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Ever calm, and ever kind," Jesus went with them."
But the centurion, as the Lord drew near to his house, felt more and more the awful sense of his unworthiness, and sent friends unto him to say how unfit he felt himself to enter into His holy presence. He besought him to "speak the word only," and his "servant should be healed." No words of man can express more clearly, more strongly, a perfect faith, a perfect belief in the power of Jesus, than the reason the centurion gave for this request.
He knew, he said, that Jesus had only to speak the command and he would be obeyed. And why did he know this! Because he knew, by his own place, as an officer, himself under the command of those above him, and yet commanding the services of those below him, that a word spoken made obedience sure. "I am not worthy that thou shouldest enter under my roof, but speak the word, (the word only,) and my servant shall be healed, for I am a man set under authority, having under me soldiers, and I say unto one, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it." If I, who must myself obey, have my bidding done at a word, how much more thou who, by so many proofs, has shown that thou dost possess the power of God! Angels and spirits must fly to do thy bidding.* Send to my house one of thy good angels, and he will come. Say unto the disease, of which my servant is even now dying, Depart, and it will be gone.
Humility, faith, and true knowledge of the power of God, can never be better expressed than they were in this message, sent by the Roman officer, one of the Gentiles, whom the Jews thought so far inferior to themselves. "It is not strange to
of a Messiah who was to set them free from sins, which they did not believe they had, and to give them the kingdom of heaven, for which they did not care. And is it not true, that many of ourselves feel the same eagerness for the greatness and riches of this world, and the same contempt and indifference for eternal life? *Trench on the Miracles.
read that our Lord himself was filled with admiration.” * And we read that—
MATTHEW Viii. 10. "When Jesus heard it, he marvelled,+ and said to them that followed, Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel."
Then our Saviour spoke a solemn warning to his Jewish followers. Great privileges were indeed theirs, for they were of God's early chosen people, but they must not trust to this, for it was an awful truth that many should be gathered from heathen lands into the family of God, while many of Abraham's own children should be shut out, "because of their unbelief." The centurion's humble, earnest faith, received its immediate reward. "And they that were sent, returning to the house, found the servant whole that had been sick." (Luke vii. 10.)
Perhaps the centurion's earnest love had strengthened his deep humility, so as to enable him in the end to come out to meet his Lord face to face, and that it was to himself these words of Jesus were spoken: "Go thy way; and as thou hast believed, so be it done unto thee. And his servant was healed in the self-same hour." (Matt. viii. 13.)
O holy God, give us more and more deeply to feel our unworthiness to come unto thee with any of our petitions, except through the intercession of thy dear Son, that we may more truly cling to him as our only hope. Thou hast indeed promised to hear the prayers we offer up for each other in the name of thy dear Son, but we bless thee that thou hast given us that Son himself to be our Intercessor, to appear before thee in our stead, and confidently we may plead with thee, "He is worthy for whom thou shouldest do this," for He is thine own well-beloved and sinless Son, the brightness of thy glory and + Marvel means admiration as well as wonder.
Trench on the Miracles.
the express image of thy person, by whom thou hast redeemed the world. All unworthy as we are, we entreat thee, Lord Jesus, to come into our dwellings, and to abide with us, that every member of our families, each child, each brother, each friend, each servant, may be healed of the deadly disease of sin. And oh grant that we may all of us be gathered into thine own family, and with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, with all who have departed this life in thy faith and fear, may sit down in the kingdom of God, for Christ's sake.
LUKE VII. 11.
As the morning sun shines brighter and brighter till the perfect day, so, as time went on, did the glory of God, manifested in the person of his Son, shine forth brighter and brighter.
We have heard how, since the beginning of his ministry, the Lord Jesus had healed the sick, and cast out devils; how all manner of diseases had fled at his touch, and obeyed his word, spoken at a distance; the time is now come, when we shall hear of greater things than these.
It was wonderful to have healed the sick, to have restored the dying, and many, whose hearts had been trembling in fear for the lives of those they loved, blessed Jesus as the restorer of their happiness. But there is a grief far beyond anxiety and fear. While life lasts in the sufferer, there may be always something of hope, and even when we know that hope is ended, still, while we can soothe, and sustain, if it be only in our arms, there is life in our feelings, for there is still something that can be done. But when the living gaze upon the dead, all is ended; death itself seems to fall upon our powers, and the nothingness of man is forced upon our minds. In one
The beloved one is gone for ever from our help.
hour a gulf has divided us from him, and even in thought we cannot pass it. Thousands and thousands of miles are but feeble words that cannot speak the distance to which we feel the spirit is gone. The most thoughtless, in silence, and alone, cannot gaze upon the dead without these awful feelings of separation. Faith strives to follow the departed spirit, but even religion cannot lessen the gulph that divides the living from the dead. Death, since the beginning, has been a stern teacher of the nothingness of the power of man; and even the unbeliever must believe that no one but God can call back the dead.
The time was come, when this proof, that Jesus was God, was to be given to men, and his voice was now in the hearing of men, to call back the spirit across that fearful gulph-to restore the dead to the living.
Do you remember that when the Lord Jesus was, by a miracle, to give a lesson to the Pharisees that all works for God's glory, in the real good of man, were lawful on the Sabbathday, He went to the Pool of Bethesda, and chose out, from among many, one friendless man, who for thirty-and-eight years had vainly waited for a cure? So now, when the great truth that death itself must yield to his command was to be declared, and proved so that no man could deny it, by the raising of the dead, Jesus sought out one family in which death had done its worst.
After He had healed the centurion's servant, He had remained all night in Capernaum.
That night at Nain, a little city about twelve miles off, a widow lost her only son. Jesus knew it. Whether near or far away, every thought of every heart is open to him; and He knew the crushing sorrow that had fallen upon this widowed mother. Pity for her grief filled the hearts of the people of Nain, and they would show it by following her dead son to his burial;* Jesus knew it.
* The Jewish burials took place before the sunset in the day after death, often in little more than twelve hours.
LUKE vii, 11-16. "And it came to pass the day after, that He went into a city called Nain; and many of his disciples went with him, and much people. Now when He came nigh to the gate of the city, behold, there was a dead man carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow; and much people of the city was with her. And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her, and said unto her, Weep not. And He came and touched the bier; and they that bare him stood still. And he said, Young man, I say unto thee, Arise. And he that was dead sat up, and began to speak. And He delivered him to his mother. And there came a fear on all and they glorified God, saying, that a great prophet is risen up among us; and, That God hath visited his people."
Who can add a word to this? Do we not seem to see the two crowds meeting at the city gates? The dead man on his bier. The mother, who sees nothing-knows nothing, but that her only son is stretched upon it, and, that she is a widow? The Saviour, who waits for no petition to draw him to her. Do we not seem to hear his gentle-" Weep not?" to feel his touch upon the bier? to hear that solemn word-" Arise," that called the spirit back? And do we not seem to share the fear that came on all when "the dead man sat up and began to speak?" The feelings of the mother's heart, in its sudden change to an almost impossible happiness, are too sacred, too deep in their awful wonder, their scarce believing joy, for us to dwell upon. We will not follow her on her return to her home with her living son, nor attempt to cross with them the threshold over which he had been carried dead; only this shall we picture to ourselves, that both would kneel down before God; and that the life given to the dead body, would be but the beginning of the life given to the returned soul, and that