George H. Morrison - Devotional Sermons
Personality and Property
And when they could not come nigh unto him for the press, they uncovered the roof where he was: and when they had broken it up, they let down the bed wherein the sick of the palsy lay--Mar 2:4
Christ's Presence Brought Disturbance into the House
I propose today to cast some sidelights on this delightful and arresting miracle, and one is that when Christ is in the house we must be prepared for certain disarrangement's. If this cottage, as seems probable, was Peter's, I wonder what Peter's wife would think of things. The crowd, too, would be not a little irritated by the clouds of dust and by the falling debris. Yet all this happened in Capernaum just because the Lord was in the house, and not infrequently it happens still. I have seen houses sadly disarranged when a son or a daughter was converted to Christ. It was highly irritating, this intrusion into the ordered circumstance of worldly life. And it is very characteristic of our Lord that He foresaw this with such perfect clearness, and said "a man's foes shall be they of his own household." That happened constantly in early days; I have reason to know that it is happening yet. The coming of Christ into a house may mean disturbance. Let all those who have to suffer so, and who are vexed about it, as Peter's wife would be, recall that blessed morning in Capernaum.
Help Received by Others Not Mentioned
One notes again how others have been helping before these comrades brought their friend to Jesus, for before then, and in this very neighborhood, the Lord had proved Himself a universal healer (Mat 4:24). Among those healed would be this patient's friends. He saw the change the Lord had wrought on them. Some had been mad, and they were sane again; some had been palsied, and now they were restored. And who can doubt, though it is never mentioned, that the wonderful things his eyes had seen made him eager to be brought to Jesus? We must not give all the credit to these comrades. There were unrecorded helpers besides them. There were men and women, whose names we never hear, who had encouraged him to make the venture. And I take it that could we read the story of those who have been brought to Christ we should discover that it was always so. The evangelist may do the actual bringing, but it is others who make the bringing possible--a loving mother, or a believing friend, or a diligent and faithful pastor. Nor is their part less beautiful because we never hear of them in the hour when the great transaction is completed.
The Four Demonstrated a Lofty Sense of Values
Again it strikes one how these four helping comrades were men with a very lofty sense of values. There is no hint that they ever asked permission before they began digging through that roof. There are people who would not smash a roof, though by doing it they might save a thousand souls. To them property is sacred. But to these comrades the sacred thing was life, and they were willing to destroy a hundred roofs if so doing they could save a brother. That is the spirit we want within the Church, the spirit that sees the worth of personality; the spirit ready, for the Master's sake, to break through everything that keeps us snug and comfortable. After all, it is only a matter of values, and whenever we see the value of one soul, then many an old roof will have to go, no matter what Peter's wife may think about it.
The Unconventional Way in Which the Paralytic Was Brought to Christ
One thinks, too, how this man was brought to Christ in a unique and unexampled fashion. Never before and never afterwards was anyone brought to Jesus through a roof. The common way is through a door; sometimes it is through a window. I have seen the heathen clustering round the windows when I have been preaching Christ in Africa. But who ever heard, in any truthful chronicle, of a sinner reaching Jesus through a roof, and yet that is what happened at Capernaum. I am pleading against convention in the Church. I am pleading against insistence on the stereotyped. When every gate is blocked a man can still reach Jesus through the roof. And all this is entirely Scriptural; if it were not I never should enforce it. For does not the prophet say in a great passage, "A highway shall be there, and a way"?--a highway, broad and strong, for the marching army of the living God, and a peculiar and single way for you.
The Perfect Confidence of Jesus
I should like lastly to insist here on the perfect confidence of Jesus. I want you to think what would have happened if this miracle had proved a failure. Every eye was watching Him. Could He heal that man or could He not? If He failed in the presence of the crowd His claims were shattered and His name dishonored. And then, in a superb and perfect confidence, He said, "Arise, take up thy bed and walk," and the man did it. My dear reader, with such a Lord as that do not tremble for the ark of God. The only man in Scripture who so trembled was the worldly and unworthy Eli. Rise to the perfect confidence of Jesus, which never failed Him in the darkest hour.
"Jesus shall reign where'er the sun
Doth his successive journeys run."
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