George H. Morrison - Devotional Sermons
The Ultimate Discovery
And they went out to see what it was that was done. And they come to Jesus--Mar 5:14, Mar 5:15
They Went Out Searching and They Lighted on Jesus
As many of my readers are aware, there are no verses in the Greek New Testament. The text runs on without a single break. The verses of our English Bible have proved a great help to Scripture study. For thousands of humble folk they have made the Bible easier to read. But sometimes they obscure the sense, and cut right across some striking thought, as in the passage we are considering today. One pictures the swineherds, trembling and aghast, hurrying to the city with the news. One pictures the crowd, angry and unbelieving, pouring out of the city to the shore. Or as Mark puts it (and as he wrote the words don't you think their depths would dawn on him?), they went out to see what was done, and come to Jesus. The extraordinary thing is how often we do that. We go searching, and we find the Lord. We pursue our inquiries wherever they may lead us, and we light on Jesus, central and dynamical. We might illustrate that in many different ways.
Our Present Education and Civilization Would Lead Us Back to Christ
Think of national life, for instance, as we have it in our own land of Scotland. Men visit our shores from many countries to see what has been done in education. They inspect our splendid schools and colleges, they learn of our national passion for education, and then, pursuing inquiries, they discover that it runs back to the genius of John Knox. But John Knox was not a teacher, he was a mighty preacher of the Lord; and so, going out to see what has been done, men come to Jesus. Or, take the United States, with their vitality and their idealism, with their gallant effort to stem the tide of drink, with their extraordinary liberality. And when one asks inquiringly what lies away at the back of this large life, one comes to the Pilgrim Fathers. That is to say, one comes to men and women who gave up everything for the sake of the Lord Christ, who left their homes and the green fields of England, in simple and splendid loyalty to Him. So, going out to see what has been done in that virile and magnificent republic, one comes, like the Gadarenes, to Jesus.
Or, again, think of missions in their industrial and civilizing aspects. Take such a mission as Livingstonia. Go out to see what has been done there, and you find schools and colleges and hospitals; you find trade, and boats upon the lake, and highways, and cultivation of the soil. And then, back of all that civilization, where fifty years ago was blood and terror, you see the rugged face of Dr. Livingstone. Now Dr. Livingstone was not a trader. He was something more than consul or explorer. He was a man inspired by the Lord Jesus, and eager for the coming of His Kingdom. So, going out to see what has been done in the very heart of Africa, you come to Jesus. Multiply all that by fifty from the New Hebrides to Madagascar. Everywhere a growing civilization, and at the back of it--the Lord. It is facts like that, and the world is full of them, that bow me at the feet of Christ and make me cry, "His name shall be called Wonderful."
Our Poetry, Architecture and Music Go Back to Jesus
Nor should we forget that we make the same discovery when we engage in the pursuit of beauty. Poets and artists must remember that. I think of poetry, that daughter of the gods. Now, where did English poetry begin? Not in the love of nature, but in the inspirations of religion. I think of architecture, that "frozen music," and I am back to church and to cathedral, each fashioned in the likeness of the cross. When the common people lived in hovels, when Scottish palaces were only keeps, when domestic architecture was undreamed of, when private dwellings were comfortless and shapeless, art, genius, increasing toil were being lavished in the service of the faith. I think of painting, that most heavenly art, and I discover at the birth of modern painting not the portrayal of mountains or of forest, but the figures of Mary and her Child. Go out to see what has been done in the noble realms of English poetry. Go out to see what has been done in painting, architecture, music. The strange thing is that whenever you do that, never dreaming what you are going to find, like the Gadarenes, you come to Jesus.
At the Back of Our Social Reform Is Jesus
Again, one thinks how true this is in the great sphere of social reform. At the back of it all do we not come to Him? Who led the way in the reform of prisons? It was certainly not your general philanthropist. It was men like Howard, whose hearts the Lord had touched, and who had felt the power of His compassion. Who toiled for the emancipation of the slave? It was not your champion of the rights of man. It was men like Wilberforce, inspired by the conviction that where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. Go out and see what has been done for women--go and inquire what has been done for children--go and cast your eyes on Quarrier's Homes--go and measure the walls of our infirmaries--and you come, not to a general philanthropy, nor to any natural tenderness of heart: like the Gadarenes you come to Jesus. Go down into the slums of our great cities, and tell me who is toiling there. Moral philosophers? I rarely meet them. Doctrinaires? They are at home discussing social problems. I light on Christian men and Christian women. I light on the Salvation Army, with its magnificent battle-cry of "Blood and Fire." When the drunkard is made himself again, when the poor woman of the street is rescued, when little homes that once were pigsties become models of neatness and of cleanness, I bear my witness, after a long ministry, that in ninety-nine cases in the hundred at the back of everything you come to Jesus. Ally yourself with Him. He is the only One who gets things over. Why waste youth and energy and brains in allying yourself with anybody else? With life so short, with so much yet to do to "build Jerusalem in our pleasant land," it is the sanest and most practical of politics to fight under the banner of the Lord.
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