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mission from God himselfa-The circumstance of her being detained from the ordinances of God must doubtless have been a great additional trial to her mind, especially at a season, when he, who "spake as never man spake," had come thither to instruct the people-Peter however saw no necessity for staying from the synagogue when his mother was properly attended at home-He the rather went; and availed himself of his access to Jesus to intercede for his afflicted relative-]
Jesus restored her to perfect health
[Jesus paid the same attention to the intercessions of friends as he did to men's personal applications-It was the delight of his soul to relieve misery wherever he found it Nor did he think his work finished, when he had exercised his ministry in the house of God-He would not cease from labour while the continuance of his labours could be of any essential service-He could indeed have healed her by a word without going to her in person-But he delighted to visit the chambers of affliction-And behold! with what condescension he acted towards her, "he took her by the hand and lifted her up;" he, the maker and governor of the universe, administered unto her as if he had been her menial servant!Yet with what authority did he rebuke and dispel the fever! Who could act thus but God?-Instantly did the disease vanish, and her former strength return-And universal' joy succeeded to the tears of sympathy and compassion-]
In what manner she endeavoured to requite this favour we shall see by considering
II. The service she rendered him
We do not estimate services by the intrinsic worth of them so much as by the affection manifested in them— In this view her services were as acceptable as any that could be rendered; "she arose and ministered unto them" -By this conduct she unwittingly discovered
1. The reality of the miracle
[Had she merely joined her family, the departure of her fever might have been imputed to a fortunate coincidence
a Perhaps the gift of miracles was not yet bestowed upon the church But after it was, the apostles could only exercise that gift when they were moved by God to do so. Why else did Paul leave Trophimus at Miletum sick (2 Tim. iv. 20.) or suffer the sickness of his dear fellow-labourer Epaphroditus to proceed to such extremity? (Phil. ii. 7.)
The loss of divine ordinances was that which David chiefly regretted when he fled from Absalom, Ps. Ixxxiv. 1-3.
of circumstances-Nor would they, who ascribed the expulsion of devils to the agency of Beelzebub, have been ashamed to adopt such a sentiment-But, if this had been the case, her body must have still continued in a state of debilityWhereas she was able to exert herself as much as before her sickness This then was an unquestionable proof of the reality of the miracle-And she became a witness for Jesus while she intended nothing more than to testify her love towards him-]
2. The goodness of her own heart
[The hearts of all are, strictly speaking, most “desperately wicked"-But our Lord tells us that "a good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth good things”— In this sense she discovered much goodness of heart-So far from being puffed up with the favour conferred upon her, she was glad to execute the meanest offices-Her heart glowed with a desire to honour her benefactor-Nor was she unmindful of the obligations she owed to those who had assisted her, or interceded for her-She ministered not to him only, but to "them" She rejoiced in an opportunity to testify her gratitude to all-How different was this from the conduct of the nine lepers! Who does not reprobate them as the basest of mankind? Whereas she did not delay one moment to testify her sense of the mercy vouchsafed to her The one thought of her heart was, "What shall I render unto the Lord for all the benefits he hath done unto me?"O that all were likeminded with her in performing a duty which is so "lovely and of such good report!"-]
3. The duty of all who have received mercies from God
[God is to be acknowledged as much in the blessing given to our food or medicine, as in the more visible effects of his miraculous interpositions-Have we then been preserved in health, or restored from sickness? Surely we stand indebted to God as much as if a miracle had been wrought in our behalf-And shall we be satisfied with making a few cold acknowledgments, and not render any active services to our benefactor?-Or shall we pretend that there is nothing that we can do for him?-Let us do what our capacity and situation enable us to do-However mean the service, it shall be accepted of him-But if we be too proud to stoop, or too idle to exert ourselves, we violate the plainest law of our nature, and render ourselves unworthy of the Christian names—]
d Luke xvii. 17.
• Matt. ix. 6---8. e Ps. cxvi. 12. "Unthankfulness to God is specified as the summit of wickedness even in the heathen world, Rom. i. 21.
The fore going history may be improved
1. In a way of reproof
[There is not one of us who does not stand indebted to God for an infinite multitude of mercies-But in what manner have we requited him?-Perhaps "in the time of trouble we have visited him, and poured out a prayer when his chastening was upon us"But no sooner has his rod been removed, than, like metal from the furnace, we have returned to our former hardness-We have resembled the hypocritical Jews, and forgotten all the vows which we made in troubleh -Ah! what a contrast between us and this pious matron!Let us be ashamed, and humble ourselves before God-Let us remember how awfully Hezekiah was punished for his ingratitude-Let us instantly awake from our lethargy to the discharge of our duty-And "glorify Christ with our bodies and our spirits which are his"]
2. In a way of consolation
[Whether we go up to God's house, or be confined on a bed of sickness, we may have access unto Jesus-He is with
us at all times and in every place And we may go to him
with our petitions either for ourselves or others-What a rich source of consolation is this!-And have we no disorders, bodily or spiritual, which need his aid?-If our body be healthy, is not our soul languishing? Or if we ourselves be lively, have we no friend or relative that is in a sickly condition? Let us then apply to this almighty physician, and we shall find him as condescending and as gracious as ever-He calls himself by this endearing name, "The Lord that healeth thee"-He will "send his word and heal us;" yea, he will strengthen us for the most active and difficult services-Let all of us then surround his throne, and cry with united voices, "Arise for our help, and redeem us for thy mercy's sake"-]
g Isai. xxvi. 16. h Ps. lxxxviii. 34-37. 2 Chron. xxxii. 25. * Exod. xv. 26. 1 Ps. xliv. 26.
CCLXXXV. THE LEPER HEALED.
Mark i. 45. But he went out, and began to publish it much, and to blaze abroad the matter, insomuch that Jesus could no more enter into the city, but was without in desert places: and they came to him from every quarter.
THERE is certainly a great similarity between many of our Lord's miracles
But there are in every one of them some circumstances that distinguish them from others—
And these open to us a wide field for appropriate and useful observations
There are different accounts of lepers healed by the power of Jesus
The text informs us of one whose manner of applying for relief, and of discovering his gratitude towards his benefactor, were very peculiar
To elucidate the words before us we may enquire
I. What was the matter which he so published and blazed abroad?"
A man came to our Lord to be cured of the leprosy
[The leprosy was a disorder which none but God could
The man who was infected with it believed our Lord's ability to heal him
But he knew not the marvellous extent of his compassion Hence he doubted his willingness to bestow so great a blessing
He submitted himself however to the will of this divine physician
And with deepest humility implored his sovereign help-] Our Lord with infinite condescension granted his request
[He was not extreme to mark the weakness of the leper's
But, "moved with compassion," gave him the desired re
As a prophet of God he could touch the leper without contracting any defilement
He declared that the disease should vanish at his command
And instantly, by a touch, imparted soundness to the disordered body-]
He however accompanied the mercy with a solemn charge
II. What was the injunction given him respecting it Our Lord directed him to go to the priest, and present immediately the accustomed offerings to God
a 2 Kings v. 7.
He came kneeling to him, falling on his face, and beseeching him. Compare Matt. viii. 2. Luke v. 12.
[The priests were appointed judges in all leprous cases→→→→ They were authorized to pronounce a man clean or unclean, according to certain marks laid down in the law of Mosesc
When a man was acknowledged to be clean he was to present his offerings to Godd
This therefore our Lord enjoined the leprous man to do— In doing it he would exact from the priest himself “ timony" to the truth of the miracle that had been wroughtAnd would give abundant evidence that the person who wrought it was not an enemy to the Mosaic law
Yea, he would shew that the worker of this miracle was the Messiah himself-]
He charged him also not to divulge the matter to any one till he should have performed this service
[The injunction given by our Lord was as solemn and strict as possible—
Jesus desired to avoid all appearance of ostentation---He wished also not to give umbrage to the state by increasing the number of his followers—
Moreover he was solicitous to guard against the malice of the priests
He well knew that they, from their enmity to him, might be induced deny the cure
And thus they would cast a reflection upon him, and deprive the man of the liberty to which he was now entitledHence with such solemnity and authority did he enjoin the leper silence-]
This charge however the leper did not sufficiently regard
III. What were the consequences of its being disobeyed The man could not refrain from "publishing the matter" to all around him
[He felt in his body a consciousness of perfect healthHis soul was inflamed with gratitude to his merciful benefactor
He never thought what reasons there might be for the prohibition
The more he might suppose it to proceed from modesty the more would he be anxious to spread his fame
To offer his appointed gift he went instantly with great gladness
But he knew not how to check the ardour of his love and gratitude
a Lev. xiii. 1-46.
d Lev. xiv. 2—32.
• 'Eubgimgrámerog ́aure, graviter interminatus ei, ver. 43,