A Sermon Delivered On Sunday Evening, May 13, 1877, By C. H. Spurgeon, At The Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington. 7/22/2012
On this occasion the members of the regular congregation left their seats for strangers.
And when Jesus departed from there, two blind men followed him,
crying, and saying, “Oh son of David, have mercy on us.” And when he
was come into the house, the blind men came to him: and Jesus says to
them, “Do you believe that I am able to do this?” They said to him,
“Yes, Lord.” Then he touched their eyes, saying, “According to your
faith so be it to you.” And their eyes were opened. [Mt
For other sermons on this text:
[See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 1355, “Our Lord’s Question to the Blind Men” 1346]
[See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 1560, “Plain Man’s Pathway to Peace, The” 1560]
Exposition on Mt 9:18-38 [See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 3302, “Faith in Christ’s Ability” 3304 @@ "Exposition"]
Exposition on Mt 9:27-35 20:29-34 [See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 3139, “Promise for the Blind, A” 3140 @@ "Exposition"]
Exposition on Mt 9:27-38 [See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 3438, “Compassion of Jesus, The” 3440 @@ "Exposition"]
Exposition on Mt 9 [See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2482, “Unparalleled Cure, An” 2483 @@ "Exposition"]
[See Spurgeon_SermonTexts "Mt 9:28"]
[See Spurgeon_SermonTexts "Mt 9:29"]
[See Spurgeon_SermonTexts "Mt 9:30"]
1. In our own streets we meet here and there a blind beggar, but they swarm in Eastern cities. Ophthalmia is the scourge of Egypt and Syria, and Volney declares that in Cairo, out of a hundred people whom he met, twenty were quite blind, ten lacked one eye, and twenty others were more or less diseased in that organ. At the present day everyone is struck with the immense number of the blind in oriental lands, and things were probably worse in our Saviour’s times. We ought to be very grateful that leprosy, ophthalmia, and certain other forms of disease have been wonderfully held in check among us in modern times, so that the plague which devastated our city in 1664 to 1666 is now unknown, and our Lock hospitals are no longer crowded with lepers. Blindness is now often prevented, and frequently cured; and it is not by any means an evil of such frequent occurrence as to constitute a leading source of the poverty of the country. Because there were so many blind folk in our Saviour’s day, and so many gathered around him, we very commonly read of his healing the blind. Mercy met misery on its own ground. Where human sorrow was most conspicuous divine power was most compassionate. Now, in these days it is a very normal thing for men to be spiritually blind, and therefore I have great hope that our Lord Jesus will act according to his former ways, and display his power amid the abounding evil. I trust there are some here at this hour who are longing to obtain spiritual sight, longing especially, like the two blind men in our text, to see Jesus, whom to see is everlasting life. We have come tonight to speak to those who feel their spiritual blindness and are pining for the light of God — the light of pardon, the light of love and peace, the light of holiness and purity. Our eager desire is that the pall of darkness may be lifted, that the divine ray may find a passage into the soul’s inner gloom, and cause the night of nature to pass away for ever. Oh that the moment of the dawning day may be just at hand to many of you who are “inwardly blind.” Immediate illumination is the blessing I implore upon you. I know that truth may remain in the memory for years, and at last produce fruit; but at this time our prayer is for immediate results, for only such will be in accordance with the nature of the light of which we speak. At the first, Jehovah only said, “Let there be light,” and there was light; and when Jehovah Jesus sojourned here below he only touched the eyes of the blind and immediately they received sight. Oh for the same speedy work at this hour! Men who were led by the hand to Jesus, or groped their way along the wall to the place where his voice proclaimed his presence, were touched by his finger and went home without a guide, rejoicing that Jesus Christ had opened their eyes. Jesus is still able such marvels to perform; and, depending upon the Holy Spirit, we will preach his word and watch for the signs following, expecting to see them at once. Why should not hundreds of you who came into this Tabernacle in nature’s blackness go out from it blessed with the light of heaven? This, at any rate, is our heart’s inner and uppermost desire, and we strive for this with concentrated faculties. Come with us, then, to the text, and be at once friendly enough to yourselves to be willing to be affected by the truths which it will bring before you.
2. I. First, in explaining the passage before us, we must call your attention to THE SEEKERS themselves — the two blind men. There is something about them worthy of imitation by all who wish to be saved.
We notice at once that the two blind men were in downright
earnest. The word which describes their appeal to Christ is,
“crying,” and by this is not meant mere speaking, for they are
represented as “crying and saying.” Now, crying implies earnest,
energetic, pathetic imploring, pleading, and beseeching. Their tones
and gestures indicated that theirs was no holiday dream, but a deep,
passionate craving. Imagine yourselves in such a case. How eager you
would be for the blessed light if for years you had been compelled to
remain in what Milton called “the ever enduring dark.” They were
hungering and thirsting after sight. Now, we cannot hope for
salvation until we seek it with equal vigour, and yet how few are in
earnest about being saved. How earnest some men are about their
money, their health, or their children! How warm they are upon
politics and parish business; but the moment you touch them upon
matters of true godliness they are as cool as the Arctic snows. Oh
sirs, how is this? Do you expect to be saved while you are half
asleep? Do you expect to find pardon and grace while you continue in
listless indifference? If so, you are woefully mistaken, for “the
kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by
force.” Death and eternity, judgment and hell are not things to play
with; the soul’s eternal destiny is no small matter, and salvation by
the precious blood of Christ is no trifle. Men are not saved from
going down into the pit by a careless nod or a wink. A mumbled “Our
Father,” or a hasty “Lord, have mercy upon me,” will not suffice.
These blind men would have remained blind had they not been in
earnest to have their eyes opened; and so, many continue in their
sins because they are not in earnest to escape from them. These men
were fully awake. Dear hearer, are you? Can you join with me in these
Jesus, who now art passing by,
Our Prophet, Priest, and King thou art
Hear a poor unbeliever’s cry,
And heal the blindness of my heart:
Urging my passionate request,
Thy pardoning mercy I implore,
Whoe’er rebuke I will not rest,
Till thou my spirit’s sight restore.
4. The blind men were thoroughly persevering as a result of being in earnest, for they “followed” Christ, and so continued to urge their suit. How did they manage to follow the movements of the Lord? We do not know: it must have been very difficult, for they were blind, but they no doubt asked others the way which the Master had taken, and they kept their ears open to every sound. Doubtless they said, “Where is he? Where is Jesus? Lead us, guide us. We must find him.” We do not know how far our Lord had gone, but we know this, that as far as he had gone they followed. They were so bravely persevering that having reached the house where he was, they did not stay outside waiting until he came out again, but they pressed into the room where he sat. They were insatiable for sight. Their earnest cries made him stop his preaching, he paused and listened while they said, “Oh Son of David, have mercy on us.” Thus perseverance prevails: no man shall be lost who knows the art of importunate prayer. If you will resolve never to leave the gate of mercy until the porter opens to you, he will assuredly unbar the door. If you grasp the covenant angel with this resolve, “I will not let you go unless you bless me,” you shall come out from the place of wrestling more than a conqueror. A mouth open in never ceasing prayer shall bring about eyes open in full vision of faith. Pray, therefore, in the darkness, even if there is no hope of light; for when God, who is light itself; moves a poor sinner to plead and cry out before him with the solemn intent to continue to do so until the blessing comes, he has no thought of mocking that poor crying heart. Perseverance in prayer is a certain sign that the day of the opening of the eyes is near.
5. The blind men had a definite object in their prayers. They knew what they wanted, they were not like children crying for nothing, or greedy misers crying for everything; they wanted their sight and they knew it. Too many blind souls are unaware of their blindness, and therefore when they pray they ask for anything except the one thing necessary. Many so-called prayers consist in saying very nice words, very pretty, pious sentences, but they are not prayer. Prayer “to saved ones” is communion with God, and to people seeking salvation it is asking for what you need and expecting to receive it through the name of Jesus, whose name you plead with God. But what kind of prayer is that in which there is no sense of need, no direct asking, no intelligent pleading? Dear hearer, have you in distinct terms asked the Lord to save you? Have you expressed your need of a new heart, your need of being washed in the blood of Christ, your need of being made God’s child, and adopted into his family? There is no praying until a man knows what he is praying for, and sets himself to pray for it, as if he cared for nothing else. If being already earnest and importunate, he is also instructed and full of definite desires, he is sure to succeed in his pleading. With a strong arm he draws the bow of desire, and fits upon the string the sharp arrow of passionate longing, and then with the instructed eye of perception he takes deliberate aim, and therefore we may expect that he will hit the very centre of the target. Pray for light, life, forgiveness, salvation, and pray for these with all your soul, and as surely as Christ is in heaven he will give these good gifts to you. Whom did he ever refuse?
6. These blind men in their prayers honoured Christ, for they said, “Oh Son of David have mercy on us.” The great ones of the land were loath to recognise our Lord as being of the royal seed, but these blind men proclaimed the Son of David very lustily. They were blind, but they could see a great deal more than some with sharp eyes; for they could see that the Nazarene was the Messiah, sent by God to restore the kingdom to Israel. They gathered from this belief that, since the Messiah was to open blind eyes, Jesus, being the Messiah, could open their blind eyes; and so they appealed to him to perform the signs of his office, thus honouring him by a real, practical faith. This is the manner of prayer which will always prosper with heaven, the prayer which crowns the Son of David. Pray, glorifying Christ Jesus in your prayers, making much of him, pleading much the merit of his life and death, giving him glorious titles because your soul has a high reverence and a vast esteem for him. Jesus-adoring prayers have in them the force and swiftness of eagles’ wings, they must ascend to God, for the elements of heavenly power are abundant in them. Prayer which makes little of Christ is prayer which God will make little of; but the prayer in which the soul glorifies the Redeemer rises like a perfumed pillar of incense from the Most Holy place, and the Lord himself smells a sweet savour.
7. Observe, also, that these two blind men in their prayer confessed their unworthiness. “Oh Son of David, have mercy on us.” Their sole appeal was to mercy. There was no talk about merit, no pleading of their past sufferings, or their persevering endeavours, or their resolves for the future; but, “Have mercy on us.” He will never win a blessing from God who demands it as if he had a right to it. We must plead with God as a condemned criminal appeals to his sovereign, asking for the exercise of the royal prerogative of free pardon. Just as a beggar asks for alms in the street, by pleading his need of it and requesting a gift for charity’s sake, so must we apply to the Most High, appealing for mercy and directing our supplication to the lovingkindness and tender mercy of the Lord. We must plead in this manner — “Oh God, if you destroy me I deserve it. If never a comforting look should come from your face to me I cannot complain. But save a sinner, Lord, for mercy’s sake. I have no claim upon you whatever, but oh, because you are full of grace, look on a poor blind soul that gladly would look on you.”
8. My brethren, I cannot put fine words together. I have never occupied myself in the school of oratory. In fact, my heart abhors the very idea of seeking to speak finely when souls are in peril. No, I labour to speak straight home to your hearts and consciences, and if there is in this listening throng any who are listening in the right manner, God will bless the word to them. “And what kind of listening is that?” you ask. Why, that in which the man says, “As far as I perceive that the preacher delivers God’s word I will follow him, and I will do what he describes the seeking sinner as doing. I will pray and plead tonight and I will persevere in my entreaties, labouring to glorify the name of Jesus, and at the same time confessing my own unworthiness. In this way, even in this way, I will crave mercy at the hands of the Son of David.” Happy is the preacher if he knows that such will be the case.
9. II. Now, we will pause for a minute and notice, secondly, THE QUESTION WHICH WAS ASKED OF THEM.
10. They sought to have their eyes opened. They both stood before the Lord whom they could not see, but who could see them and could reveal himself to them by their hearing. He began to question them, not that he might know them, but that they might know themselves. He asked only one question: “Do you believe that I am able to do this?” That question touched the only thing which stood between them and sight. On their answer depended whether they should go out of that room seeing men or blind. “Do you believe that I am able to do this?” Now, I believe that between every seeking sinner and Christ there is only this one question — “Do you believe that I am able to do this?” and if any man can truly answer as the men in the narrative did, “Yes Lord,” he will assuredly receive the reply, “According to your faith so be it to you.”
11. Let us look, then, at this very weighty question with very serious attention. It concerned their faith. “Do you believe that I am able to do this?” He did not ask them what kind of characters they had been in the past, because when men come to Christ the past is forgiven them. He did not ask them whether they had tried various means of getting their eyes opened, because whether they had or had not they were still blind. He did not ask them even whether they thought there might be a mysterious physician who would discover a future cure. No. Curious questions and idle speculations are never suggested by the Lord Jesus. His enquiries were all resolved into a trial upon one point, and that one point, faith. Did they believe that he, the Son of David, could heal them? Why does our Lord everywhere, not only in his ministry but in the teaching of the apostles, always lay such stress upon faith? Why is faith so essential? It is because of its receptive power. A purse will not make a man rich, and yet without some place for his money how could a man acquire wealth? Faith by itself could not contribute a penny to salvation, but it is the purse which holds a precious Christ within itself, yes, it holds all the treasures of divine love. If a man is thirsty a rope and a bucket are not in themselves of much use to him, but yet, sirs, if there is a well near at hand the very thing that is needed is a bucket and a rope, by means of which the water can be lifted. Faith is the bucket by means of which a man may draw water out of the wells of salvation, and drink to his heart’s content. You may sometimes have stopped a moment at a street fountain, and have desired to drink, but you found you could not, for the drinking cup was gone. The water flowed, but you could not get at it. It was tantalizing to be at the fountain-head and still to be thirsty for lack of a little cup. Now faith is that little cup, which we hold up to the flowing stream of Christ’s grace: we fill it, and then we drink and are refreshed. Hence the importance of faith. It would have seemed to our forefathers an idle thing to lay down a cable under the sea from England to America, and it would be idle now if it were not that science has taught us how to speak by electricity: yet the cable itself is now of the utmost importance, for the best inventions of telegraphy would be of no use for purposes of transatlantic communication if there were not the connecting wire between the two continents. Faith is just that; it is the connecting link between our souls and God, and the living message flashes along it to our souls. Faith is sometimes weak and comparable only to a very slender thread; but it is a very precious thing for all that, for it is the beginning of great things. Years ago they were wanting to throw a suspension bridge across a mighty chasm, through which flowed, far down, a navigable river. From crag to crag it was proposed to hang an iron bridge aloft in the air, but how was it to be undertaken? They shot an arrow from one side to the other, and it carried across the gulf a tiny thread. That invisible thread was enough to begin with. The connection was established; eventually the thread drew a piece of twine, the twine carried after it a small rope, the rope soon carried a cable across, and all in good time came the iron chains and all else that was needed for the permanent way. Now, faith is often very weak, but even in that case it is still of the utmost value, for it forms a communication between the soul and the Lord Jesus Christ. If you believe in him there is a link between him and you; your sinfulness rests on his grace, your weakness hangs on his strength, your nothingness hides itself in his all-sufficiency; but if you do not believe, you are separated from Jesus, and no blessing can flow to you. So the question that I have to address in my Master’s name tonight to every seeking sinner has to do with his faith and nothing else. It does not matter to me whether you are a hundred thousand pounds man or whether you earn a few shillings a week, whether you are a peer or a pauper, whether you are royal or rustic, learned or ignorant. We have the same gospel to deliver to every man, woman, and child, and we have to lay the stress upon the same point — “Do you believe?” If you believe you shall be saved, but if you do not believe you cannot partake of the blessings of grace.
12. Notice, next, that the question concerned their faith in Jesus. “Do you believe that I am able to do this?” If we were to ask the awakened sinner, “Do you believe that you can save yourself?” his answer would be, “No, I do not believe that: I know better. My self-sufficiency is dead.” If we were then to ask him, “Do you believe that ordinances and means of grace and sacraments can save you?” if he is an intelligent, awakened penitent, he will reply, “I know better. I have tried them, but in and of themselves they are utterly hopeless.” Truly it is so, there remains in us and around us nothing upon which hope can build, even for an hour. But the enquiry passes beyond self and casts us upon Jesus only, by asking us to hear the Lord himself say, “Do you believe that I am able to do this?” Now, beloved, we are not talking about a merely historical person when we speak about the Lord Jesus Christ; we speak of one who is above all others. He is the Son of the Highest, and yet he came to this earth and was born a babe at Bethlehem. He slept upon a woman’s bosom, and grew up as other children do. He became a man in fulness of stature and wisdom, living here for thirty years or more, doing good. At the last this glorious God in human flesh “died the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God,” standing in the room and place and stead of guilty man, that he might bear man’s punishment — that God might be just, and yet the justifier of him who believes. He died and was buried, but only for a short time could the grave contain him; early in the morning of the third day he rose and left the dead, no more to die. He stayed here sufficiently long for many to see him alive and really in the body. No event in history is so well authenticated as the resurrection of Christ, he was seen by individuals alone, and by twos and twenties, and by over five hundred brethren at once. After having lived here a little while he ascended up into heaven in the presence of his disciples, a cloud receiving him out of their sight. At this moment he is sitting at the right hand of God in human flesh: that very same man who died upon the tree is now enthroned in the highest heavens Lord of all, and every angel delights to do him homage. The one question which he asks of you tonight, through these poor lips is this, “Do you believe that I am able to save you — that I, the Christ of God now dwelling in heaven, am able to save you?” Everything depends upon your answer to that question. I know what your answer ought to be. Surely, if he is God, nothing is impossible or even difficult for him. If he has laid down his life to make atonement, and God has accepted that atonement, by permitting him to rise from the dead, then there must be efficacy in his blood to cleanse me, even me. The answer ought to be, “Yes, Lord Jesus, I believe that you are able to do this.”
13. But now I want to lay stress on another word of my text, and I want you to lay stress on it too. “Do you believe that I am able to do this?” Now, it would have been of no use for these blind men to say, “We believe that you can raise the dead.” “No,” Christ says, “the matter in hand is the opening of your eyes. Do you believe that I am able to do this?” They might have replied, “Good Master, we believe that you stopped the woman’s issue of blood when she touched your garment.” “No,” he says, “that is not the question. Your eyes have to be attended to now. You want sight, and the question about your faith is, do you believe that I am able to do this?” Ah, some of you can believe for other people, but we must bring the question more fully home to you and say, “Do you believe that Christ is able to save you — even you? Is he able to do this?” Possibly I address some one who has gone very far into sin. It may be, my friend, you have crowded a great deal of iniquity into a short time. You went in for a short life and a merry one, and according to your present prospects you are likely enough to have a short life, but the merriment is pretty nearly over with you already, and as you look back upon your life, you reflect that never did a young man or a young woman throw life away more foolishly than you have done. Now then, do you desire to be saved? Can you say from your heart that you do? Answer me, then, this further question, “Do you believe that Jesus Christ is able to do this, namely, to blot out all your sins, to renew your heart, and to save you tonight?” “Oh, sir, I do believe he is able to forgive sin.” But do you believe that he is able to forgive your sin? You yourself are the case in hand; how strong is your faith on that point? Leave the cases of others alone just now, and consider yourself. Do you believe that he is able to do this? This — this sin of yours, this misspent life, is Jesus able to cope with this? Everything depends on your answer to that question. It is an idle faith which dreams of believing in the Lord’s power over others, but then declares that it has no confidence in him for itself. You must believe that he is able to do this — this which concerns you, or you are for all practical purposes an unbeliever.
14. I know I am speaking to a great many people who never did go into the vices of the world. I thank God on your behalf that you have been kept in the ways of morality and sobriety and honesty; yet I have known some of you almost wish, or at least it has occurred to you that you might almost wish — that you had been great, public sinners, that you might be preached to as public sinners are, and that you might see a change in yourself equal to what you have seen in some of them, about whose conversion you can never doubt. Do not indulge so unwise a wish, but listen while I ask this question of you also. Your case is that of a moralist who has obeyed every outward duty, but has neglected his God — the case of a moralist who feels as if repentance were impossible for him, because he has been so long eaten up with self-righteousness that he does not know how to cut out the gangrene. The Lord Jesus Christ can as easily save you from your self-righteousness as he can save another from his guilty habits. Do you believe that he is able to do this? Come now, do you believe that he is able to meet this, your own particular case? Give me “yes” or “no” to this question.
15. “Alas,” one of you cries, “my heart is so hard.” Do you believe that he can soften it? Suppose it to be as hard as granite: do you now believe that the Christ of God can turn it into wax in a moment? Suppose your heart to be as fickle as the wind and waves of the sea: can you believe that he can make you stable minded and settle you upon the Rock of Ages for ever? If you believe in him he will do this for you, for according to your faith it shall be to you. But I know the pinch lies here. Everyone tries to run away to the thought that he believes in Christ’s power for others, but he trembles for himself; but I must hold each man to the point which concerns himself, I must button-hole you and bring you to the real test. Jesus asks each one of you — “Do you believe that I am able to do this?”
16. “Why,” one says, “it would be the most surprising thing that even the Lord Jesus ever did if he were to save me tonight.” Do you believe that he can do it? Will you trust him to do it now? “But it will be such a strange thing, such a miracle!” The Lord Jesus works strange things: it is his way. He was always a miracle worker, “Can you believe him to be able to do this for you, even this, which is now needed to save you?”
17. It is wonderful the power which faith has — power over the Lord Jesus himself. I have often experienced in my little way how confidence will master you. Have you not frequently been conquered by the trustfulness of a tiny child? The simple request was too full of trust to be refused. Have you ever been grasped by a blind man at a street crossing, who has said to you, “Sir, would you take me across the road?” And then, perhaps, he has said somewhat cunningly, “I know by the tone of your voice that you are kind. I feel I could trust myself with you.” At such a time you have felt that you were in for it; you could not let him go. And when a soul says to Jesus, “I know you can save me, my Lord: I know you can, therefore I trust in you,” why he cannot shake you off, he cannot wish to do so, for he has said, “He who comes to me I will in no wise cast out.” I sometimes tell a story to illustrate this; it is a simple enough tale, but it shows how faith wins everywhere. Many years ago my garden happened to be surrounded by a hedge, which looked green, but was a poor protection. A neighbour’s dog was very fond of visiting my garden, and since he never improved my flowers I never gave him a cordial welcome. Walking along quietly one evening I saw him doing mischief. I threw a stick at him and advised him to go home; but how did the good creature reply to me? He turned around and wagged his tail, and in the merriest manner picked up my stick, and brought it to me, and laid it at my feet. Did I strike him? No, I am not a monster. I should have been ashamed of myself if I had not patted him on the back and told him to come there whenever he liked. He and I were immediately friends, because you see he trusted me and conquered me. Now, simple as the story is, that is just the philosophy of a sinner’s faith in Christ. Just as the dog mastered the man by confiding in him, so a poor guilty sinner does, in effect, master the Lord himself by trusting him, when he says, “Lord, I am a poor dog of a sinner, and you might drive me away, but I believe you to be too kind for that. I believe you can save me, and lo! I trust myself with you. Whether I am lost or saved, I trust myself with you.” Ah, dear heart, you will never be lost if you trust like this. He who trusts himself with Jesus has given the answer to the question, “Do you believe that I am able to do this?” and there is nothing now left except for him to go his way and rejoice, for the Lord has opened his eyes and saved him.
18. III. Now, thirdly, THAT QUESTION WAS A VERY REASONABLE ONE. “Do you believe that I am able to do this?”
19. Just a minute, let me show that it was a very reasonable question for Christ to ask, and equally reasonable for me to urge home upon many here present. Our Lord Jesus might have said, “If you do not believe that I am able to do this, why did you follow me? Why did you follow me more than anyone else? You have been after me down the streets, and you have come into this house after me. Why have you done this if you do not believe that I am able to open your eyes?” So a large proportion of you who are here tonight attend a place of worship: you like to be there; but why, if you do not believe Jesus? What do you go there for? Do you go to seek a Saviour who cannot save you? Do you foolishly seek after one in whom you cannot trust? I have never heard of such madness as for a sick man to run after a doctor in whom he has no confidence! And do you come here tonight and attend your places of worship at other times without having any faith in Jesus? Then why do you come? What inconsistent people you must be!
20. Again: these blind men had been praying to Jesus to open their eyes, but why did they pray? If they did not believe that Jesus could heal them their prayers were a mockery. Would you ask a man to do a thing which you knew he could not do? Must not prayer always be measured by the quantity of faith that we put into it? Now, I know that some of you have been in the habit of prayer ever since you were little children; you scarcely ever go to bed at night without repeating the form of prayer your mother taught you. What do you do that for if you do not believe that Jesus Christ can save you? Why ask him to do what you do not believe he can do? What strange inconsistency — to pray without faith!
21. Moreover, these two blind men had called Jesus Christ the “Son of David.” Why had they confessed his Messiahship like this? The majority of you do the same. I suppose that out of this congregation there are very few who doubt the deity of Christ. You believe in the Word of God: you do not doubt that it is inspired; you believe that Jesus Christ has lived and died and gone into his glory. Well, then, if you do not believe that he is able to save you, what do you mean by saying that he is God? God, and yet not able? A dying, bleeding, atoning, sacrifice, and yet not able to save? Oh, man, your nominal creed is not your true one. If you were to write your true creed out it would run something like this — “I do not believe in Jesus Christ as the Son of God, or that he has made a full atonement for sin, for I do not believe that he is able to save me.” Would that not correctly be the size of it?
22. Well, then, I charge you by your frequent hearings of the Word, by your habitual prayers, and by your profession of being believers in that grand old Bible, answer me: — How is it that you do not believe in Jesus? Sirs, he must be able to save you. You know it is some twenty-seven years or more since I put my trust in him, and I must speak of him as I find him. In every hour of darkness, in every season of despondency, in every time of trial I have found him faithful and true; and, concerning trusting him with my soul, if I had a thousand souls I would trust them with him; and if I had as many souls as there are sands upon the sea-shore I would not ask for a second Saviour, but would just put them all into that dear hand which was pierced with the nail, so that he might grasp us and hold us firmly for ever. He is worthy of your trust, and your trust is all he asks of you: knowing that he is able — and you cannot doubt that he is willing, seeing that he has died — he asks you to act upon your belief that he is able to save you, and trust yourself to him.
23. IV. Now, I must not detain you much longer, and therefore I want to notice THE ANSWER which these blind men gave to his question. They said to him, “Yes, Lord.”
24. Well, now, I have been pressing that question upon you, and I again repeat it. “Do you believe that Christ is able to save you, that he is able to do this, to touch your case in all its speciality?” Now for your answer. How many will say “Yes, Lord.” I am half inclined to ask you to say it out aloud; but I will rather ask you to say it in your secret souls — “Yes, Lord.” And now may God the Holy Spirit help you to say it very distinctly, without any holding back and mental reservation, “Yes, Lord. Blind eye, dumb tongue, cold heart — I believe that you are able to change them all, and I rest myself on you, to be renewed by your divine grace.” Say it and mean it. Say it decidedly and distinctly, with your whole heart, “Yes, Lord.”
25. Notice that the two men replied immediately. The question was no sooner out of Christ’s mouth than they gave the answer, “Yes, Lord.” There is nothing like being prompt in your answers; for, when you ask a man a question and you say, “Do you believe that I am able to do this?” and he stops, rubs his forehead, strokes his hair, and at last says, — “Y-yes,” does not such a “yes” sound uncommonly like “no?” The best “yes” in the world is the “yes” which immediately leaps out. “Yes, Lord; bad as I am, I believe you can save me, for I know your precious blood can take away every stain. Though I am an old sinner, though I am an aggravated sinner, though I am one who has gone back from a profession of religion, and have played the backslider’s part, though I seem to be an outcast from society, though I do not at this time feel as I could wish to feel, and am the very opposite of what I ought to be, yet I do believe that if Christ has died for sinners, that if the eternal Son of God has gone into heaven to plead for sinners, then he must be ‘able to save to the uttermost those who come to God by him,’ and I come to God tonight by him, and I believe that he is able to save even me.” That is the kind of answer which I long to get from all of you. May the Spirit of God produce it!
26. V. Then see OUR LORD’S RESPONSE to their answer.
27. He said, “According to your faith so be it to you.” As much as if he had said, — If you believe in me there is light for your blind eyes. So true the faith, so true the sight. If you believe decidedly and fully you shall not have one eye opened, or both eyes half opened, but all your sight shall be given to you. Decided faith shall clear away every speck, and make your vision strong and clear. If your answer is quick, so shall my answer be. You shall see in a moment, for you immediately believed. The Lord’s power just kept touch with their faith. If their faith was true his cure was true. If their faith was complete his cure was complete; and if their faith said “yes” immediately, he gave them sight immediately. If you are a long while in saying “yes” you will be a long while in getting peace; but if you say tonight, “I will dare to do it, for I see it is so; Jesus must be able to save me; I will give myself up to him”; if you do that at once you shall have instantaneous peace — yes, in that very seat, young man, you who are burdened tonight shall find rest. You shall wonder where the burden has gone, and look around and find that it has vanished, because you have looked at the Crucified One, and trusted all your sins with him. Your bad habits, which you have been trying in vain to conquer, which have forged fresh chains to hold you firmly, you shall find them fall from off you like spiders’ webs. If you can only trust Jesus to break them, and give yourself up to him to be renewed by him, it shall be done and done tonight; and heaven’s eternal arches shall ring with shouts of sovereign grace.
28. Thus I have placed the whole matter before you. My only hope is that God the blessed Spirit will lead you to seek as the blind men sought, and especially to trust as they trusted.
29. This last word, there are some people who are especially diligent in finding reasons why they should not be saved. I have battled with some such by the half-hour together, and they always finish up with, “Yes, that is true, sir, but” — And then we try and chop that “but” to pieces; but after a while they find another, and say, “Yes, I now see that point, but” — So they buttress their unbelief with “buts.” If anyone here should wish to give you a thousand pounds, can you tell me any reason why he should not? Well, I imagine if he were to come to you and present you with a cheque for that amount you would not worry yourself to find objections. You would not keep on saying, “I should like the money, but” — No, if there were any reason why you should not have it, you would let other people find it out. You would not labour and beat your brains to try and find arguments against yourself; you are not so much your own enemy. And yet with regard to eternal life, which is infinitely more precious than all the treasures of this world, men act most absurdly and say, “I earnestly desire it, and Christ is able to do it, but” — What folly is this to argue against yourself! If a man were in Newgate condemned to die, and had to stand on the gallows tomorrow morning, and the sheriff came and said, “There is a free pardon for you,” do you think that man would begin to object? Would he cry, “I should like another half-hour to consider my case, and find reasons why I should not be pardoned?” No, he would leap at it. Oh that you may also leap at the pardon tonight. May the Lord grant that you may feel such a sense of danger and guilt, that you may promptly cry, “I do believe; I will believe in Jesus.”
30. Sinners are not half as sensible as sparrows. David said in one of the Psalms, “I watch, and am as a sparrow alone upon the house-top.” Well, have you noticed the sparrow? He keeps his eyes open, and the moment he sees a grain of wheat or anything to eat down on the road, he flies to get it. I never knew him to wait for someone to invite him, much less to beg and beseech him to come and feed. He sees the food and he says to himself, “Here is a hungry sparrow, and there is a piece of bread. Those two things go well together, they shall not be long apart.” Down he flies, and eats up all he can find as fast as he finds it. Oh, if you had half the sense of the sparrow you would say, “Here is a guilty sinner, and there is a precious Saviour. These two things go well together, they shall not be long apart. I believe in Jesus and Jesus is mine”
May the Lord grant that you may find Jesus tonight before you leave
this house. I pray you may. In these very pews and aisles may you
look to Jesus Christ and believe. Faith is only a look, a look of
simple trust. It is reliance, a believing that he is able to do this,
and a trusting in him to do it and to do it now. May God bless every
one of you, and may we meet in heaven, for Christ’s sake. Amen.
[Portion Of Scripture Read Before Sermon — Mt 9:18-38]
[See Spurgeon_Hymnal “Spirit of the Psalms — Psalm 100” 100]
[See Spurgeon_Hymnal “Gospel, Stated — The Brazen Serpent” 539]
[See Spurgeon_Hymnal “Gospel, Received by Faith — The True Scapegoat” 555]
Spirit of the Psalms
Psalm 100 (Version 1)
1 Before Jehovah’s awful throne,
Ye nations bow with sacred joy;
Know that the Lord is God alone;
He can create and he destroy.
2 His sovereign power, without our aid,
Made us of clay and form’d us men,
And when like wandering sheep we stray’d
He brought us to his fold again.
3 We are his people, we his care,
Our souls and all our mortal frame;
What lasting honours shall we rear,
Almighty Maker, to thy name?
4 We’ll crowd thy gates with thankful songs,
High as the heavens our voices raise;
And earth with her ten thousand tongues
Shall fill thy courts with sounding praise.
5 Wide as the world is thy command;
Vast as eternity thy love;
Firm as a rock thy truth must stand,
When rolling years shall cease to move.
Isaac Watts, 1719.
Psalm 100 (Version 2)
1 All people that on earth do dwell,
Sing to the Lord with cheerful voice;
Him serve with mirth, his praise forth tell;
Come ye before him and rejoice.
2 Know that the Lord is God indeed;
Without our aid he did us make;
We are his flock, he doth us feed;
And for his sheep he doth us take.
3 Oh enter then his gates with praise,
Approach with joy his courts unto:
Praise, laud, and bless his name always,
For it is seemly so to do.
4 For why? the Lord our God is good,
His mercy is for ever sure;
His truth at all times firmly stood,
And shall from age to age endure.
William Kethe, 1562.
Psalm 100 (Version 3)
1 With one consent let all the earth
To God their cheerful voices raise;
Glad homage pay with awful mirth,
And sing before him songs of praise.
2 Convinced that he is God alone,
From whom both we and all proceed;
We, whom he chooses for his own,
The flock that he vouchsafes to feed.
3 Oh enter then his temple gate,
Thence to his courts devoutly press,
And still your grateful hymns repeat,
And still his name with praises bless.
4 For he’s the Lord, supremely good,
His mercy is for ever sure;
His truth, which always firmly stood,
To endless ages shall endure.
Tate and Brady, 1696.
Psalm 100 (Version 4)
1 Ye nations round the earth, rejoice
Before the Lord, your sovereign King,
Serve him with cheerful heart and voice,
With all your tongues his glory sing.
2 The Lord is God; ‘tis he alone
Doth life, and breath, and being give:
We are his work, and not our own,
The sheep that on his pastures live.
3 Enter his gates with songs of joy,
With praises to his courts repair;
And make it your divine employ
To pay your thanks and honours there.
4 The Lord is good, the Lord is kind;
Great is his grace, his mercy sure;
And the whole race of man shall find
His truth from age to age endure.
Isaac Watts, 1719.
539 — The Brazen Serpent
1 So did the Hebrew prophet raise
The brazen serpent high;
The wounded felt immediate ease,
The camp forbore to die.
2 “Look upward in the dying hour,
And live,” the prophet cries:
But Christ performs a nobler cure
When faith lifts up her eyes.
3 High on the cross the Saviour hung,
High in the heavens he reigns;
Here sinners, by th’ old serpent stung,
Look, and forget their pains.
4 When God’s own Son is lifted up,
A dying world revives:
The Jew beholds the glorious hope,
The expiring Gentile lives.
Isaac Watts, 1709.
Gospel, Received by Faith
555 — The True Scapegoat
1 Not all the blood of beasts
On Jewish altars slain,
Could give the guilty conscience peace,
Or wash away the stain.
2 But Christ, the heavenly Lamb,
Takes all our sins away;
A sacrifice of nobler name,
And richer blood than they.
3 My faith would lay her hand
On that dear head of thine,
While like a penitent I stand,
And there confess my sin.
4 My soul looks back to see
The burdens thou didst bear,
When hanging on the cursed tree,
And hopes her guilt was there.
5 Believing, we rejoice
To see the curse remove;
We bless the Lamb with cheerful voice,
And sing his bleeding love.
Isaac Watts, 1706.