And he withdrew himself into the wilderness, and prayed.…
I. THE POWER OF CHRIST IN THE GOSPEL IS MAINLY A POWER TO HEAL,.
1. It is a Divine power which comes from our Lord Jesus, because He is most surely God. It is the sole prerogative of God to heal spiritual disease.
2. Although our Lord Jesus healed as Divine, remember that He also possessed power to heal because of His being human. He used no other remedy in healing our sin-sickness but that of taking our sicknesses and infirmities upon Himself. This is the one great cure-all.
3. The power which dwelt in Christ to heal, coming from Him as Divine and human, was applicable, most eminently, to the removal of the guilt of sin. Reading this chapter through, one pauses with joy over that twenty-fourth verse, "The Son of Man hath power upon earth to forgive sin." Here, then, is one of the great Physician's mightiest arts: He has power to forgive sin.
4. This is not the only form of the healing power which dwells without measure in our glorious Lord. He heals the sorrow of sin. It is written, "He healeth the broken in heart and bindeth up their wounds." When sin is really manifest to the conscience it is a most painful thing, and for the conscience to be effectually pacified is an unspeakable blessing. Sharper than a dagger in the heart, or an arrow piercing through the loins, is conviction of sin. When Jesus is received by faith, He lifts all our sorrow from us in a moment.
5. Christ also heals the power of sin.
6. And He is able to heal us of our relapses.
II. A second remark arises from the text: THERE ARE SPECIAL PERIODS WHEN THE POWER TO HEAL IS MOST MANIFESTLY DISPLAYED. The verse before us says that on a certain day the power of the Lord was present to heal, by which I understand, not that Christ is not always God, not that He was ever unable to heal, but this — that there were certain periods when He pleased to put forth His Divine energy in the way of healing to an unusual degree. The sea is never empty; it is indeed always as full at one time as at another, put yet it is not always at flood. The sun is never dim, he shines with equal force at all hours, and yet it is not always day with us, nor do we always bask in the warmth of summer. Christ is fulness itself, but that fulness does not always overflow; He is able to heal, but He is not always engaged in healing.
1. On this occasion there was a great desire among the multitude to hear the Word.
2. The healing power was conspicuously present when Christ was teaching.
3. A further sign of present power is found most clearly in the sick folk who were healed by Jesus.
4. The particular time mentioned in the text was prefaced by special season of prayer on the part of the principal actor in it.
III. WHEN THE POWER OF THE LORD IS PRESENT TO HEAL, IT MAY NOT BE SEEN IN ALL, BUT MAY BE SHOWN IN SPECIAL CASES AND NOT IN OTHERS. We do not find that this power was wanting among the publicans; we have an instance here of one of them who made a great feast in his house for Christ. Where, then, was the power lacking? Where was it unsought and unfelt?
1. It was, in the first place, among the knowing people, the doctors of the law. These teachers knew too much to submit to be taught by the Great Rabbi. There is such a thing as knowing too much to know anything, and being too wise to be anything but a fool. Beware of saying, "Oh yes, yes, yes, yes, that is very applicable to So-and-so, and very well put." Do not criticise, but feel.
2. Those, moreover, who had a good opinion of themselves were left unblest. The Pharisees I no better people anywhere, from Dan to Beersheba, than the Pharisees, if you would take them upon their own reckoning.
3. The people who stood by, as one observes, they did not come to be preached at, they came for Christ to preach before them. They did not come for Christ to operate upon them; they were not patients, they were visitors in the hospitals.
4. Those who felt not the healing power sneered and cavilled. When a man gets no good out of the ministry, he is pretty sure to think there is no good in the ministry; and when he himself, for want of stooping down, finds no water in the river, he concludes it is dry, whereas it is his own stubborn knee that will not bend, and his own wilful mouth that will not open to receive the gospel.
IV. In the last place, I want Christian people here to observe that WHEN THE POWER OF CHRIST WAS PRESENT, IT CALLED FORTH THE ENERGY OF THOSE WHO WERE HIS FRIENDS TO WORK WHILE THAT POWER WAS MANIFEST.
(C. H. Spurgeon.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And he withdrew himself into the wilderness, and prayed.