Mark 3* The withered hand healed. (1-5) The people resort to Christ.(6-12) The apostles called. (13-21) The blasphemy of thescribes. (22-30) Christ's relatives. (31-35)1-5 This man's case was piteous; he had a withered hand, whichdisabled him from working for his living; and those that are so,are the most proper objects of charity. Let those be helped thatcannot help themselves. But stubborn infidels, when they can saynothing against the truth, yet will not yield. We hear what issaid amiss, and see what is done amiss; but Christ looks at theroot of bitterness in the heart, the blindness and hardness ofthat, and is grieved. Let hard-hearted sinners tremble to thinkof the anger with which he will look upon them shortly, when theday of his wrath comes. The great healing day now is thesabbath, and the healing place the house of prayer; but thehealing power is of Christ. The gospel command is like thatrecorded here: though our hands are withered, yet, if we willnot stretch them out, it is our own fault that we are nothealed. But if we are healed, Christ, his power and grace, musthave all the glory. 6-12 All our sicknesses and calamities spring from the anger ofGod against our sins. Their removal, or the making themblessings to us, was purchased to us by the blood of Christ. Butthe plagues and diseases of our souls, of our hearts, arechiefly to be dreaded; and He can heal them also by a word. Maymore and more press to Christ to be healed of these plagues, andto be delivered from the enemies of their souls. 13-21 Christ calls whom he will; for his grace is his own. Hehad called the apostles to separate themselves from the crowd,and they came unto him. He now gave them power to healsicknesses, and to cast out devils. May the Lord send forth moreand more of those who have been with him, and have learned ofhim to preach his gospel, to be instruments in his blessed work.Those whose hearts are enlarged in the work of God, can easilybear with what is inconvenient to themselves, and will ratherlose a meal than an opportunity of doing good. Those who go onwith zeal in the work of God, must expect hinderances, both fromthe hatred of enemies, and mistaken affections of friends, andneed to guard against both. 22-30 It was plain that the doctrine of Christ had a directtendency to break the devil's power; and it was as plain, thatcasting of him out of the bodies of people, confirmed thatdoctrine; therefore Satan could not support such a design.Christ gave an awful warning against speaking such dangerouswords. It is true the gospel promises, because Christ haspurchased, forgiveness for the greatest sins and sinners; but bythis sin, they would oppose the gifts of the Holy Ghost afterChrist's ascension. Such is the enmity of the heart, thatunconverted men pretend believers are doing Satan's work, whensinners are brought to repentance and newness of life. 31-35 It is a great comfort to all true Christians, that theyare dearer to Christ than mother, brother, or sister as such,merely as relations in the flesh would have been, even had theybeen holy. Blessed be God, this great and gracious privilege isours even now; for though Christ's bodily presence cannot beenjoyed by us, his spiritual presence is not denied us.
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