Sermon 3334. Lovely, But Lacking
A SERMON PUBLISHED ON THURSDAY, DECEMBER 26, 1912.
DELIVERED BY C. H. SPURGEON,
AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON.
"One thing you lack." Mark 10:21.
THOUGH the Gospel of Jesus Christ most certainly addresses itself to the vilest of the vile, it is not exclusively to suchthat the message of salvation is sent. There are, indeed, no characters so far gone in vice that the Gospel does not speakto them. However abandoned they may be, still is this inviting voice sent to the very chief of sinners, "Come to Christ andlive." But the Gospel, with equal affection, addresses itself to those who are not upon any common estimation to be numberedwith the chief of sinners-to those whose moral integrity has been unimpeachable, whose outward propriety has been scrupulous-whoselives in all their domestic and social relations have been commendable. There are always some such individuals in our congregation.We are very thankful that there are. We have an invitation for them as frank, as honest and as earnest as for wanton sinners,heinous transgressors and hardened criminals-and our sincere desire is that such may be saved, for we believe that they, also,will make illustrious trophies of Divine Grace when Grace decides them to decide for Christ.
Among us we have a large number of most hopeful people, to whom it may be said, "One thing you lack." A word of congratulationto you, thatyou only lack one thing/Then I propose, therefore, to utter a warning because you do lack one thing. And afterthat a few words of instruction to show how this one lack may be supplied. May God grant that His power may rest upon HisWord, so that you may no longer lack the one thing.
I. First, then, this is A WORD OF CONGRATULATION.
Let us take this young man's case as descriptive of that of many here present. He did not lack morality. He could say, "Allthese things have I kept from my youth up." Nor did the Savior tell him that he was uttering a lie-He looked upon him andlovedhim-which He would not have done if he had been a willful liar. No, he had been neither unchaste, nor dishonest, norprofane. He had been all that could be desired in these respects. I congratulate you if such is your case. It will save youfrom a thousand sorrows to have been kept from those grosser sins! You have not formed habits which will lead you in lateryears into temptation. You have not formed associations which it will be difficult to break. You have not learned words, phrasesand sentiments which will defile your memory in later days, even though you should live to hate them. I thank God that youhave this privilege-that it cannot be said of you that you lack in morality!
Nor was this young man's lack that of outward religion. We are told-I think it is by Luke or Matthew-that he was a ruler.That is to say, as we read it, a ruler in the synagogue. He was one who had taken office among his coreligionists and hadeven presided in their religious assemblies. He was a young man, remember, and it is not often that young men attain to sucha position, so that he must have been not only scrupulously excellent in his conduct, but he must have been regarded by allwho knew him as remarkably religious at heart. Indeed, when he knelt down before the Savior, when he addressed Him as, "GoodMaster," he showed that his outward habits were of a religious cast. And so I congratulate some of you that you love the placewhere Christians meet, that in their sacred songs you take an interest, that their Holy Book is a book not altogether unreadby you, that you would be grieved if you could not go up to the assembly of God's people. I am glad that as touching thesethings in your outward regularity, some of you might even put others to shame who are further advanced than you in spiritualthings. You do not lack for morality-you do not lack for the outward part of religion!
Nor can I suppose that this young man lacked a becoming respect for whatever was pure and lovely and of good report. In addressingour Lord by that remarkable title which was not used by Jews even to their Rabbis, he showed how he
looked upon the Holy Christ with a profound awe. He did not perceive His Deity, but what he did perceive of His matchlessgoodness he deferred to. And it is so with you, my Friend. You never utter an opprobrious word against God's people. You wouldbe very grieved to hear them evilly spoken of. You love the ministers of Christ. There is no company that pleases you betterthan the company of the people of God. You have religion-you have a respect for that part of religion which as yet you donot possess. You wish you had it. You envy those who have it and would wish to be the meanest of them all if you might buthave a part among them. I congratulate you upon this! I thank God concerning you. Looking upon you, I feel as Jesus did, thatmy heart loves you and I gladly would that you had the necessary supply of that thing which you still lack.
This young man did not lack orthodoxy. He was no doubter, skeptic, or professed infidel. He said, "What must I do that I mayinherit eternal life?" He believed in eternal life. He was not one of those Sadducees who say that there is no resurrection,neither angel nor spirit. He venerated the grand old Truths of his father's religion-he was a firm believer in the orthodoxfaith. And so with you. You have never yet dared to doubt the Word of God and as far as you have learned its meaning, youhold that meaning in the most solemn respect. You would not for the world be found a heretic! You would not willfully callin the existence of God, the deity of Christ, the Atonement by blood, or any other of the essentials of our most holy faith.As far as your head is concerned, you are clear enough about these things. I thank God for this, for it is a grand escapefrom a pestilent evil. It is hard to get a man's conscience sound who has gone through the great dismal swamps of infidelity.After once listening to the vile suggestions of ungodliness, or reading such infamies as come from the pen of a Tom Paine,the soul seems as if it never could get clean of the corruption! It is such pitch-it sticks to one's hands-and though onetakes to himself nitre and much soap, yet shall he scarcely cleanse himself from the defilement! You have not acquired thattaint of your moral constitution. Thank God for it! I bless God that in His abundant mercy, you do not lack for a knowledgeof the faith and a degree of belief in it!
Nor yet, my dear Friends, did this young man lack sincerity. I have noticed same expositors speaking of him as a hypocrite,but he was as far away from being a hypocrite as the North Pole is from the South! He was transparent in all he said. Eventhat little bit that looks like boasting-"All these have I kept from my youth up," shows how ingenuous the man was. A manwho was not sincere would have minced a little and kept back an expression so complimentary to himself. He was the very mirrorof candor and so are some of you. You have not learned the ways of craft. You do not assume to be what you are not. Thoughyou mix with God's people, yet you have not ventured to proceed to Baptism without faith, nor do you dare to come to the CommunionTable because you fear you have not fellowship with Christ. You prove your sincerity in many ways and upon this, I again congratulateyou and thank the God of Mercy!
This young ruler, moreover, did not lack for zeal The way in which he came to Christ showed his ardor. He came to Him runningandfell down before Him, saying, "What must I do to inherit eternal life?" You, too, have a zeal for God, though not accordingto knowledge. If the Holy Spirit shall but teach you what the one thing is that you are lacking, I believe you will seek afterit. I trust you will. At any rate, up to the measure of your light you have been, up till now, quick, zealous and desirousto do what you could.
This young man also was exceedingly thoughtful. Half the battle with many men is to make them think, even if they think wrongly.It is almost better for them to think in the most crooked manner than not to think at all. The men least likely to be savedare they who go about their business or their pleasures and will not imagine that they have time for thought. But here wasa thoughtful man. He had studied the Law and had tried to keep it. He was now something more than thoughtful-he was anxious."What lack I yet?" as if he felt there was something he did not know and he would gladly know what it was. He was not so self-righteousas some have fancied he was. He had a self-righteous head, but he had a seeking heart. His head made him think that he hadkept the Law, but his heart told him that he had not, for he said, "What must I do to inherit eternal life?" which he wouldnot have said if he had believed that he had religion enough to inherit it. He said, "What lack I yet?" which I think he wouldnot have said if he had not known that he did lack something, though he knew not what. I am thankful-I am again thankful toGod and I congratulate you, my dear Hearers, if you are somewhat in the same position, if you can honestly say, "I have triedto do what I can, I have sought to do as far as my light guides me. I do not believe I am saved, but I wish I were. What isit? What is that secret something which can fill the aching void within my heart? What is that which can give me rest? Forrest as yet I do not possess."
Once more, this young man did not lack for willingness-at least he thought he did not He believed himself willing to do anything,to give anything, to suffer anything if he might but be saved. So also do some of you. You would stand up in the congregationtonight and say, "The Lord knows there is nothing within my reach that I would not do. There is nothing under Heaven thatI would not bear if I might but inherit eternal life." But, perhaps like this young man, you do not know your own heart-andif Christ were to try you with some searching precept-you might, like he, go away sorrowing. But, at any rate, as far as youknow, you are willing. And I am glad of this and thankful that all these points are in you. Though you do lack, yet you donot lack any of these, but lack something else.
The fact is, this young man lacked knowledge. He did not know the spiritualityof the Law. He had never been taught that theLaw concerns our glances, our thoughts and our imagination. He supposed he had kept the Law because he had not committed anyact of adultery, or of theft-nor had he spoken the thing that was not true. He did not know that an unchaste glance, or acauseless hatred, or a covetous desire breaks the Law of God and betrays the sin that lurks in the breast. He did not knowthat and, perhaps, some of you do not know it. Oh, that you may be led to know it! May God not only make you know it as amatter of knowledge, but understand it as a matter of conviction deeply written in the conscience! And he did not know theplan of salvation. The question, "What must I do to inherit eternal life?" showed that he did not know that salvation is notby doing, but by believing-not by our works, but by a simple trust in Jesus. This was a great deficiency! Though he was amodel of uprightness in a hundred interesting points which we cannot now stay to discuss, he was lacking in a matter of vitalinterest to his immortal welfare! In that he was just like many of you. With looks of love and pity, with feelings of tenderregard, but deep anxiety, we turn to you, therefore, with this reflection, "One thing you lack."
II. And now we shall change the note. THIS TEXT HAS A WORD OF WARNING.
"One thing you lack." What was the one thing that this young man lacked? It was the full surrender of his heart to God inChrist. He had not done that. Our Savior gave him, therefore, a command which tested him. He bade him go, sell all that hehad and distribute it to the poor. This is not a command which He gives to all men, but He gave that particular command tothat particular young man according to his particular circumstances-He saw that he was not the man that could endure to bepoor. He saw, too, that he had made his riches his idol. He was a gentleman. He was a man of great possessions. He does notseem to have been a cheapskate. He could hardly have been a ruler of a synagogue, one would think, if he had been, but still,he had a great liking for position. He was a gentleman and there are a great many people who would sooner be gentlemen thanthey would be saints-and sooner be thought to belong to the upper and respectable circles of society than they would be thoughtto be devout and holy! This young man would have liked to have been both, but the Savior, seeing that his wealth was in hisheart and that he had loved it better than he did his God, said to him, "Part with your wealth, for if you are decided forGod and your heart is wholly His, you will prove it by the readiness of your obedience." Here, then, was the thing he lacked-helacked the full surrender of his heart to God's will. And so he went away sorrowing, for he had great possessions.
This lack of the full surrender of his heart to God's will made him shun the reproach of being a follower of Christ. Hence,though he would call Christ, "Good Master," he would not turn and follow Him and learn of Him. So the Master said, after Hehad bid him sell his goods, "Take up the cross." That is to say, "Come out and confess Me. Having done as I bid you, thencome and say I am a disciple of that Man who is despised and rejected. I will follow Him to prison and to death, and I willpreach His Word though I be put to death for it. I will take up the cross. "
Christ knew that the one thing he lacked was the full giving up of his heart to God and, therefore, He said, "Follow Me, forif you really do love God, you will follow His Son. If your heart is fully given to God, you will be willing to be obedientto Christ, to take Him for your Leader, Master, Savior, Guide, Friend and Counselor." Now, in this the young man failed. Hecould not so give himself up wholly to God. He could not at that time, at any rate, so give himself up as to be completelyChrist's servant. Now, no man who fails in this respect can enter Heaven! Christ will save you, but a part of the agreementon your part must be this, "You are not your own, but are bought with a price." If you would have Christ's blood to redeemyou, you must give yourself up to Christ-your body, your soul, your spirit, your substance, your talents, your time, yourall! You must from this day be Christ's servant, come what may. If persecution should arise, you must be willing to part withall that you possess-with your liberty, with your life, itself, for Christ-or you cannot be His disciple. He may never callyou literally to sell your goods and distribute all, but He does call you to acknowledge that your goods are not your own,but His. That you are only a steward and must be willing, therefore, to give to the poor and to dedicate to the honor of HisKingdom, such part as shall be meet and right of all that you have, not as though you were bestowing anything of your own,but only as yielding up to God what belongs to Him! He claims that you now turn over, if you would be saved, yourself andeverything you have by an indefeasible title deed to the Great Lord of All whose you must be. If you would be saved by theblood of Jesus, you are not from this day to choose your own pleasures, nor your own ways, nor your own thoughts, nor to serveyourselves, nor live for yourselves or your own aggrandizement. If you would be saved, you must believe what He tells you,do what He bids you and live only to serve and honor Him. I am ashamed to have to say that a great many Christian professorsseem to be false to this, their agreement, but, as my Lord will take no less, I dare ask no less of you. It seems to me alltoo little. He has bought us, not with silver and gold, but with His own precious blood! Surely, then, we should be quitewilling to say-
"'Tis done, the great transaction's done, I am my Lord's, and He is mine." What you keep to yourselves you shall lose, butwhat you give to Him you save and gain! Your treasure on earth the moth shall eat and the rust corrupt, but your treasurein His keeping no moth shall ever fret, nor canker ever devour. All is safe which is given up to Christ! That which is keptback from Him, whatever it may be, shall prove a curse to you. Say, then, my dear young Friend, with all your excellences,do you lack the giving up of your heart, the full giving up of yourself to Christ? Oh, I am grieved that you should lack it!I am, indeed, grieved that you should lack it! I would like my Lord to have such a bright gem as you to glitter in His crown!I would like the Good Shepherd to have so dear a lamb to carry in His bosom! What? Shall so fair a flower shed its fragrancefor His enemies? Let the Savior take it and wear it in His bosom-He is willing-may His Grace take it tonight! One cannot bearthat you, that you having so much, should lack but one thing. If you lacked all, that were grievous, but lacking but one thing,oh, why should not that lack be made up? God grant it at once! To miss Heaven! I cannot bear to think that you should, whenyou really are so sincerely anxious about it. To have such desires and to be so fervent, too, and yet not to give your wholeheart to my Lord? Poor things are desires if they get no farther! Desire will not quench thirst, neither will it stay hunger.You must take Christ and live on Him or you shall die! To think, dear Friends, that some of you should miss Heaven throughyour wealth! Why need it be? And yet it is often so. The rich will not go to hear the Gospel as the poor will-and when theyhear it, there is often so much care about their extensive business, or, on the other hand, there is so much attraction inthat circle of gay and thoughtless friends, that it is hard for them to be saved. Oh, what a pity that the mercies of Godshould lead you to Hell-and that riches hereshould all but involve you, or altogether involve you, in eternal poverty hereafter!God in His mercy prevent it, that you may yet be saved!
The sad thing to remember is that you who lack one thing, in lacking that one thing, lack all, for though I congratulatedyou that you had morality, that is poor stuff when it has no foundation in love to God. Your sincerity, I think I must suspectthat it is exhausted if, after having been told the way, which is simply to believe in Christ and give yourselves up to Him,you now refuse! Yes, and all the good things which I have strung together with words of congratulation are but as the colorsof a bubble that shall pass away unless you have this one thing. The one thing is like the unit set before many ciphers whichwill make them into a great amount, but without the one figure, first, all those ciphers will stand for nothing, many as theyare! If by the Grace of God in your heart and the exercise of a living faith in the dying Savior, you give yourself whollyup to God, then every good thing, lovely thing and thing of good repute shall be embalmed and preserved, but, without this,they shall be like faded flowers-fit only to be cast behind the wall or to perish on the dunghill!
III. Lastly, we shall give you A WORD OF DIRECTION.
If you would inherit eternal life, Christ's direction is, "Sell all that you have and give to the poor." Now, what did Hemean by that? We shall read it three ways and very quickly. First, He meant in the young man's case, "Give up your idol.."His was wealth. He means the same kind of trial for you. Give up your idol. What is it? I pause. You may look, but I am surethat if you are not loving God you are loving something else-and whatever it is that you love better than God is your idol-andyou are an idolater-and your idol must fall to the ground if Jesus is to be All in All. You cannot serve two masters-and whateveryour present master is, it must be thrown out-that Christ may come in.
"Sell all that you have." Well, that means another thing as I read it, that is, consecrate your all to God. How can you expect,if you withhold and keep back part of the price from God, that He should accept you and save you by Jesus Christ. No, come,poor guilty Sinner, and wash in the purple stream that flows from Jesus' heart and then say in return, "My Lord, since, Youhave thus redeemed me-
"All that I am, and all I have
Shall be forever Thine.
Whatever my duty bids me give,
My cheerful hands resign.
And ifI could make some reserve,
And duty did not call
I'd love my God with zeal so great
That I must give Him all."
The third reading of this passage will be-give up your hindrances. This young man's hindrance was his possessions, and itwas better that he should relinquish his possessions and be saved, than be hindered by his wealth. What, my dear Friend, isyour hindrance? Give it up! Give it up! Give it up! Oh, I know some of you that are hindered by bad company. You are oftenimposed, but it is all blown away by those merry men whose merriment is tinged with lasciviousness. Give them up! Will yougive them up, or give up Christ? Which shall it be? You remember in John Bunyan's Lifehe says that one Sunday when he wasplaying on the village green at a game of cat, he was just about to strike the cat when a voice came to him from Heaven, andsaid, "Will you have your sins and go to Hell, or leave your sins and go to Heaven?" And he stood there in the midst of hiscompanions and paused, and they could not think what ailed the tinker while he was disputing in his mind which it should be-Christand Heaven-or his sins and Hell! Now, whatever your hindrance is- if it is money, if it is anything-whatever it is, give itup! If it is your right hand, you had better cut it off and cast it from you, than having it enter into Hell. If it is yourright eye, it were better for you to pluck it out than having two eyes to be cast into Hell's fire! That is the cry of thetext tonight-down with your idols! Give them all up! Cast away your hindrances and come to Christ and trust Him! That is thefirst word of instruction.
But the second instructive word is, " Take up the cross." That means, profess Christ You have a notion, perhaps, some of you,that you will sneak into Heaven as secret Christians. Take care that if you try that you do not find yourselves at anothergate than the gate of pearl! Christ came not to save those cowardly souls who will not acknowledge Him. His own words are,"He that denies Me before men, him will I deny before My Father who is in Heaven." Ashamed of Jesus? Ah, then, remember thosewords, "The fearful and unbelieving"-the fearful-that is those who are afraid to acknowledge Christ as their Master-"shallhave their portion in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death." I pray you, then, if you areChrist's, confess Him! Acknowledge Him! Confess that you are His-take up the cross, take up your cross-that is, endure Hisreproach. You would not like to be called a canting Methodist, or Presbyterian, or some other ugly name. Ah, but, my dearFriend, if you would have Christ's crown, you must have Christ's Cross-and he that is not willing to be sneered at with Christcannot reign with Christ! And what if they do sneer at you? If that is your cross, take it up! What higher honor can a manneed on this side of Heaven than to be called a fool for Christ? I know the day shall come when angels shall envy the menthat were permitted to have the privilege of suffering for Christ. You know the old story of Henry the Fifth, when, in viewof a battle, it was said he needed more men, but he replied that he did not wish for more men, for-
"The fewer men, the greater share of honor,"
and he pictured the day when
"Gentlemen of England, now a-bed
Shall think themselves accursed they were not here!"
Truly, if you could escape rebuke and persecution, you might well be grieved to think that you went to Heaven by so mean away! Be willing, then, like a brave spirit, to take up the cross and carry it, counting the reproach of Christ greater richesthan all the treasures of Egypt. Take up your cross-that is, trust in the Cross-grasp it as your only hope! Let the Atonementwhich Jesus made by His death be the delight of your soul and from this day always boast therein.
The last word of direction was-"Follow Me." Christ said, "Follow Me." He meant, did He not, confide in Me? As a confidingsheep follows its shepherd, so follow Me. He meant "Obey me, as the servant follows where the Master leads, so trace My footstepsand let My example be your rule." So Jesus says to you, also, "Persevere in following Me. Never cease so doing. Follow meright up to My Throne and there rest with Me."
Listen, then, each of you here present, who have only one thing that you lack. Will you now-may His Holy Spirit make you-giveup the world and all it offers you? Will you give up sin and all its fascinations and close in with God in Christ and giveyour whole heart to Him? Multitudes, multitudes in the Valley of Decision. There is a Valley of Decision to us all, when weare either left to our own wills to decide for evil, or the Grace of God makes us decide for Christ! The cry is heard in thishouse tonight, "Divide, divide." Those who shall say "yes" within their hearts take their place with Christ! But those whosay, "no"-those who give the negative to the command of Christ-let them at least know what they are doing! And if they willgo the downward road, let it be with their eyes open that they may know where they go. But, oh, say not, "No!" Oh, Spiritof God, let them not say, "No!" Yield, Man, yield Woman, to the gentle impulse which now bids you say, "I will take His yokeupon me, for it is easy. I will follow Him." Yield to His love who round you now the bands of a man would cast-the cords ofHis love who was given for you-to His altar binding you fast. Pray this prayer-"Lord, bind the sacrifice with cords, evenwith cords to the horns of the altar! Let me be Yours now, and Yours hereafter when You come in Your Glory!"
There is a question that has often been asked, with feelings of curiosity, which I cannot answer. It is this-did the youngman inherit eternal life after all? I think he did. I think he did because Jesus loved him. I like his character throughout,as the Savior evidently did, and He did not love because of outward appearances-He looked at the heart. I am not altogetherdispleased at his going away. It was a deal better than staying if he did not follow honestly the Good Master who had eternallife at His disposal. I even look hopefully at his pausing awhile before complying, if such was the case, for the man thatflings all away in a moment may want it back again tomorrow. It was a great deal he had to part from and he went away-buthe did not go away careless. I know I would be glad if my Hearers went away sorrowing when they are not converted. I wouldthink it was a hopeful sign. He went away sorrowing and though the Savior drew from that the moral that it was hard for arich man to be saved, yet He said it was possible with God, and why, then, was it not possible with that young man? I do notknow. There are some things to be said on either side, but where Scripture is silent, we must not decide.
But there is another question that I think is vastly more important-and to me, more interesting and to each one of you a dealmore so-and that is will that young man that I have been talking to tonight, be saved? And the young woman that I tried todescribe just now-will she ultimately inherit eternal life? Oh, may God grant that the answer may be in each case, "Yes, Lord,You know all things, You know that I trust You, that I love You and whatever You tell me to give up, or to be, or to do forYour name's sake, even all things, I will do it." Then the Lord bless you, for you are saved and you shall be His in the dayof His appearing!
God give His blessing for Jesus' sake.
EXPOSITION BY C. H. SPURGEON: MARK9:2-21.
Verses 2-7. And after six days Jesus took with Him, Peter, and James, and John, and led them up into a high mountain apartby themselves. And He was transfigured before them and His raiment became shining, exceedingly white as snow; so as no fulleron earth can whiten them. And there appeared unto them Elijah with Moses: and they were talking with Jesus. AndPeter answeredand said to Jesus, Master, it is good for us to be here andlet us make three tabernacles, one for You, and one for Moses,and one for Elijah. For he knew not what to say; for they were sorely afraid. And there was a cloud that overshadowed them:anda Voice came out of the cloud, saying, This is My belovedSon: hear Him. You and I have sometimes wished that we could seeChrist in His earthly Glory. We need not, however, wish it, for if such a sight were permitted to us, in all probability wewould be more full of fear than of joy. These three men, the elect out of the elect, the very choicest of the Apostles-hadlittle delight in what they saw at the time, for the Glory was too bright for their overwhelmed natures-
"At the too transporting sight, Darkness rushes o'er my sight."
We had better wait awhile until these eyes shall have been cleansed and our whole fabric shall be fit for such a weight ofGlory as the sight of our exalted Lord will be!
8. And suddenly, when they had looked round about, they saw no man anymore, save Jesus only with themselves. Unhappy, indeed,would they have been if they had looked about and seen none but Moses, for poor comfort could Moses bring! Or if, lookingaround, they had seen none but Elijah, for the stern Prophet of Fire would have been but a poor consolation to them in theirlife struggles. But Moses may go and Elijah may go. Lawgiver and Prophet may vanish! As long as Jesus Christ remains, it isenough! Jesus only is enough for all our needs-for all our desires.
9, 10. And as they came down from the mountain, He charged them that they should tell no man what things they had seen, tillthe Son of Man were risen from the dead. And they kept that saying with themselves, questioning one with another what therising from the dead should mean. For they did not understand the Master's words-not even these Apostles, for the Spirit ofGod was not yet fully given. Happy, indeed, is he upon whom the spirit of God rests-and in whom He dwells-for as John says,"You have an anointing from the Holy One, and know all things," and these men without that measure of anointing did not knowat that time even such a simple word as this-that the Son of Man should rise again from the dead! Brothers, we must be taughtof the Holy Spirit, or we shall never know anything profoundly. We might go to school to Christ, Himself-now, mark this word-wemight go to school to Christ Himself and yet learn nothing until the Holy Spirit should come upon us to write the Truth ofGod upon our heart which Christ has spoken to the ear. Oh, if you lack wisdom, ask of God, and He will give you of His Spirit!
11-13. And they asked Him, saying, Why do the scribes say that Elijah must first come? And He answered and told them, Elijahverily comes first, and restores all things, and how it is written of the Son of Man, that He must suffer many things, andbe set at naught. But I say unto you, That Elijah is indeed come-he was John the Baptist.
13. And they have done unto him whatever they wished, as it is written of him. It is rather singular that the disciples shouldbegin to ask about the scribes, for this was, as it were, a sort of warning note for a battle into which they were about toplunge. They talked about the scribes, but the scribes were down below in conflict with the rest of the Apostolic brotherhood,and now, while they are talking about them, they find themselves immediately in their presence.
14, 15. And when He came to His disciples, He saw a great multitude about them, and the scribes questioning them. And immediatelyall the people, when they beheld Him, were greatly amazed, and running to Him saluted Him. The probability is that the faceof Jesus Christ was shining like the face of Moses when he came down from the mount, and the people were amazed though notwith that same amazement which seized upon Israel when they saw the face of Moses, for Moses had to cover his face with aveil. But they ran to Him and saluted Him. The Glory of Christ attracts, whereas the Glory of Moses repels. The Glory of theLaw is terrible, but the Glory of the Gospel is cheering and attractive.
16, And He asked the scribes, What are you discussing with them?Like some great commander stepping into the field when hisunder followers are being beaten, he comes right to the front and charges the foe boldly. Christ said, "What are you discussingwith them?"-as much as to say, "Why did you not wait a bit and ask me? I could have answered you if they cannot."
17, 18. And one of the multitude answered and said, Master, I have brought unto You my son, which has a dumb spirit, and whereverit seizes him, it throws him down: and he foams at the mouth and gnashes his teeth, and becomes rigid. A case of dreadfulepilepsy accompanied with satanic possession.
18, 19. And I spoke to Your disciples that they should cast him out; and they could not. He answered him and said, O faithlessgeneration, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I bear you? Bring him to Me. That is a grand piece of advice, anda blessed word of permit-"Bring him to Me." There is no case so bad but if you bring it to Jesus, He can meet it. "Bring himto Me." Now, good Woman, bring your daughter's case to Christ tonight in prayer while you are sitting in the pew. Now, come,Brother, bring the case of your son who seems utterly to be abandoned to vice. Bring the case before Christ tonight! "Bringhim to Me." Oh, who would not bring his friend-his wife? Who would not bring her husband or her child unto Jesus Christ? "Bringhim to Me."
20. And they brought him unto Him. Some came to help the father, probably the bringing of the young man was too much an effortfor one alone. "They brought him unto Him." Two or three of you with united prayer can do what, perhaps, one man's prayerwould not. Come, help one another! "Bear you one another's burdens" in prayer. I would suggest that if one of you should havean ungodly son or daughter who causes you trouble, you should commune with some of Lovely, but Lacking Sermon #3334
your Brothers and Sisters in Christ and say, "Let us together make this case a matter of prayer till God hears us." And thenyou must take up a case of theirs, you know, turn and turn about, and see whether God does not in answer to prayer bless oneafter another that you thus bring to Christ! I know what the result will be-if it is honestly tried in simple confidence inthe power of Jesus!
20, 21. And when he saw Him, immediately the spirit convulsed him, and he fell on the ground, and wallowed foaming. And Heasked his father, how long is it since this came unto him? And he said, of a child. A terrible case.