The withered hand healed. (1-5) The people resort to Christ.
(6-12) The apostles called. (13-21) The blasphemy of the
scribes. (22-30) Christ's relatives. (31-35)
This man's case was piteous; he had a withered hand, which
disabled him from working for his living; and those that are so,
are the most proper objects of charity. Let those be helped that
cannot help themselves. But stubborn infidels, when they can say
nothing against the truth, yet will not yield. We hear what is
said amiss, and see what is done amiss; but Christ looks at the
root of bitterness in the heart, the blindness and hardness of
that, and is grieved. Let hard-hearted sinners tremble to think
of the anger with which he will look upon them shortly, when the
day of his wrath comes. The great healing day now is the
sabbath, and the healing place the house of prayer; but the
healing power is of Christ. The gospel command is like that
recorded here: though our hands are withered, yet, if we will
not stretch them out, it is our own fault that we are not
healed. But if we are healed, Christ, his power and grace, must
have all the glory.
All our sicknesses and calamities spring from the anger of
God against our sins. Their removal, or the making them
blessings to us, was purchased to us by the blood of Christ. But
the plagues and diseases of our souls, of our hearts, are
chiefly to be dreaded; and He can heal them also by a word. May
more and more press to Christ to be healed of these plagues, and
to be delivered from the enemies of their souls.
Christ calls whom he will; for his grace is his own. He
had called the apostles to separate themselves from the crowd,
and they came unto him. He now gave them power to heal
sicknesses, and to cast out devils. May the Lord send forth more
and more of those who have been with him, and have learned of
him to preach his gospel, to be instruments in his blessed work.
Those whose hearts are enlarged in the work of God, can easily
bear with what is inconvenient to themselves, and will rather
lose a meal than an opportunity of doing good. Those who go on
with zeal in the work of God, must expect hinderances, both from
the hatred of enemies, and mistaken affections of friends, and
need to guard against both.
It was plain that the doctrine of Christ had a direct
tendency to break the devil's power; and it was as plain, that
casting of him out of the bodies of people, confirmed that
doctrine; therefore Satan could not support such a design.
Christ gave an awful warning against speaking such dangerous
words. It is true the gospel promises, because Christ has
purchased, forgiveness for the greatest sins and sinners; but by
this sin, they would oppose the gifts of the Holy Ghost after
Christ's ascension. Such is the enmity of the heart, that
unconverted men pretend believers are doing Satan's work, when
sinners are brought to repentance and newness of life.
It is a great comfort to all true Christians, that they
are dearer to Christ than mother, brother, or sister as such,
merely as relations in the flesh would have been, even had they
been holy. Blessed be God, this great and gracious privilege is
ours even now; for though Christ's bodily presence cannot be
enjoyed by us, his spiritual presence is not denied us.