Wells of Living Water Commentary
Jesus Christ the Son of God
1. Let us consider the opening statement of Mark's Gospel. There are some who vainly contend that the Gospel of Mark has nothing to say about the Virgin Birth of Christ, intimating thereby that Mark may not have accepted that verity. To the contrary, we are sure that the opening statement of Mark's Gospel proclaims the Virgin Birth as an absolute necessity.
How else could Jesus Christ be the Son of God, than by the fact that God was His Father? God certainly was not His Father in the same sense that He is the Father of those who believe, for the simple reason that the Lord Jesus knew no second birth. He was born once and not twice as we, His children, have been born.
If we will turn to the 3d chapter of John we will find in Mark 1:16 this statement: "God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son." The Holy Spirit, through Paul, speaks in Romans the 1st chapter, these memorable words: "The Gospel of God, * * concerning His Son Jesus Christ." Immediately after the words quoted, are these, "Declared to be the Son of God with power."
The angel said to Mary, "The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that Holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God." Jesus Christ, therefore, is the Son of God because He was begotten of the Holy Ghost. That is the reason that Mark spoke of Him as such.
2. John the Baptist is immediately brought in by Mark as a further proof that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. Read Mark 1:2 , Mark 1:3 . These verses refer to the Prophets and their statements relative to the Coming of Jesus Christ and of His forerunner. Let us ask you to note carefully the words, observing the punctuation: "The beginning of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God; as it is written in the Prophets, behold, I send my messenger before thy face." The Prophets accentuate the statement that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.
The Holy Spirit in Mark continued to say, "The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make His paths straight." Mark's quotation of the Prophets is from Isaiah 40:3 . Here is the Isaiah reading: "The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God." We solemnly and reverently bow the knees therefore and join the Holy Ghost in Mark by acclaiming Jesus Christ the Son of God and God the Son.
3. The Prophet Isaiah, quoted in Mark, speaks frequently of Christ as God. Let me give you just a few of these quotations. "Say unto the cities of Judah, Behold your God! Behold, the Lord God will come with strong hand, and His arm shall rule for Him: behold, His reward is with Him" (Isaiah 40:9-10 ).
In Revelation 22:12 , we read, "Behold, I come quickly; and My reward is with Me." The words in this verse refer to Christ, so also must the words in Isaiah refer to Him.
Here is a second quotation: "For I am the Lord thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Saviour" (Isaiah 43:3 ).
These words must be spoken of Christ because He is the Saviour. We remember that the angel said to Mary, "Thou shalt call His Name Jesus, for He shall save His people from their sins."
Observe a third quotation: "Before Me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after Me." "I, even I, am the Lord; and beside Me there is no saviour." "Ye are My witnesses, saith the Lord, that I am God" (Isaiah 43:10-12 ).
Thus we might go on, however, we have proved sufficiently that the Gospel of Mark, by direct statement and also by quotation from the Prophets proclaims Jesus Christ as God.
I. THE MINISTRY OF JOHN (Mark 1:4-5 )
Our Scripture verses read:
"John did baptize in the wilderness, and preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins. And there went out unto him all the land of Judaea, and they of Jerusalem, and were all baptized of him in the River Jordan, confessing their sins."
1. Christ's forerunner was a man of the wilderness. He had been prophesied in the Old Testament and his birth had been preannounced by an angel to Zacharias. John came from the wilderness clothed in camel's hair and with a girdle of skin about his loins. He was certainly a unique character. He did not go into the cities to preach to the throngs but the cities went out to the wilderness to him.
2.Mark 1:7Mark 1:7 tells us that John preached saying: "There cometh one mightier than I after me, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose." Thus did John do homage to Christ. In the fourth Gospel we have many statements from the lips of John the Baptist. Let me give you a few of these. "There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light." (John 1:6-7 ).
The words above plainly infer that Christ is the Light of the world, therefore He was more than man. "John bare witness of Him, and cried, saying, this is He of whom I spake, He that cometh after me is preferred before me: for He was before me" (John 1:15 ).
In this quotation, John, who was six months older than Christ, acknowledged Christ's eternal Deity when he said of Christ, "He was before me." "This is the record of John, he said, I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord" (John 1:19 , John 1:23 ).
Here again John made Jesus the Christ the Son of God. "I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God. Again the next day after John * * saith, Behold the Lamb of God" (John 1:34-36 ).
II. THE BAPTISM OF JOHN (Mark 1:5 ; Mark 1:8 )
1.Mark 1:5Mark 1:5 tells us of the baptism of repentance unto the remission of sins. The baptism of John was, we grant, distinct from that which followed under the command of the Lord Jesus, and yet there was a very intimate relationship. John did baptize, preaching the baptism of repentance unto the remission of sins. The disciples also, following Pentecost, baptized in the Name of Jesus Christ unto the remission of sins. The Book of Romans, in chapter 6, distinctly tells us that we are baptized into Jesus Christ, into His death and also in the likeness of His resurrection.
2.Mark 1:8Mark 1:8 tells us of the baptism into the Holy Ghost. The baptism of John was in water. The baptism of Christ was in the Holy Ghost. John even added (as recorded in another Gospel) saying that when Christ came He would baptize "with the Holy Ghost, and with fire."
The opening chapter of Acts records the Words of Christ, where He commanded the disciples not to depart from Jerusalem but to wait for the promise of the Father. Then follow these words: "For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence."
It was when the day of Pentecost was fully come that they were baptized into the Holy Ghost.
There is a Scripture in Corinthians where we are plainly taught that all believers are baptized into the one body, into the one Spirit.
These quotations by no means suggest that there should not be a definite infilling of the Holy Ghost and also a definite anointing of the Spirit, distinct from the fact of our having been baptized into the one body, and into the one Spirit, when we were born again.
III. THE BAPTISM OF CHRIST (Mark 1:9-11 )
1. Christ aligned Himself with the populace who were being baptized unto repentance, unto the remission of sins. As Christ approached the waters, John would have forbade him, saying, "I have need to be baptized of Thee, and comest Thou to me?" The Lord was not a sinner and did not need to be baptized in any baptism that even suggested His personal need of repentance or remission of sins. He was baptized however, of John, because it was through Him the sinless one, that the populace, who were the sinners could alone receive remission of sins.
Christ coming to the waters of baptism showed very plainly that baptizing in water could not remit sins, but that they were baptized unto the remission of sins, by the virtue of what baptism typifies, even Christ's own death, burial, and resurrection.
2. The Divine acknowledgment of Mark 1:10 tells us, that Jesus straightway coming up out of the water saw the heavens open and the Spirit like a dove descending upon Him. No sooner was Christ baptized than there came a voice from Heaven saying, "Thou art My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." Thus, Jesus Christ was acclaimed, and thus the opening statement of the. Gospel of Mark that Jesus Christ was the Son of God, was once more established.
First Christ's Deity was established by the testimony of Mark.
Secondly, His Deity was established by the testimony of John.
Thirdly, His Deity was established by the testimony of the Holy Spirit and of the Father. Think of it. At the baptism, the Father was there because He spake from Heaven. The Holy Spirit was there because He descended upon the Lord Jesus. Third, the Son of God was there because it was He who was baptized, the Holy Trinity, three in one, one in three, at the baptism.
IV. THE WILDERNESS TEMPTATION (Mark 1:12-13 )
Into what a brief space does the Gospel of Mark crowd the great events in the early life of our Lord! Matthew and Luke write fully of these events, therefore, Mark, with a few succinct statements, tells all that the Spirit wanted him to reveal. Let us suggest three outstanding things as set forth by Mark concerning the temptation.
1. Christ was driven by the Spirit into the wilderness. It was not Satan seeking the Son of God, but it was the Son of God seeking Satan. He sought Satan because the Holy Spirit within Him, as well as His own spirit did drive Him, that is, impel Him to go out and meet the devil. He had just been acclaimed from Heaven as God's beloved Son. Now, He was to meet one who, in the Garden, had tempted the first Adam. He, the last Adam, the second Man, the Head of a new race, was to go forth to meet the tempter of the first man. He was to meet him in order that He might vanquish him, and destroy him.
2. Christ was tempted forty days. The word forty carries our minds back to the temptation in the wilderness of which we read: "Thou shalt remember all the way which the Lord thy God led thee these forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee, and to prove thee, to know what was in thine heart, whether thou wouldst keep His commandments, or no."
Thus it was that Jesus was tempted forty days, a day for a year. The temptation in the wilderness was to prove them, whether they would obey the Lord. Christ was tempted to forever demonstrate that He was God, perfect in obedience to the Father.
3. Christ was ministered unto by the angels. After every onslaught of the devil had been victoriously met, Jesus Christ had not only given full attest to His Deity, but He had also given full proof of the completeness of His victory over Satan. The angels of the Lord then came to minister to Him. In the first Gospel it reads this way: "Then the devil leaveth Him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto Him."
The interest of the angels in our Lord was demonstrated, beginning with the annunciation to Mary and to the shepherds, and on unto the hour of His ascension. The angels not only desired to look into all the things which concerned Christ, but they delighted in having part in giving Him humble, devoted homage.
V. CHRIST PREACHING THE GOSPEL OF THE KINGDOM (Mark 1:14-15 )
1. John cast into prison. John had said, "He must increase, but I must decrease." The Baptist's sun had shone brightly for a while. All Jerusalem and Judea had gone out to see and hear him and to be baptized by him. Even King Herod had, at the first, heard John frequently and gladly, and had done many things. Now, however, John was in prison. Shortly after, he became a martyr to faith which he had proclaimed, and to the Lord whom he had announced.
2. Jesus preaching. When John began to preach he said, "Repent ye." So also did Jesus say, "Repent ye, and believe the Gospel." There are some who would insist that the message of repentance should no longer be preached. With this we cannot agree. Peter at Pentecost preached, saying, "Repent, and be baptized every one of you." A little later he said, "Repent ye therefore, and be converted." Still later he preached saying, "Repent therefore of this thy wickedness." Paul said, "God * * commandeth all men every where to repent." Still later, in Rome under King Agrippa, Paul said of the Gentiles that "they should repent and turn to God." Truly, the long-suffering of God leadeth us to repentance. God is "not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance."
3. Jesus preached, "The Kingdom of God is at hand." This John preached, and this also Jesus preached. The Kingdom was at hand, because the King was at hand. Jesus Christ at His birth was announced King of the Jews, when the wise men from the East came to worship Him, they worshiped Him, "King of the Jews." During His ministry He continually proclaimed His Kingship. When He died they put up over His head the word, "This is Jesus the King of the Jews."
Thus, when He was born, He was announced King of the Jews; when He died, He was rejected King of the Jews; then, when He comes the second time, He will come not only as King of the Jews, but as King of kings and Lord of lords.
VI. THE CALLING OF ANDREW AND PETER (Mark 1:16-18 )
1. The Lord called Simon and Andrew from the common walks of life. Both of these men were fishermen, their calling was not high, according to human reckoning, yet they were the very ones whom the Lord chose to have part and lot with Him. Do we not read, "Ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called."
We would not for a second suggest that the Lord does not seek the noble, the mighty, to follow Him. The trouble lies with the nobler class, in the face that they do not want the Lord. They seem too busy and too much occupied to follow with the meek and lowly Jesus. Besides, they would rely too much upon their own greatness and prowess, and would be in danger to use Christ to add to their own glory, instead of humbly seeking to give glory to Him.
2. The Lord called Simon and Andrew from a life busy with serving. Peter, who was Simon, and his brother Andrew could never be included in the class of "do-nothings." The Lord does not call men who are drones and idlers. He selects people who are in active service.
Missionaries should not be chosen from among the young people who know nothing of soul-winning and Christ-serving at home. If we cannot preach Christ in our own community, how can we preach Him afar? If we cannot win our own to Christ, how can we win the heathen?
3. The Lord said, "I will make you fishers of men." The occupation of Simon and Andrew was not to be changed. They were still to be fishers. However, instead of fishing fish, they were to fish men. We wonder if there is not a real similarity between fishing fish and fishing men? It would be profitable to give this comparison some earnest consideration.
VII. THE CALLING OF JAMES AND JOHN (Mark 1:19-20 )
1. Simon and Andrew were casting a net into the sea. James and John were mending their net. We wonder if there is a significance here. Perhaps the Lord would have us know that some are called for constructive work, casting nets; while others are called for remedying work, mending nets.
We may not all be able to save souls all the time. Those who are saved must be strengthened against slipping and falling. We may not always be ready to cast our nets. Sometimes we need to adjust our messages, to prepare ourselves for their better proclamation.
2. Simon and Andrew forsook their nets and followed Christ. James and John left their father, Zebedee, to follow Christ.
Some of us are called upon to leave silver and gold and all of our possessions. Others are called upon to leave father and mother, brother and sister, and our dearest friends to follow Him.
3. In any event the matter at issue is following Christ. It is not necessary to preach long sermons on how to fish for men for Christ's statement is simple indeed, "Come ye after Me, and I will make you to become fishers of men."
We need to follow the example of these disciples in prompt obedience. Christ called Simon and Andrew, and straightway they forsook their nets and followed Him. Christ saw James and John, and straightway He called them and they left their father.
If some of our students would suggest that Christ had the right to call James and John to leave their father, Zebedee, alone with the responsibility of the ship and their fishing business we ask them to remember that Zebedee was not left alone, but he had left with him the hired servants. Our Lord always deals righteously.
Two young men were talking about their soldiering in France, and one of them was telling what a wonderful man his father was. Pulling from his left breast pocket a package, he displayed pictures of his father and mother, gazing wistfully at them as he showed them to his companion. "Say, Buddy," he suddenly exclaimed, "you have not spoken of your father. Got any pictures to show me what he is like?" "No, I'm sorry, I haven't any of my father with me. Oh, hold on! Yes, I have, and I'll give you one." Putting his hand in his pocket he pulled out a sovereign and offered it to his wondering companion, remarking, "Here is a picture of ray father. Keep it to remember me by." The Prince of Wales smiled into the face of his father on the coin, then sprang into the waiting lorry and went away to another part of the sector. That is the kind of coin we workers should always have about us, the one that bears the express image of His Person.
He Went About Doing Good
We want to talk to you about the changeableness of the people toward Christ. Mark 1:28 says, "And immediately His fame spread abroad throughout all the regions round about Galilee."
1. It should be remembered that Capernaum was amazed at His doctrine and miracles. Capernaum was? stirred from center to circumference. Nothing had ever been known in that city to be compared with the wonderful works of the Son of God. In one of the Gospels, Jesus spoke of Capernaum, saying, "And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto Heaven, shalt be brought down to hell: for if the mighty works, which have been done in thee, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day." Then Christ added the memorable statement, "It shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for thee."
Herein we see that Christ's fame amounted to nothing, so far as Capernaum's heart attitude was concerned. Capernaum and all Galilee were astonished and amazed. They began to talk among themselves, and the news spread from person to person, until the fame of Christ spread abroad.
However, the very city where so many of His mighty works were wrought, utterly refused Him. We stood a few months ago on the sight of ancient Capernaum. All that we could find of that city were the ruins of what was once its greatest cathedral. We took pictures of the wonderful carvings and engravings upon its walls. Capernaum certainly has been brought down to hell.
2. To be followed by the populace does not mean true success. Crowds are easily swayed and led. They are the victims of excitement. The multitudes will run hither and thither, and will follow most any fad or fanaticism, or even fancy, for a time. The popular preacher is not always the one who is accomplishing the greatest work for God. We may be ever so popular with the populace, and yet ever so unpopular with the Lord. The populace run to the fire.
3. Jesus Christ knew what was in men. Not for one moment was He deceived by the fame which followed Him in His early ministry. He knew its short lived character. He knew that the same people who were applauding Him to the skies, would soon be crying, "Away with Him; let Him be crucified!"
We remember how Christ said, on one occasion, that the people followed Him for the loaves and fishes.
When the rich young ruler fell at His feet, we might have taken him for a convert. But Jesus Christ put him to the acid test, and said to him, "Sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, * * and come and follow Me." Then it was that the young man went away sorrowful, for he had great riches.
There were three would-be followers, as described in the last part of Luke 9:1-62 . To one Christ said, "Foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of Man hath not where to lay His head." Another said to him, "Suffer me first to go and bury my father"; but Christ said, "Let the dead bury their dead." The third one said, "Let me first go bid them farewell, which are at home." But Jesus said, "No man, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the Kingdom of God."
The Lord Jesus was never carried away by human applause.
Christ received not the honor of men. He taught us that we were not so to do. He never sought to make Himself of any reputation. We are sure that, in those early years, when the crowds followed Him in order to see another miracle, or to eat of His bread and fishes, He vividly saw the Cross looming before Him; and He knew that but few would follow Him along that rugged Calvary pathway.
4. He was despised and rejected of men. Christ the Miracle-Worker may have been approved so long as the people benefited; but Christ the Saviour; Christ the Son of God; the Giver of life and of light, and the Heralder of truth, was despised and rejected. He died with only a few hundred people who were truly His followers. He was forsaken by men.
I. HOW CHRIST LOVED THE HOME (Mark 1:29 )
1. The home of Peter and Andrew. Our verse reads, "And forthwith, when they were come out of the synagogue, they entered into the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John." There was something about the home that appealed to Christ. We have read that motto frequently: "Christ is the Head of this home; the silent Listener to every conversation."
2. The home of Martha and Mary. The Lord delighted to go to that sweet place of rest, and to tarry the while. He was there as a teacher of the way of life. It was at His feet that Mary often sat, and so did Martha, and they heard His Word.
It was in that home that Jesus went in the hour of sorrow, when Lazarus, whom Jesus loved, had died. He went to scatter the shadows, and to remove the pain.
It was in that home that the Lord Jesus stopped as He was en route to Calvary. As He was eating that day with them, about the table, it was Mary who anointed Him with the precious ointment.
The home was established by Divine command, and Christ loves to enter every home tint has the door of welcome open to Him.
3. Some family suggestions: To a young man who was saved, and who fain would have traveled with the Lord, Jesus said, "Go home to thy friends, and tell them how great things the Lord hath done for thee." Christ entered many homes, and every home He touched He blessed. The truth is that He wants the whole household for His domicile.
Joshua said, "As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord." The jailer believed in this Lord with all his house. God give us more homes like these!
Satan's greatest victory is achieved when he divides the household. If he can enter a home through one or more members of the family, he will contaminate it with worldliness and with sin.
II. THE MINISTRY OF HEALING (Vss. 31, 32)
1. Christ entered into Simon's home. He found Simon's wife's mother sick of a fever "and anon they tell Him of her." There is, to us, a beautiful touch in this. He entered into a home where there was sickness, and they tell Him. That is just what we all ought to do: tell Him about everything. Is it not written, "Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and He shall sustain thee"? Why should we not tell Him everything? His ears are opened to our cries. His hand is still ready to reach out in helpfulness.
2. He "took her by the hand." Here is another marvelous and helpful statement. Has He never taken you by the hand? Perhaps she would have arisen alone at His command, but more likely her faith needed a little encouragement. The touch of His hand; the pull; the upward lift; all encouraged her to believe in His healing power.
When Peter was sinking beneath the waves, and cried out "Lord, save me," the Lord took Peter by the hand. He always takes us by the hand. Have you not read, "For I the Lord thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee"? Certainly He will help; He always helps and lifts up those who call upon Him.
3. She ministered unto them. When God heals us, He does not heal us that we might live for ourselves, but for others and for Him. As soon as Peter's mother-in-law was healed, she began to serve. This should be our chief desire to minister in His Name.
III. THE END OF A BUSY DAY (Mark 1:33-34 )
1. "Faint, yet pursuing." You remember how in the days of Joshua they grew weary with the long battle. Joshua commanded the sun to stand still in order that they might fight on and prevail. They grew tired in the flesh, however, while the spirit was still active. They were faint, yet they were pursuing.
The Lord Jesus had had a very busy day. He had been healing and preaching as He served others. He had finally come home to rest, and had found Peter's mother-in-law sick, and He healed her. After the even had come, after the sun had set, the people would not leave the Master alone. We read that "they brought unto Him all that were diseased, and them that were possessed with devils. And all the city was gathered together at the door." Did Christ turn them away? Not He! Weary and forespent, as far as the body was concerned, He yet welcomed them, and healed many that were sick with divers diseases, and cast out many demons. Let us not be weary in well-doing, for we shall reap if we faint not. Let us spend and be spent for Him.
2. Meeting the needs of all classes. Christ was not a minister to the rich alone. He did not isolate His message, or His healing power. His heart said, "Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." His message was a "whosoever will" message.
Shall we not walk in His steps in this matter? It was written of Christ that the "Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He hath anointed Me to preach the Gospel to the poor; * * to heal the brokenhearted"; also "to comfort all that mourn." If Christ showed any preference whatsoever, He showed it to the poor; but He showed it to them because the common people heard Him gladly.
3. A display of His great power. He healed them that came to Him. He cast out the demons, and with authority, He suffered not the demons to speak. It does not matter what the need may be. Christ is abundantly able to meet it. It does not matter how dark the day, how disastrous the affliction, how overwhelming the gloom, there is One who is able and who is willing to help. Is anything too hard for the Lord? Believe, and thou shalt receive.
IV. THE BEGINNING OF A NEW DAY (Mark 1:35 )
Our verse says, "And * * rising up a great while before day, He went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed."
1. "A great while before day." It seems to me that most of us, if not all, if we had had such a busy day as He had had, and such a great strain in service, would have probably slept in the next morning. Not so with our Lord, He not only got up early, but He arose a great while before the dawning of the new day. This is appealing. Do we get up a great while before day to commune with God? Doubtless we do if we comprehend the need, not of the past day, but of the coming day.
2. "A solitary place." Public prayer has its call, but private prayer has the great appeal. "When thou prayest, enter into thy closet, * * and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly," said our Lord. Public prayer may be to the ears of the people; private prayer is to the heart of God. In public prayer we may be tempted to use great sounding words, and we may be concerned with our oratory; in private prayer, we will certainly be thinking of Him.
Let each one of us practice prayer in the secret place.
3. He "prayed." He prayed? Christ prayed? God Himself prayed? So it says! "A great while before day, He went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed." Christ was thronged by the multitude in the daytime, so He longed to get alone with the Father. Would that every one of us would follow in His footsteps in this matter! We can see David, on the occasion when Absalom came against him. David, while the camp was asleep, sought the face of his Lord, and poured out his prayer unto God. No wonder that he closed the prayer with this shout of victory: "I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people, that have set themselves against me." If we prayed more, we would have more faith, and more victory.
V. THE NEXT TOWNS ALSO (Mark 1:36-38 )
1. "All men seek for thee." After the disciples had been awakened in the morning by a great crowd of people, they went in, no doubt, to rouse the Master, and to tell Him that others had come with sick ones to be healed. They found out, however, that the Lord Jesus had gone.
There is no doubt but that they knew where He had gone, and why He had gone. It must have been His habit to arise early, and to seek the solitary place for prayer. Therefore Simon Peter led the crowd to where the Lord was sure to be, and when they had found Him, Peter said to Him, "All men seek for Thee."
We wonder if all men would not be seeking Him now if they had not lost confidence in His healing power and presence. They sought Him then, but they sought Him for what they could get out of Him. They did not seek Him that they might give to Him their love or their service.
2. "Let us go into the next towns, that I may preach there also." This was Christ's reply to the seeking crowd. We might sum it all up in one word: "others." The Lord Jesus Christ was happy to help the people in one community, but not in that community to the exclusion of other communities. He whose heart throbs with the compassion of the Master always feels the urge of the needs of others.
The Apostle Paul said, "Not boasting of things * * that is, of other men's labours but having hope, when your faith is increased, that we shall be enlarged by you according to our rule abundantly, to preach the Gospel in the regions beyond you." Is this our rule: the next towns also, and the regions beyond us? This is the command of the Master: "Every creature": "All the world"; "The end of the world."
3. The call of the mission fields. Back of Christ's statement, "Let us go into the next town," we can almost see the outstretched hands, and hear the call, "Come over into Macedonia, and help us." God's love for you, and your church, and your town, does not at all circumscribe His love to others, and to their towns. "God so loved the world," and God wants all men to be saved. The Caucasian race, does not have any monopoly on the Gospel. God wants the Malay and the black and the red races, and all races to hear His good news of salvation. Let those who read this be stirred up to the "next town" also.
VI. FIRST THINGS FIRST (Mark 1:39 )
1. "And He preached in their synagogues throughout all Galilee." "He preached," our key verse says. This is the first necessary thing. Let us put the preaching of the Gospel in the place where it belongs.
When Peter had healed the lame man at the gate of the Temple, the crowd came rushing out, saying, "By what power, or by what name, have ye done this?" Did Peter begin to talk about the wonderful healing power which he had? Not he. He began immediately to preach Christ to them. He said, "By the Name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by Him doth this man stand here before you whole." Then in a moment he added, "Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved."
Neither Peter nor any other Apostle ever magnified his healing power. The Apostles magnified Christ, and they placed the emphasis on Christ, the Saviour. Whatever else a minister may do, under God, he must remember that he is commanded to preach the Word. He is separated unto the Gospel of God concerning His Son, Jesus Christ. Many other things may call upon his time and attention, but they must be secondary to the one ministry: preaching Christ.
2. He cast out demons. The Lord Jesus Christ had also a ministry for the oppressed, for the men and women who were demon-possessed. He came to seek that which was lost, but He came also to undo the works of the devil. He came to set free the captives. Concerning a woman who had been bound by Satan eighteen years, He said, "Ought not this woman * * be loosed?" Then He loosed her.
3. He healed. Mark 1:34 tells us that He healed many of divers diseases. His name is Jehovah-Ropheca, "I am the Lord that healeth thee." If any is sick, He has told us to "call for the elders of the Church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the Name of the Lord." He never would have given us such a command if it were not His will and His purpose to heal in answer to the prayers of His people. We ask and receive not if we ask it unbelievingly, or to consume it upon our own fleshly desires. It is the prayer of faith that brings healing.
VII. THE HEALING OF THE LEPER (Mark 1:40-45 )
1. "If thou wilt, thou canst." As Jesus passed throughout all Galilee, there came a leper beseeching and kneeling down to Him, and saying, "If Thou wilt, Thou canst make me clean." There was something in this God. He also showed his faith when he said, "Thou canst make me clean." There was something in this that moved Christ with compassion. There was that in the attitude of the man his prostrate form, and also in the words of the man that moved the Lord.
Let us remember that the place to get things from God is at His feet. We heard Mr. Meyer of London say one day that he had a lovely dog which would come to the table and bark for a choice piece of food. To this Mrs. Meyer made objection. The dog soon learned that his barking got him nothing. So the great London preacher said that his dog soon learned to slip under the table, and to lift his paw and scratch his master's knee. He got his morsel every time.
If you want to appeal to the Heavenly Master, you must fall at His knees. The proud look and the lofty mien get nothing from God. It is the contrite and the broken heart that appeals to our God.
The Lord also observed the man's willingness to abide his Lord's pleasure. He said, "If thou wilt, thou canst make me clean." That Christ could do it, he knew. But he pleaded that the one who could, would.
2. "I will; be thou clean!" Jesus Christ accepted the challenge. The leper said, "If Thou wilt, Thou canst." Jesus said, "I will." And He is also today to say, "I will" when we have both the attitude and the confidence in Him that were expressed by this leper.
There is another thing to be observed: The man confessed that he was unclean, and Jesus Christ said, "Be thou clean." If we want anything from God we must confess our sinful estate. The impurity of heart and of life must be confessed.
3. "Say nothing to any man." When the leper was about to depart, Christ straightly charged him, saying, "Say nothing to any man," and sent him away. He was told to show himself to the priest, and to offer proper things for cleansing, as Moses had commanded, but he was not to say anything to any man. We may wonder why the Lord did this. He did it in order to bar the rabid desire of the populace to look upon Him as a healer. The man, however, published it the more. What was the result? The people pressed upon Christ so much that He could no more openly enter into the city, but abode in the desert places, and they came unto Him from every quarter.
Christ is ready to save you now. He still goes about to help, to heal, and to save. Will you let Him in?
When Dr. Chalmers was on a visit in the northern part of Scotland he was entertained by a Christian lady, who told him she was very anxious about her daughter, and she asked him, "Will you talk to her?" He said he would; but the lady told him, "You will find her mind is set very firmly against religion. Her father and I and various friends have tried to talk to her, but it's no use; she is fairly set against it." "Oh, is that the case?" said Dr. Chalmers. "Leave her in my hands, I'll do what I can." By and by he was left alone with the young lady, with whom he had made friends, and he said: "They have troubled you a great deal about this question of religion, have they not?" "Yes, they have." "Suppose I were to ask them not to trouble you about religion for six months?" "Well," and she hesitated, "but perhaps I mayn't live that time." "Suppose, then, we say three months?" Still the young lady trembled to put it off so definitely, for she might not live a month. "Suppose we say a week, then?" "I had better not put it off a week; it mayn't be safe." "You are quite right," replied the doctor; "suppose we settle it now." He got down on his knees and prayed for her, and they didn't separate until she was safe in Christ's fold. Jesus is waiting able and willing to save. Will you let him save you "now"? (2 Corinthians 6:2 ). Oh, honestly and heartily say, "I will" (Genesis 24:58 ). If you wait in time you may "wail" in eternity.
Tuesday, March 28th, 2017
the Fourth Week of Lent
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