaps, require. Without it the faith even of the strongest might have difficulty in realizing Christ. Sense is the minister of the soul. We grasp Christ best when the hand of spiritual faith rests upon sensible things; only let us be sure that it is the Christ our spirits grasp, and not the mere sensible thing. (H. Allen, D. D.)
Brazen figures at Caesarea Philippi
This woman was a native of Caesarea. At the gates of her house, on an elevated stone, stands a brazen image of a woman on her bonded knee, with her hands stretched out before her, like one entreating. Opposite to this there is another image of a man erect, of the same materials, decently clad in a mantle, and stretching out his hand to the woman. Before her feet, and on the same pedestal, there is a certain strange plant growing, which, rising as high as the hem of the brazen garment, is a kind of antidote to all kinds of diseases. This figure is a statue of Jesus Christ, and it has remained even until our times, so that we ourselves saw it whilst tarrying in that city. (Eusebius.)
The woman had not to undergo u tedious process, but was cured straightway. Physicians require time, and must use proper means. They physic you and diet you, and thus cure you gradually. The Redeemer never physicked or dieted His patients. He cured them straightway. (J. C. Jones.)
The cure was perfect-not better, but whole-every whit. All traces of the disease vanished. Complete-perfect. (J. C. Jones.)
Faith foes to Christ
Can you tell why the needle trembles to the pole? The buds feel their way to the spring? Flowers to sunlight? They are made for it, and souls are so made for Christ. (Dr. J. Ker.)
“If I may:”
I. “if i may” be allowed.
1. There is nothing to forbid your coming and resting your guilty soul upon Christ.
2. The very nature of the Lord Jesus Christ should forbid your raising a doubt about your being permitted to come and touch his garment’s hem.
3. Think of the fulness of Christ’s power to save and make a little argument of it.
4. Suppose you do come, you will not injure Him.
5. You shall rather benefit than injure Him.
6. Others just like you have ventured to Him, and have not been refused.
II. But can I? Faith in Christ is the simplest action that anybody ever performs.
III. “I shall be made whole.” (C. H. Spurgeon.)
1. “She said within herself,” etc.
2. Came behind Christ.
1. Came when Christ was engaged.
2. Touched His hem.
III. Undoubtingly. “I shall be whole.” Her faith was undoubting, therefore strong to overcome difficulties.
1. Subjective difficulty.
2. Objective difficulty.
3. Undoubting, hence strong to draw blessings from Christ. (J. S. Swan.)
Faith in its manifestations
We may regard the act of this woman as an expression of her faith.
1. Faith is a simple thing as an act. You exercise it when you consult your physician. In religious experience acts of faith are simple, but behind them there is a mental state, mysterious and sublime.
2. Great faith is compatible with great modesty. There may be great faith before God, yet fear before men.
3. Great faith is compatible with great ignorance.
4. Faith saves and then becomes an incentive to holiness. (F. C. Polton, D. D.)
The maid is not dead, but sleepeth.
The healing of Jairus’s daughter
On His way to perform one act of love, He turned aside to give His attention to another; He had a heart ready to respond to every species of need. Love is universal, humanity is the sphere of its activity. Delay was only apparent; it was impossible to convey a spiritual blessing to one who was not spiritually susceptible. The soul of Jairus by the miracle wrought on the woman was made more capable of blessing than before. This is the principle of the spiritual kingdom.
I. The uses of adversity.
1. The simplest and most obvious use of sorrow is to remind of God.
2. The misuse of sorrow. We may defeat the purposes of God in grief by forgetting it, or by over-indulging it. Sorrow is the school for all that is highest in us.
II. To come to the principles on which a miracle rests.
1. The perception of it was confined to the few. Peter, James, John, and the parents. Spiritual susceptibility necessary.
2. It is the intention of a miracle to manifest the Divine in the common and ordinary. They show that Christ is the Saviour of the body. (F. W. Robertson, M. A.)
God confers His gifts with distinct reminders that they are His
He gives us for a season spirits taken out of His universe brings them into temporary contact with us: and we call them father, mother, sister, child, friend. But just as in some places, on one day in the year, the way or path is closed in order to remind the public that they pass by sufferance and not by right, in order that no lapse of time may establish “adverse possession,” so does God give warning to us. Every ache and pain: every wrinkle you see stamping itself on parent’s brow: every accident which reveals the uncertain tenure of life and possessions: every funeral bell that tolls-are only God’s reminders that we are tenants at will and not by right-pensioners on the bounty of an hour. He is closing up the right of way, warning fairly that what we have is lent, not given: His, not ours. (F. W. Robertson, M. A.)
The shaggiest use of sorrow is to remind of God
Jairus and the woman, like many others, came to Christ from a sense of want. It would seem that a certain shock is needed to bring us into contact with reality, We are not conscious of our breathing till obstruction makes it felt. We are not aware of the possession of a heart till some disease, some sudden joy or sorrow, rouses it into extraordinary action. And we are not conscious of the mighty cravings of our half Divine humanity; we are not aware of the God within us, till some chasm yawns which must be filled, or till the rending asunder of our affections forces us to become fearfully conscious of a need. (F. W. Robertson, M. A.)
Jesus moved by all kinds of sorrow
Here, too, we find the Son of man the pattern of our humanity. His bosom was to mankind what the ocean is to the world. The ocean has its own mighty tide; but it receives and responds to, in exact proportion, the tidal influences of every estuary, and river, and small creek which pours into its bosom. So it was in Christ; His bosom heaved with the tides of our humanity: but every separate sorrow, pain, anti joy gave its pulsation, and received back influence from the sea of His being. (F. W. Robertson, M. A.)
The ruler’s daughter
1. On the way to the Ruler’s house, Jesus meets with an unlooked-for cause of delay. It must have been trying for the ruler to see Jesus stop and ask, “Who touched Me?” But he is patient.
2. Meanwhile chose at home are witnessing the death of the child. Unbelief says it is useless to trouble the Master any more. On our providential blessings the Lord writes death before He grants resurrection and life. Sight has gone; he must walk by faith.
The dead child restored:-
1. Jesus is the Resurrection and the Life, and He restores out of death in all its stages.
2. Jesus bid them not to weep, because the maiden is not dead, but only asleep. The body sleeps, not the soul.
3. Christ raises her with His word; for the hour is coming when all who are in their graves shall hear the voice of the Son of God and live.
4. Jesus commands that something be given her to eat. Let young converts be duly nourished by word and doctrine, then let them go and work for Christ.
5. The parents are enjoined to tell no man; they are to make no noise about her, but to keep the child and the matter quiet. She was to be brought up quietly in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. (A. M. Stuart.)
The insolence of sense, as opposed to faith
The eye of faith can discern what to the eye of sense is often invisible; and looks with simple conviction to what the other as simply rejects. “They laughed Him to scorn,” etc. And were they not right as far as their knowledge went? Could not Jesus who had opened the eyes of the blind raise the dead? They might have reasoned thus. They were too wise in their own conceit to think of looking with the eye of faith. How often does this strange levity of the people of Capernaum take the rein of men’s thoughts even in the most solemn subjects-the doctrines of Christianity; the sacraments-which appeal to no outward sense-they will “augh to scorn.” So to with the humble duties of the Christian and the lowly means with which he works; how often treated with contempt. How much there is in which a devoutly-trained faith may discern truth and comfort and promise of good, where the mere human eye might discover nothing but perplexity or disappointment. (J. Puckle, M. A.)
A science of palmistry
“Thy hand-are not all hands alike.) Is there a science of Palmistry-are there those who read the man in the hand-are not all grips of the same intensity? Why say, “Thy hand”-could no other hand be found? We are sometimes shut up to the help of one man, even in our lower life. “O for our own doctor: his very voice would do the patient good. O for our own physician; he knows just what to give when the sufferer is in this crisis of agony. O for our old mother: there was healing, there was comfort in her gentle hand. O for the old father-if he had been here he would have found the key to open this gate. O for the old pastor that first showed us the light and brought us to prayer-he would know what to say to us just now.” We have, therefore, analogy to help us in this matter. In the great crises of life there is often only one hand that can help us. (J. Parker, D. D.)
I joined the mourners on the third day. Directly I entered the house, I heard the minstrels and the loud cries of the people. Professional mourners were in constant attendance to keep up the excitement, and dances and dirges succeeded each other, with intervals of wild and hysterical weeping and shrieking. There are girls who have a morbid taste for the excitement, and are celebrated for the facility with which they fall into fits of uncontrollable weeping. The real mourners and the amateur actresses in these scenes are usually ill afterwards, but the professional assistants do not appear to suffer from the fatigue or excitement, and they do not lose their self-control for a moment (Mrs. Rogers.)
Differing expressions of grief
The South and North differ greatly from each other in this respect. The nations of the North restrain their grief-affect the tearless eye, and the stern look. The expressive South, and all the nations whose origin is from thence, are demonstrative in grief. They beat their breasts, tear their hair, throw dust upon their heads. It would be unwise were either to blame or ridicule the other, so long as each is true to Nature. Unwise for the nations of the South to deny the reality of the grief which is repressed and silent. Unjust in the denizen of the North were he to scorn the violence of the Southern grief, or call its uncontrollable demonstrations unmanly. Much must be allowed for temperament. (F. W. Robertson.)
The death of children
Ah! we sometimes, I fear, compel Jesus to take away our children, that through the bereavement He may overcome and melt savingly our callous hearts. It mindeth one of another little story worth telling. A shepherd had folded safely and well a flock of ewes-all save one, which would not enter, do what he would. The gate was flung wide open, and with all gentle restraint he sought to guide it in, sparing it the rough bark of his dog. But no! still it would run back. At last, for the shades of evening were falling, and folded all must be, if he were not to be too late for home himself, he sprang out, seized her lamb, raised it tenderly to his bosom, laid it right upon his heart, as he would his own nestling babe, and carrying it within the fold placed it down there. Then, ah! then, the poor ewe ran in after her little lamb, and was saved with it. It is a parable. But fathers, mothers, still away from the Good Shepherd, and grieving sorely over your Willie or Mary, will you not run in after your little lamb? Will you compel Him to take another and another? (Grosart.)
A dying daughter
As a little girl of four lay dying, the following conversation took place between her father and herself. “Papa, does the doctor think I am going to die?” With a bursting heart, her father told her the truth. “Papa, the grave looks very dark. Won’t you go down with me into it?” “I cannot go until the Lord calls me.” “Then, papa, won’t you let mamma go with me?” It almost broke the father’s heart to utter the same truth as before. Turning her face to the wall, she wept; but then, having before this been taught of God, prayed. Soon, therefore, she looked up with a joyful face and said, “Papa, the grave is not dark now, Jesus will go with me!”
Then touched He their eyes.
The opened eye
The power, glory, rewards of faith form the theme of this chapter.
I. The faith described in the text was the first outgrowth and expression of a deep and lively sense of wretchedness and darkness. Faith often springs out of such convictions; it Also amounts to a conviction that light is possible.
II. The faith in this instance was intelligent. They had settled it in their minds that Jesus was the Son of David, that He had come to open the eyes of the blind. Their faith conceived the grandeur of His mission. Faith is not merely an emotion; it is a conviction of the understanding.
III. This faith of the blind men was eager and importunate. They followed Jesus. It was not crushed by having to wait for mercy.
IV. The faith of these individuals was A personal experience.
V. The faith here referred to appreciated Christ’s power to save.
VI. The faith here mentioned appropriates and applies the Divine Power to its own case. (H. R. Reynolds, B. A.)
The blind men restored to sight
1. A simple prayer. Their prayer was
II. An important inquiry. “Believe, ye,” etc.
1. What it involves. The dignity of Christ.
2. On account of the principle it sets forth. He required no personal worthiness in those He cured; faith only.
3. Because of its spiritual application. Faith stands in same relation to healing of the soul.
III. A gracious act.
1. When He did so-as soon as they professed faith.
2. The words with which the act was accompanied.
3. The result that ensued.
IV. An express injunction. “See that no man know it.” The reasons:-
1. The malice of His enemies.
2. The misguided zeal of the multitude.
3. The manner in which it was regarded. (Expository Outlines.)
The measure of the faith, the measure of the gift
1. The broad law of the gospel is that God gives all He gives to faith.
2. That the measure of faith is the measure of His gift.
3. The chief ways to multiply faith are
The ways of Eastern poor folk
Most of the poor make their wants known to the public by begging. Paralytics are laid down at the doors of the rich, or of the church or mosque, with the idea that men are most inclined to be charitable when they come from the house of feasting or of prayer. The blind lift up their voices as they grope their way from door to door along the streets. (Van Lennep.)
Our Lord’s question to the blind men
I. The seekers.
the two blind men.
1. They were in downright earnest.
2. They were thoroughly persevering.
3. They had a definite object in their prayers.
4. They honoured Christ in their prayers.
5. They confessed their unworthiness.
II. The question which was put to them.
1. It concerned their faith.
2. It concerned their faith in Jesus-“Believe ye that I am able to do this?”
3. Believe ye that I am able to do this? Some think their hearts too hard.
III. That question was a very reasonable one. Else why do you pray?
IV. The answer.
1. It was distinct.
2. It was immediate.
V. Our Lord’s response to their answer. (C. H. Spurgeon)
Faith receptive of blessing
“Why is faith so essential” It is because of its receptive power. A purse will not make a man rich, and yet without some place for his money how could a man acquire wealth. Faith of itself could not contribute a penny to salvation, but it is the purse which hold: a precious Christ within itself, yea, it holds all the treasures of Divine love. If a man is thirsty a rope and a bucket are not in themselves of much use to him, but yet, sirs, if there is a well near at hand the very thing that is wanted is a bucket and a rope, by means of which the water can be lifted. Faith is the bucket by means of which a man may draw water out of the wells of salvation, and drink to his heart’s content. You may sometimes have stopped a moment at a street fountain, and have desired to drink, but you found you could not, for the drinking-cup was gone. The water flowed, but you could not get at it. It was tantalizing to be at the fountain-head and yet to be thirsty still for want of a little cup. Now faith is that little cup, which we hold up to the flowing stream of Christ’s grace: we fill it, and then we drink and are refreshed. Hence the importance of faith. It would have seemed to our forefathers an idle thing to lay down a cable under the sea from England to America and it would be idle now if it were not that science has taught us how to speak by lightning: yet the cable itself is now of the utmost importance, for the best inventions of telegraphy would be of no use for purposes of transatlantic communication if there were not the connecting wire between the two continents, Faith is just that; it is the connecting link between our souls and God, and the living message flashes along it to our souls. Faith is sometimes weak and comparable only to a very slender thread; but it is a very precious thing for all that, for it is the beginning of great things. Years ago they were wanting to throw a suspension bridge across a mighty chasm, through which flowed, far down, a navigable river, From crag to crag it was proposed to hang an iron bridge aloft in the air, but how was it to be commenced? They shot an arrow from one side to the other, and it carried across the gulf a tiny thread. That invisible thread was enough to begin with. The connection was established; by-and-by the thread drew a piece of twine, the twine carried after it a small rope, the rope soon carried a cable across, and all in good time came the iron chains and all else that was needed for the permanent way. Now, faith is often ver)” weak, but even in that ease it is still of the utmost value, for it forms a communication between the soul and the Lord Jesus Christ. (C. H. Spurgeon.)
Blind people swarm in Oriental cities
In our own streets we meet here and there with a blind beggar, gut they swarm in Eastern cities. Ophthalmia is the scourge of Egypt and Syria, and Volney declares that in Cairo, out of a hundred persons whom he met, twenty were quite blind, ten wanted one eye, and twenty others were more or less afflicted in that organ. At the present day every one is struck with the immense number of the blind in Oriental lands, and things were probably worse in our Saviour’s time. (C. H. Spurgeon.)
And when the devil was cast cut, the dumb spake.
The dumb made to speak
Jesus had just touched the eyes of the blind; now a dumb man is brought to Hint. Speech the special gift and privilege of man. It is the revelation of thought; the aqueduct of the soul; the medium of companionship. Dumbness one of the greatest blights of life. The highest privilege of speech is found in the Divine sphere.
I. Spiritual dumbness is a great calamity. Through four thousand years God was approaching a dispensation of tongues for the highest expression of His life to men. From Abraham to Christ was the dispensation of dreams. Not to use the tongue for the propagation of Divine truth is to cut it off from its highest usefulness. Dumbness and deafness are allied: not to speak for Christ is not to be able to hear Christ’s words to your own soul (Romans 10:9).
II. Spiritual dumbness is occasioned by demoniacal possession. When Christ cast the devil out the dumb spake.
1. Some complain that their intellectual culture is not sufficient to enable them to speak to edification. Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings God hath ordained praise. The demon of intellectual pride must be cast out.
2. Some say, “I have very little ability, others can do so much better.” God does not want ability so much as availability. The demon of selfishness must be cast out.
3. Others say, “I can’t and I won’t use my tongue in the Church’s service, I have not been used to it.” The demon of wilfulness must be east out.
III. Christ’s work amongst bieXr is to cast out demons that possess the human soul. (1 John 3:8.) (J. F. Clymer.)
Healing every sickness.
Christ the Physician
Christ’s healing activity had this double value: it was evidence of His Divine authority as a Teacher; it was a picture in detail addressed to the sense of what, as a restorer of our race, He meant to do in regions altogether beyond the sphere of sense. But these aspects of His care for the human body were not primary, but incidental. We may infer with reverence and certainty that His first object was to show Himself as the restorer of human nature as a whole-not of the reason and conscience only, without the body. Thus our Lord has thrown radiance upon the medical profession, associating it with His redemptive work.
1. The physician can point out with authority given to no other man the present operative force of some of the laws of God. The connection between indulgence and decay. He can give physical reasons for moral truth.
2. The physician can point out the true limits of human knowledge. He knows the ignorance of science.
3. The medical profession may be a teacher of reverence-reverence for the body as the tabernacle of the soul.
4. The profession of medicine is from the nature, I had almost dared to say from the necessity, of the case a teacher of benevolence. (Canon Liddon.)
But when He saw the multitudes.
Christ’s look of sympathy
I. What he saw.
1. Not reasons for admiration.
2. Not grounds for discouragement.
3. But a call for pity.
II. The condition of the people.
III. His compassion enlisted for their succour.
1. The grace of the Father.
2. His own prevailing intercession.
3. The gifts of the Spirit.
4. The service of His messengers. (H. A. Cornell.)
Compassion for souls
I. The sight which presented itself to our Lord. Christ was moved with the sight of physical suffering; here it was spiritual disease.
1. The number of the sheep.
2. The condition of the sheep.
3. The reason of their condition-their having no shepherd.
II. The effect which this sight had upon our Lord. The fact that our Lord felt compassion when He saw the fearful sight. Unless there is a feeling of compassion there will be no spiritual effort. (E. Bayley, M. A.)
Partied views of humanity
There are men who take partial views and come to partial and, therefore, erroneous conclusions about everything. There are those who seat themselves within some vernal enclosure or summer paradise, and say, with a foolish chuckle, that the earth is not so bad a place after all. They see a bed of blooming flowers, fiery-hued or gentle-tinted, and they hear birds in the branches twittering, trilling, singing, and making melody in their hearts, and they say the earth is a very lovely place, notwithstanding all the croakers say to the contrary. Now observe how they confound the partial term with the larger word. They see a garden and then speak of the earth, they see a bed of geraniums and then speak of the globe; there is no balance in their sentences, their words do not correspond with one another at both ends of their declarations. The garden is beautiful, the flowers are lovely beyond all that it is possible for the colouring of human heart fully to represent. The painter paints the form, but he cannot touch the fragrance. We admire their poetical sympathy within given limits, but go beyond the garden wall, go into the rough streets, go into the desolate places, take in the wilderness, throw the line around the entirety, bring the whole elements within your purview, and then say what it is. The angel sees it, and says, “Mourning and lamentation and woe.” Jesus sees it, and cannot cease His prayer; Jesus looks upon it, and is moved with compassion. (Dr. Parker.)
A Christ-like judgment of men
I. Christ teaching us how to look at men.
II. Christ teaching us how to peel at such a sight.
III. Christ teaching us what to do with the emotion.
1. Personal work.
3. Help. (A. Maclaren, D. D.)
A portrait of Jesus
His compassion manifested in-
I. The great transactions of His life.
II. The foresights of compassion.
1. The Bible for our guidance.
2. The minister to speak to man.
3. The Holy Spirit to comfort.
4. The mercy-seat as our resort.
5. The promises as our food.
6. The ordinances.
III. Our personal recollections prove this compassion.
1. He tempered our convictions with intervals of hope.
2. He has moderated our afflictions.
3. He has put us to graduated tasks. (C. H. Spurgeon.)
Emotion leading to action
You cannot indulge in the luxury of feeling (if you will excuse a Lancashire metaphor), that you do not use to drive your spindles, without doing yourselves harm; it is never intended to be blown off as waste steam and allowed to vanish into the air. It is meant to be conserved and guided, and to have something done with it. Therefore, do not get into the habit of indulging in that sentimental contemplation of the missionaries and heathenism. (C. H. Spurgeon.)
Compassion sustains service
Nothing but compassion will carry you through any tragedy in life; you cannot go through it merely for its own sake. The hireling will fall asleep over the sick child, but the mother will drive sleep away from her dwelling-place till she has rescued her little one from the power of the enemy, if it be within the scope of her endurance and skill to win so great a triumph. Her compassion keeps her awake, her love makes the night as the day, her pity stops the clock, so that she takes no note of time. Every other emotion grows dumb; wonder must sometimes close its eyes, admiration palls upon itself, sates its appetite and dies of the satiety, but compassion grows by what it feeds on, and is of the very nature of the love of God. He grows in the development of his compassion; he will-succeed yet. (J. Parker, D. D.)
Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest.
The spiritual harvest-field
1. How closely connected the spiritual commission of the apostles was with deep sympathy for the physical wants of humanity.
2. That it is the Lord of the harvest who has power to send forth labourers into His harvest. We rely too much on our own agencies.
3. The strong expression of constraint which the Lord here uses-“that He may cast out.” It has been so with the more eminent saints at all times. (S. Leathes, D. D.)
The harvest-field and the harvest labourers
I. The field is the world.
1. It is precious, in the very fact that it is a harvest-field. Men are the fruit for the sake of which the world was made.
2. It is plenteous.
3. It is ripe.
4. It is perishing.
II. The harvest labourers.
1. All who try to win souls are in His eye as reapers gathering the wheat into the garner. Labourers are not a high class of functionaries, and need not expect to get all their own will as to the times and places of their toils.
2. In the judgment of our Lord labourers are few. His heart is so enlarged toward a lost world that He will complain, Few are coming. Few, in proportion to the world’s need-a contrast to the multitude pressing to the natural harvest.
3. When additional labourers enter the field, they are sent into it by the Lord of the harvest. They are grasped by the Providential hand of God.
4. The Lord of the harvest presses labourers into the field in answer to the prayers of His people. (W. Arnot.)
The multitudes pressing to the natural harvest
The pressure has slackened of late; but a few years ago you might have seen, any day about the beginning of autumn, dense crowds of Irish labourers clustering like bees about the wharves of Liverpool and Glasgow. On one occasion the master of a Londonderry steamer, on arriving at Glasgow, was prosecuted for admitting a much greater number of passengers than his ship was legally entitled to carry. His defence was that the men rushed on board in spite of his efforts to prevent them, and took forcible possession of the deck. Such were the numbers that poured into the Scottish harvest-fields at that time, and such the eagerness of each man to get a share of the work and the reward. (W. Arnot.)
The harvest-field near
Exercise is provided for the spiritual life. None shall be able to say that the field was too distant, and that lie consequently had not an opportunity of rendering service as a reaper. A man cannot sit at meals in his own family, walk along the streets, or pursue his daily toil on the farm or in the workshop, without passing along this laden harvest-field. Everywhere precious fruit, ready to perish, offers itself to the reaper’s hand. (W. Arnot.)
I. Christ manifested an intense zeal for the evangelization of the world. “And Jesus went about all their cities,” etc.
1. Christ was the great Teacher-“Teaching in their synagogues,” etc.
2. Christ was the great Physician-“and healing every sickness.”
II. Christ displayed the tenderest sympathy while evangelizing the world. The spirit in which Christ did His work, almost as important as the work itself.
1. Christ was deeply affected by the spiritual depression of the people-“they fainted.”
2. Christ was deeply affected at the spiritual destitution of the people-“were scattered abroad.”
III. Christ enjoined a devout spirit for evangelizing the world-“Pray ye therefore,” etc.
1. Christ indicated the right spirit for the work-“Pray ye.”
2. Christ indicated the right men for the work-“Labourers in His harvest,” etc. (J. T. Woodhouse.)
I. Our lord states the case. The people who gathered round Him He likened to harvest-fields: wherein lay the similarity?
1. The thought of multitude rises naturally from the sight of a harvest-field. You cannot count the ears of corn, neither will you be able to count the sons of men.
2. The second idea was that of value. He did not speak of blades of grass, but ears of corn. The souls of men precious in the sight of God.
3. The idea of danger. Fear lest it should perish.
4. Accessible. Multitudes are near at hand.
5. Immediate need.
II. The service needed. Labourers are wanted. We must not despise instrumentalities. God could do without them, but does not.
1. They must be labourers. Idler no use.
2. They must go down into flee wheat.
3. He cuts right through. Delicate words useless. The preacher must not file off the edge of his scythe for fear it should hurt somebody.
4. He binds it together.
III. Our Lord directed his disciples how to obtain a supply.
1. Pray ye.
2. Pray ye therefore.
3. Pray to the Lord.
IV. The lord jesus heard their prayers. “And when He had called unto Him His twelve disciples, he gave them power,” etc. (C. H. Spurgeon.)
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Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "Matthew 9". The Biblical Illustrator. https://www.studylight.org/
the Second Week after Epiphany