2417. First Forgiveness, Then Healing

by on

No. 2417-41:277. A Sermon Delivered On Thursday Evening, June 2, 1887, By C. H. Spurgeon, At The Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington.

A Sermon Intended For Reading On Lord’s Day, June 16, 1895.

When he saw their faith, he said to him, “Man, your sins are forgiven you.” {Lu 5:20}

 For other sermons on this text:
   {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 981, “Carried by Four” 972}
   {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2417, “First Forgiveness, Then Healing” 2418}
   {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 3016, “Good Cheer from Forgiven Sin” 3017}
   Exposition on Lu 5:12-26 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2417, “First Forgiveness, Then Healing” 2418 @@ "Exposition"}
   Exposition on Lu 5:12-32 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2614, “Strange Things” 2615 @@ "Exposition"}
   Exposition on Lu 5:1-32 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2835, “Patients for the Great Physician” 2836 @@ "Exposition"}

1. I have read to you the narrative of the healing of the man taken with the palsy; and many of you remember that, last Sabbath evening, I preached on the Pharisees and the doctors of the law who were “sitting by.” {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 1991, “Sitting By” 1992} I tried to represent the position of many in our congregations who are just “sitting by.” I preached to the outsiders of the congregation, on the various reasons, which led to this “sitting by.” I must confess that I did not count on so large a blessing as I have already seen as the result of that sermon. When I came here on Monday afternoon, that being Whit Monday, when everyone is supposed to take a holiday, I was surprised, on my arrival, at about three o’clock, by a friend running up to me, and saying, “We are glad you have come, sir, for there is a room full already.” There is quite a nice number of friends who have come forward from the congregation, and who one after another have said, “We cannot be ‘sitting by’ any longer; we feel that we cannot remain among the sitters-by, but that we must come in and partake of the gospel feast, and join ourselves with the disciples of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.”

2. This blessed result of my sermon has set the bells of my heart ringing all week long, and I have felt deeply thankful to God for it. I said to myself that, as I had taken one arrow, which had sped so well, out of that quiver, I would take another. Having spoken to those who are “sitting by,” I think I will now speak to those who are not sitting by, but who indeed are the principal people in the congregation, namely, those who are sick and sorry, and who need the Saviour. For this palsied man, who was let down by ropes through the ceiling, was the most remarkable person in that congregation. We may readily forget those Pharisees and learned legal gentlemen; but we can never forget this man to whom, as soon as they ever “let him down through the tiling with his bed into the midst before Jesus,” the Saviour said, “Man, your sins are forgiven you.” I trust that, at this time, there are some present in this audience who are not sitting by, but who are already praying, “God be merciful to me!” some whose prayers are rising to heaven in accents like these, “Lord, help me!” “Lord, save me, or I perish!” You are the principal people in the congregation both to the preacher and to the preacher’s Master. He cares more about you, and about what shall take place in you, than about any of the Pharisees or doctors of the law who may be sitting by. God is glorified in scattering his miracles of mercy where there is the greatest need of them. Our Lord Jesus, when the poor man was let down by his four friends through the ceiling, said to him at once, “Man, your sins are forgiven you.” Matthew puts our Saviour’s words like this, “Son, be of good cheer; your sins are forgiven you”; while Mark’s record is, “Son, your sins are forgiven you.” Well, Jesus may have uttered all of these words, and all the different versions of the story may be correct, for it is not every man’s ear that catches the entirety of every sentence that is spoken, and we may be glad that there are three Evangelists who have recorded what the Saviour said. There is no real difference in the sense, and the difference in the words may only show that Jesus said all three sentences.

3. I am going, on this occasion, to talk a little about this man, first, before his forgiveness; next, a little more about his forgiveness itself; and then a little about what followed after his forgiveness.

4. I. First, then, let us think of this man BEFORE HIS FORGIVENESS.

5. We are not told much about him. If I indulge in my imagination a little, you will take it for what it is worth. This man, it seems to me, first, had faith which went out towards the Lord Jesus. Evidently, as I read the narrative, he had been suddenly paralysed. This affliction usually comes suddenly; men who have been about their business, as active as usual, have been in a moment struck down with paralysis. This man appears to have been completely paralysed, so as to have been unable to move; and, as he lay in that helpless state, he heard that Jesus of Nazareth had come to the city, and he believed that Jesus of Nazareth was able to heal even him. It does not strike me that his friends would have brought him to Christ unless at his own request; the most rational explanation of the whole proceeding seems to me to be this, he believed in Jesus as able to heal him, and he continued to cry out earnestly, and to pray that he might somehow or other be taken into Christ’s presence. He could not stir hand or foot, but he had friends, and he begged those friends to take him to Jesus.

6. Well now, there never was a soul yet that had faith in Christ but what Christ revealed himself more fully in the way of love to that soul. If you know that you cannot save yourself, if you believe that Christ can save you, and if your one anxiety is to be laid at his feet, so that he may look on you, and save you, he will assuredly accept you. “Whoever comes to me,” he says, “I will in no wise cast out.” Whether he comes running, or walking, or creeping, or carried by four, as long as he comes, Christ will accept him; and if his faith is only as a grain of mustard seed, our Lord Jesus will not let it die. If there is only a smouldering faith, he will not quench the smoking flax. Do you believe this? If you do, let it cheer you and comfort you. There is something that is well with your soul already. It was better to be paralysed and to have faith in Christ than to be walking upright like the Pharisees and lawyers who had no faith in him. The apparent wretchedness of your condition is not the real wretchedness of it; it may even turn out to be the blessedness and the hopefulness of it. If you believe in Jesus, I do not care how far you have fallen, nor how great your inability is; if you believe in Jesus, you are brought into contact with omnipotence, and that omnipotence will heal you.

7. This man, I believe, further, thought that Christ could heal him, but he began to feel his great sinfulness. I am certain that he did, because Jesus never does forgive where there is no repentance. There was never yet the fiat, “Your sins be forgiven you,” until first there was a consciousness of sin, and a confession of sin. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” This man, lying there paralysed, wept at the thought of his past life, his omissions and his commissions, his falling short and his transgressions, and his heart was heavy within him. He seemed to say to his friends, “Get me somehow to the great Prophet; get me within sight of this wonderful Saviour. Oh, get me within touch of him, that I may be restored, that I may have this great load, which presses me down so severely, taken off my heart! Worse to me even than the paralysis is this awful sense of sin. Take me, oh, take me into the presence of this Messiah, this Son of David, so that he may have mercy on me!” That I conceive to have been his condition before the word of pardon was spoken to him.

8. Next, being hopeful himself, he inspired those around him with hope. Of course, they would not have taken him to Christ if they had not had some kind of belief that possibly he might be healed. It is wonderful what sick people can do even when they can do nothing; how, when they seem to be utterly powerless, they find a strength in feebleness. Their very helplessness seems to be a plea where there is anything of generosity left in the heart of those who are near them. So this man pleaded, “I believe Jesus will heal me, I believe he will have mercy on me; get me to him, get me to him.”

9. They resolved to do it if they could; and he was willing to be carried to Christ. Four stout stalwart men said, “Yes, we will get you to him somehow, though it is a difficult task, for the house is small, the room is crowded, and there is sure to be a crowd around the door.” “But,” said the poor man, “oh! please try to do it, for it is my only hope. If I could only get where Jesus could see me, he would look on me, and save me. Oh, get me to him, get me to him!” The palsied man would make no dispute about how it was to be done, so they carried him to the door of the house, and then they said to the people crowding around, “Make way for this poor palsied man,” and he would say, “Please, friends and neighbours, make way”; but they could not; perhaps they, too, had their friends who wanted to be healed, or they themselves had an anxiety to hear the great Teacher, so they pushed and pressed to get as near him as they could. You see, those quibbling Pharisees and doctors of the law had gotten in first, and they blocked up the way. They are always in a poor sinner’s way. What must be done? The poor man’s bearers would have abandoned the task, I think, but he said, “No, do not give up trying to get me in; it is my only hope. Oh, get me to him! Get me near him!”

10. So, next, the man was willing to be lowered into the presence of Christ. There was no other way but to go up those stairs outside the house, and to take him to the top of the roof; and he, not fearing as many would have done, said, “Yes, break it up, and let me down.” These four men, belonging to a fishing town, were adept in the use of ropes, and they soon had their tackle ready, and they broke a way through the roof. As I told you in the reading, I always feel pleased at the idea of the dust and the debris of the roof coming down on the heads of the Pharisees and doctors of the law. It always delights me to think that those gentlemen would have dust on their heads for once; since they were there, they were bound to have a little of it. Of course, when these gentlemen come to a place of worship, one feels bound to be respectful to them; but if they come at an untimely hour, when there is any rough work going on, one does not feel any particular regret. If, when souls are being saved, these gentlemen should have their corns trodden on, we do not even ask for their pardon, or make any apology. Such a work as Christ had to do could not stand still for the sake of reverence for the learned doctors of the law; so the roof was broken up, and this man, though paralysed, was not afraid to be let down. It is probable that there were no outcries from him when they began to let him down; I think, if it had been my case, I might have been afraid that one rope would go a little faster than the other. But no, the man keeps still in his paralysis and courage mingled, until down drops the pallet just before the Saviour.

11. There he lies on his mattress, on the floor of the house, just before the Saviour’s eyes, exactly where he wanted to be. Here I address myself to some who would give all that they have if they could only be brought under the eye of Jesus. The one thought of such a sufferer is, “Oh, that I could be near him! Oh, that I could be near him! Oh, that he would look on me, and cure my helplessness, and pardon my sin!” What a wonderful picture this scene would make! The crowd are obliged to make way, or else they will have to carry the man and his bed on their heads; so he is dropped down into their midst, and there he lies. The great Preacher has been preaching, and he stops. There is an interruption which is indeed no interruption to him. His discourse is only broken off for a minute, to be illustrated with engravings, so that men may see, in later years, that what they have heard is only the letterpress, {a} and that the miracle which is now to be performed shall be the engraving which shall convey the Teacher’s wonderful meaning to all eyes. So the poor palsied man lies there before the Saviour.

12. Is that where you desire to lie, dear friend? In your deadly sorrow, and sin, and weakness, do you wish to lie at the Saviour’s feet? That is the place where I want you to lie; and if you wish to lie there, that is the place where you do lie. The Lord Jesus is in the midst of us tonight, and you can at once cast yourself down before him. Do so, tell him about your paralysis, tell him how sick you are, how sinful you are. Indeed, you need not speak so that I can hear you; his ears will hear the whisper of your soul. Your heartbeats will be vocal to his heart, and he will note all you say or feel in your innermost soul. Just lie before Jesus; and as you lie there, what are you to do? This man did not speak a word; but, as I believe, he lay there repenting that he should have ever lived as he had done, mourning that he should have wasted his life and misspent his time. I think, too, that he lay there believing, looking at that wondrous Man, and believing that all power was in him, and that he only had to speak the word, and the sinner should be at once forgiven. So he lay there, in the presence of Jesus, hoping and expecting forgiveness and healing.

13. II. Now, in the second place, we are to consider THE FORGIVENESS ITSELF.

14. This poor paralysed man had not lain there long before the blessed Master broke the silence, and said to him, “Man, your sins are forgiven you.” I think that the four men up on the roof, looking down to see what would happen to their friend, would hardly understand what that sentence meant. They had brought him to Jesus because he was paralysed, but he had wanted to come first of all because he was a sinner. He desired to have his paralysis cured; but secretly in his soul there was another matter, which they might not have understood if he had tried to explain it to them. It was his sin that was his heaviest burden; and the Saviour, the great Thought-Reader knew all about that sin, so he did not first say to him, “Rise up and walk,” but he began by saying, “Man, your sins are forgiven you.”

15. Observe, that the pardon of sin came in a single sentence. He spoke, and it was done. Jesus said, “Man, your sins are forgiven you,” and they were forgiven him. Christ’s voice had such almighty power about it that it did not need to utter many words. There was no long lesson for the poor man to repeat, there was no intricate problem for him to work out in his mind. The Master said all that was required in that one sentence, “Your sins are forgiven you.” The burden of a sinner does not need two ticks of the clock for it to be removed; swifter than the lightning’s flash is that verdict of absolution which comes from the eternal lips, when the sinner lies hoping, believing, repenting at the feet of Jesus. It was a single sentence which declared that the man was forgiven.

16. Next, remember, that it was a sentence from One who was authorized to absolve. He was sent by the Father on purpose to forgive sin; and do not imagine that he has now lost his authorization to forgive; for “God has exalted him with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.” Jesus is appointed as High Priest on purpose so that he may stand on God’s behalf, and declare the remission of sin. What Jesus said was spoken with divine authority. It is vain for a priest to say to a sinner, “I absolve you.” What can he do in such a case? He, or any other man who does not call himself a priest, may speak in his Master’s name, and say to the penitent, “If you sincerely repent, if you truly believe, I know you are absolved, and I comfort you with the assurance of this absolution.” So far, so good; only the Master himself can really give the absolution, it must come from him who has power on earth to forgive sins.

17. Now, my hearer, have you never been forgiven? Are you in your pew, and yet lying at that dear Master’s feet, and do you desire above all things that he should say to you, “Your sins are forgiven you?” And do you believe that he can say it, and will you accept it from him as being by divine authority? If so, I think he says it to you, for in his own Word he declares that those who believe in him are forgiven. He says to each one of those who are penitent, and believe in his grace, “Your sins are forgiven you.” Take the absolution, and go your way. Do as Martin Luther did, in the days of his dark distress, when a brother monk said to him, “Do you not believe in the Creed, and do you not say, ‘I believe in the forgiveness of sins’? Now believe in the forgiveness of sins for yourself.” Trust Christ’s Word, and you will be believing what is absolutely true. Trust it, take its comfort, and go your way. It is like this that Jesus Christ, by the preaching of the gospel, and by the revealed Word of God, says authoritatively to each penitent, “Man, your sins are forgiven you.”

18. Further observe, that this sentence, although it was only one, and was so short, yet was wonderfully comprehensive:“ Man, your sins are forgiven you.” Not one sin alone, nor many sins, but all your sins are forgiven you. When you go into details, you are apt to leave something out; hence, the declaration is made all inclusive, there are no details given. “Your sins are forgiven you.” Sins against the holy God? Sins against a righteous law? Sins against the gospel? Sins against the light of nature? Sins of this and sins of that kind? No, there is no enumeration. “The blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanses us from all sin.” “Man, your sins are forgiven you” Murder, adultery, theft, fornication, blasphemy? Yes, in a word, “all manner of sin and of blasphemy shall be forgiven to men.” “Man, your sins are forgiven you.” What a far-reaching pardon it is! “Your sins are forgiven you.” At one sudden sweep of the divine wave of mercy they are all washed away. There is no such thing as a half-pardon of sin. I heard someone talking, the other day, about original sin being forgiven, and the other sins left; but sin is a whole, it goes or it stays altogether, it cannot be broken up into pieces, it is all there or it is not there at all, and it is not there if you believe in Jesus. This blessed and comprehensive sentence sets free from every jot and taint and stain of guilt: “Man, your sins are forgiven you.”

19. Observe, also, that this sentence contained no conditions: and the blessed gospel, speaking to every repenting and believing sinner, gives him absolute forgiveness. Behold, the tally is destroyed, the record of your debt is nailed to the cross; and as for your sins, they are like the Egyptians when the Red Sea swallowed them up, the depths have covered them, there is not one of them left, however great or many they may have been. If you are now a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, he says to you now by his Word, “Man, your sins are forgiven you.” I pray the blessed Master by his Holy Spirit to make his Word come home to many here with power. Oh, that those dear lips, which are as lilies dropping sweet-smelling myrrh, themselves spoke to you! Oh, that those wounds of his, which are mouths that preach pardon to sinners, might speak to you, and say, “Your sins are forgiven you!” There is no mouth that speaks pardon like that gash in his side, out of which his very heart speaks, as he says, “I have loved you, and given myself to die for you. Your sins I have borne on the tree, and put them away once and for all. Man, your sins are forgiven you.” Oh, that Jesus himself might speak effectively like this to many of you!

20. But note, that this sentence sufficed the receiver. When the Saviour afterwards raised this palsied man to health and strength, he did not do it to let the man himself know that his sins were forgiven. The man already knew that, and did not need any more evidence for it; but Jesus did it for another reason. To the scribes and Pharisees he said, “That you may know that the Son of man has power on earth to forgive sins, (he said to the sick of the palsy,) I say to you, ‘Arise, and take up your mat, and go into your house.’ ” Those unbelieving men did not have evidence enough that Christ could forgive, but he to whom Christ spoke needed no further proof than the power of that voice in his own conscience; and if he shall speak to you, my hearer, you will not need any books about the evidences of Scripture, the proofs of inspiration, and so on; to you, this indisputable miracle of pardoned sin shall stand for ever as a holy memorial of God’s mighty grace. It shall be to you for a sign, for an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off, that God has pardoned you, and spoken peace to your soul; and this God shall be your God for ever and ever. To every soul that is in a similar case to that of the poor palsied man lying repenting and believing at the feet of Jesus, his Word gives the comforting assurance, “Believe, and your sins, which are many, are all forgiven you.” Believe it, and go your way in peace.

21. III. Now I close by noticing, thirdly, what followed AFTER THIS MAN’S FORGIVENESS.

22. He was absolutely, irreversibly, eternally forgiven; for “the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.” He never plays fast and loose with men; he never issues a pardon from his throne, and afterwards executes the pardoned sinner. His pardon covers all that may come afterwards as well as all that has gone before. But what happened to this man?

23. I believe that, first, there was an inward peace that stole over his soul. If you could have looked into the face of that palsied man, while still palsied, and lying there on that bed, you would have seen a wonderful transformation. Did you ever see a face transfigured? If you are a soul winner, you have often seen it. All human faces are not beautiful, some are absolutely repulsive; the countenances of some who have lived long in sin are dreadful to look at. Yet I have noticed faces, that at first I could scarcely endure, when the people have been gently led to the Saviour, and they have perceived the love of God for them, and have at last believed, and felt within their soul the kiss of peace, why, they have looked positively beautiful! I should have liked to have had them photographed, only it was too sacred a thing. Speak of physiognomies; {b} the grace of God is such an eternal beautifier that the face, from which you would have turned away in disgust, and said, “There can be no good thing behind that countenance,” is absolutely changed by the Lord’s mighty working. I do not say that a single feature may be altered; the person may be the same in feature, but, oh! what a marvellous difference there is in the expression of the whole contour of the countenance when free grace and dying love have cast their magic spell over the spirit, and the Holy Spirit has made the dead to live, and the person has been born again in Christ Jesus. Well, that change took place in this man’s mind, I am sure it did, when Jesus said to him, “Your sins are forgiven you.” He was in no hurry to be raised from his palsied state; he does not appear to have said a word, and those scribes and Pharisees looked on with their malevolent countenances, but they did not frighten him; he lay quite still, and was in no hurry even for the Master’s next blessing. It would come in due time, he knew it would, and he was of good cheer, for had not Jesus said to him, “Be of good cheer, your sins are forgiven you?”

24. But next followed the man’s immediate cure. The Master said to him, “Arise, and take up your bed, and go into your house.” Our blessed Master was accustomed to preach the gospel in a way which I have heard some friends greatly question. They tell us that we ought not to invite men to believe and repent, because they cannot. There are two parties on opposite sides of this question; one says, “If you tell a man to believe and repent, that proves that he can,” which I do not believe; and others say, “If they cannot repent, you ought not to exhort them to do so,” which also I do not believe. Though I know them to be as helpless as that poor palsied man, unable to lift hand or foot, yet in the Master’s name we say, as the Master was accustomed to say, “Rise, take up your bed, and walk.” “Oh!” says one, “I could not say that to an unregenerate man.” Do not do it, brother, if you cannot do it; go home, and go to bed; what is the use of you for such work? The man who can speak miracles is the one who is wanted, and the man who can speak as his Master has told him speak. Surely, the faith does not lie in believing that the man himself can do what he is told to do; the faith lies in believing that Christ can do it, and therefore, speaking in Christ’s name, we say to the sinner just as the Lord Jesus did to the man with the withered hand, “Stretch out your hand,” and he does so. Look at Ezekiel speaking to the dry bones in the valley. Ezekiel, do you believe that these dry bones can live? “Not I,” he says, “I know that they are dead.” The Lord says to him, “Ezekiel, prophesy over these dry bones!” How can he do it? It would be inconsistent with what he said just now. “I have nothing to do with that,” he says, “I was sent by the Lord to do it, and I do it in the name of God.” What may seem perfectly inconsistent with your reason, is quite consistent when faith brings in the supernatural element with which God moves those to whom he gives the commission to preach the gospel in his name.

25. The Saviour said to this man, “Arise, take up your bed, and go into your house.” Now observe his precise obedience. “Immediately he rose up before them all.” The tendency of a paralysed person is to be paralysed in will. There are some people, no doubt, who have ailments that can easily be cured if they believe they can be cured, because there is not much the matter with them after all; but this man was completely paralysed, yet he so fully believed in Christ that up he rose, and stood before the Master. Then Jesus said, “Take up your bed.” I think I see him undo those four ropes, and quickly he shoulders his mattress. “Walk,” says the Master, and he walks. “Go into your house,” says the Master. He might have stopped, and said, “No, Lord, let me stay and hear the sermon out”; but no, not a word did he say about it, but off he went to his own house.

26. Oh, that all were as obedient to Christ as this man was, that, having the simplicity of faith, they would render the fullest obedience! But it is often so that the very chief of sinners, when pardon is given to them, have given to them at the same time a tender conscience, a willing mind, a yielding spirit. “Whatever he says to you, do it,” said the virgin mother to the servants at Cana of Galilee; and that is good advice for you. If Christ has healed you, obey him, obey him at once, obey him exactly, obey him in everything, whether it is little, or great. If some say it is non-essential, remember that what is not essential to salvation may be essential to obedience. Do it if Jesus commanded it. Do it whether it appears to you to be essential or not. That is not a question for you to ask, that is a heartless, loveless question. He has healed you, do what he tells you, as he tells you, when he tells you, and raise no question about it. Take up your bed, and go into your house, if he tells you to. Or, if he tells you, “He who believes and is baptized shall be saved,” believe, and be baptized. Be obedient to him who deserves to be obeyed.

27. Now, lastly, this man, it is said, “immediately rose up before them, and took up that on which he lay, and departed to his own house glorifying God.” I think I hear what he said. “Glory!” he cried, “Glory be to God!” He felt so glad, so happy, that he took up his bed before them all, and as he walked along he glorified God; and would not you have done the same if you had been paralysed, and had been restored as he had been? And will you not do so? If you have been sin-bound, and Christ has set you free, surely, you will take the earliest opportunity of telling others what Jesus has done for you, and you will seek to glorify his name. I did not wonder when a brother recently said to me, “I have been spending all the morning in the workshop telling the men that I have found the Saviour,” and one, last Sunday, turned to his wife in this Tabernacle, and said, “I am saved!” She said to him, “Do not disturb the worship,” but I almost wish he had done so. What a mercy it is to be saved! Salvation puts a new sun in our sky, and a new joy in our hearts. Believe in Jesus, and this salvation is yours. May God grant that it may be, for his dear Son’s sake! Amen.

{a} Letterpress: The text of a piece of printing, distinguished from illustrations, etc. OED. {b} Physiognomy: The art of judging character and disposition from the features of the face or the form and lineaments of the body generally. OED.

Exposition By C. H. Spurgeon {Lu 5:12-26}

12. And it came to pass, when he was in a certain city, behold a man full of leprosy:

As far gone with leprosy as he could be; thoroughly tainted, and eaten up with that loathsome disease.

12. Who seeing Jesus fell on his face, and besought him, saying, “Lord, if you will, you can make me clean.”

He felt that the difficulty lay in the will of Christ, not in his power. No other teacher would have looked at such a man. Everyone shrank from him, for he scattered defilement wherever he went. A leper was a being from whom all kept clear, so this one was afraid that the great Teacher was not willing to cure him. “If you will,” he said, “you can, — I know that you can make me clean.”

13. And he stretched out his hand, and touched him,

This was a wonderful example of condescending love on the part of the Lord Jesus; and touching the leper did not defile him. On the contrary, Christ removed the defilement from the leper: “He touched him,”

13. Saying, “I will: be clean.”

It was the will of Christ that performed the miracle, that secret movement of the heart of Christ, that silent omnipotent going out of divine energy, that accomplished the leper’s cure.

13. And immediately the leprosy departed from him.

Christ can heal sin in the same way that he cured this leper. If he touches the worst man in this place, he can make sin to depart from him the moment he touches him. It does not require years in order to perfect the work of salvation, it can be done in a moment, such is the wonder-working power of Christ: “immediately the leprosy departed from him.”

14. And he charged him to tell no man: “But go, and show yourself to the priest, and offer for your cleansing, according as Moses commanded, for a testimony to them.”

Our blessed Master did not court fame; he did not wish to make himself famous, the crowds that flocked around him were inconvenient for him, so he did not wish to have them increased. There was danger in such crowding, and Jesus was wise in his generation, so he charged the healed leper to tell no man, but to show himself to the priest, and to present the offering required under the law.

15. But so much the more went there a fame abroad of him:

Fame is like fire. If you heap anything on it to prevent it from spreading, it often acts as fuel for the flame; so, the very effort to hide the light of Christ’s power, made it spread all the more widely.

15. And great multitudes came together to hear, and to be healed by him of their infirmities.

I wish that all congregations would come together for the same motives, — to hear and to be healed by Christ. What is your disease, my hearer? What ails your soul? What is the mischief in your spirit? What is the malady in your heart? Jesus can heal you. Oh, that you would seek to be healed by him at once!

16. And he withdrew himself into the wilderness, and prayed.

Just when there were such grand opportunities for doing good, just when everyone sought him, does he get right away from them into the wilderness to pray? Yes, because he felt what we ought to feel but often do not, that he needed fresh power, that as the servant of God he must wait on God for fresh power for his great life-work: “He withdrew himself into the wilderness, and prayed.” No doubt it was the constant habit of Christ to pray, but there were certain special times when he retired into lonely places, and his prayer was particularly fervent and prolonged.

17. And it came to pass on a certain day, as he was teaching, that there were Pharisees and doctors of the law sitting by, who were come out of every town of Galilee, and Judea, and Jerusalem: and the power of the Lord was present to heal them.

The word “them” scarcely gives the right sense of the original; it should be, “the power of the Lord was present to heal.” Jesus did not heal the Pharisees and doctors of the law, but he healed many of the congregation. Now, how do you account for this power present to heal? Why, by that wilderness prayer: “He withdrew himself into the wilderness, and prayed,” and afterwards, in a very great and remarkable manner, “the power of the Lord was present to heal.”

And when the power to heal was present, the patient to be healed was very soon present, too.

18, 19. And, behold, men brought in a bed a man who was taken with a palsy: and they sought for means to bring him in, and to lay him before him. And when they could not find by what way they might bring him in because of the multitude, they went on the house-top, and let him down through the tiling with his bed into the midst before Jesus.

There does appear to have been, according to Mark, some breaking up of the material that formed the roof of the house where Christ was. It was not altogether such an easy matter as some have imagined to let this poor palsied man down into the presence of Jesus; and if some of the dust from the roof fell down on the Pharisees and doctors of the law who were sitting by, it would only be what they were accustomed to throw into other people’s eyes.

20. And when he saw their faith, he said to him, “Man, your sins are forgiven you.”

Christ has eyes with which he can see faith. You and I cannot see it; but he can: “When he saw their faith, he said to him, ‘Man, your sins are forgiven you.’ ” This was going to the very root of his disease. Jesus knew what really ailed the man; he was palsied in spirit as well as in body, and Christ removed the root of his disease by forgiving his sin.

21. And the scribes and the Pharisees began to reason,

The gentlemen I alluded to just now began to reason. It was just like them; instead of beginning to praise God, they “began to reason,” —

22. Saying, “Who is this, who speaks blasphemies? Who can forgive sins, but God alone?” But when Jesus perceived their thoughts, he answering said to them, “Why do you reason in your hearts?

See, Jesus can perceive thoughts. I have heard of “thought-reading” here is a true example of it: “Jesus perceived their thoughts, and said to them, ‘Why do you reason in your hearts?’ ”

23. Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven you’; or to say, ‘Rise up and walk?’

Anyone can say, “Your sins are forgiven you,” or, “Rise up and walk,” but to forgive sins, or to give the power to rise up and walk, equally needs a God. If God is present, and can make the palsied man arise and walk, he is also able to forgive his sins.

24-26. But that you may know that the Son of man has power on earth to forgive sins,” (he said to the sick of the palsy,) “I say to you, ‘Arise, and take up your bed, and go into your house.’ ” And immediately he rose up before them, and took up that on which he lay, and departed to his own house, glorifying God. And they were all amazed, and they glorified God, and were filled with fear,

With awe, and reverence. They felt that God had come very near to them, and they perhaps said, like Jacob of old, when he was afraid, “How dreadful is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.” They were filled with fear, —

26. Saying, “We have seen strange things today.”

Oh, that we might see such “strange things” in this house tonight, and whenever we meet to worship God!

 {See Spurgeon_Hymnal “Gospel, Received by Faith — Jesus Pleads For Me” 567}
 {See Spurgeon_Hymnal “Gospel, Received by Faith — I Am Pardoned” 566}
 {See Spurgeon_Hymnal “Gospel, Received by Faith — ‘The Lord Hath Laid On Him The Iniquity Of Us All’ ” 564}
 Other sermons by Mr. Spurgeon, upon this Miracle: —
 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2337, “The Physician Pardons his Palsied Patient” 2338}
 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2417, “First Forgiveness, then Healing” 2418}
 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 3016, “Good Cheer From Forgiven Sin” 3017}

 The Sword and the Trowel
 Table of Contents, June, 1895.
 (Special Conference Number.)
 En Voyage; or, Hindrances and Helps in Church Work and Life. The Conference Presidential Address, by Thomas Spurgeon.
 Mr. Spurgeon’s First Outlines of Sermons preached in Essex and Cambridgeshire in 1851.
 “Our Own Men” and their Work. Pastor H. J. Batts, King Williamstown, British Kaffraria. (With Portrait.)
 Family Devotion. Written By C. H. Spurgeon in 1853.
 The March of the Months. By H. T. S. No. VI.
 In Memoriam — Principal David Gracey. (With View of Tombstone in Norwood Cemetery.)
 Come Home. Poetry, by E. A. Tydeman.
 Seed-Thoughts from C. H. Spurgeon’s Sermons.
 On Becoming “Broad.” By R. Shindler.
 The Pastors’ College Evangelical Association. Report of the Eighth Annual Conference.
 Three Messengers of Mercy. By W. L. Lang.
 Notices of Books.
 Notes. (Pastors Thomas and Charles Spurgeon. The Devil’s Mission of Amusement. College. C. H. Spurgeon’s Evangelists. Orphanage. Colportage. Baptisms at Metropolitan Tabernacle and Haddon Hall. Personal Notes, by Mrs. C. H. Spurgeon.)
 Lists of Contributions.
 Pastors’ College Annual Report.

 Price, 3d. Post free, 4½d.
 London: Passmore and Alabaster, Paternoster Buildings; and all Booksellers.

Gospel, Received by Faith
567 — Jesus Pleads For Me
1 Before the throne of God above
   I have a strong, a perfect plea;
   A great High Priest, whose name is Love,
   Who ever lives and pleads for me.
2 My name is graven on his hands,
   My name is written on his heart;
   I know that, while in heaven he stands,
   No tongue can bid me thence depart.
3 When Satan tempts me to despair,
   And tells me of the guilt within,
   Upward I look, and see him there
   Who made an end of all my sin.
4 Because the sinless Saviour died,
   My sinful soul is counted free;
   For God, the Just, is satisfied
   To look on him, and pardon me.
5 Behold him there! the bleeding Lamb!
   My perfect, spotless Righteousness,
   The great unchangeable, “I AM,”
   The King of glory and of grace.
6 One with himself, I cannot die,
   My soul is purchased by his blood;
   My life is hid with Christ on high,
   With Christ, my Saviour and my God.
               Charitie Lees Smith, 1863.

Gospel, Received by Faith
566 — I Am Pardoned <8.7.>
1 Now, oh joy! my sins are pardon’d,
      Now I can, and do believe;
   All I have, and am, and shall be,
      To my precious Lord I give;
   He aroused my deathly slumbers,
      He dispersed my soul’s dark night;
   Whisper’d peace, and drew me to him —
      Made himself my chief delight.
2 Let the babe forget its mother,
      Let the bridegroom slight his bride;
   True to him, I’ll love none other,
      Cleaving closely to his side.
   Jesus, hear my soul’s confession,
      Weak am I, but strength is thine,
   On thine arms for strength and succour
      Calmly may my soul recline.
                     Albert Midlane, 1865.

Gospel, Received by Faith
564 — “The Lord Hath Laid On Him The Iniquity Of Us All”
1 Charged with the complicated load
      Of our enormous debt,
   By faith, I see the Lamb of God
      Expire beneath its weight!
2 My numerous sins transferr’d to him,
      Shall never more be found,
   Lost in his blood’s atoning stream
      Where every crime is drown’d!
3 My mighty sins to thee are known;
      But mightier still is he
   Who laid his life a ransom down,
      And pleads his death for me.
4 Oh may my life, while here below,
      Bear witness to thy love:
   Till I before thy footstool bow,
      And chant thy praise above!
                  CHarles Wesley, 1762;
                  Augustus M. Toplady, 1776.

Spurgeon Sermons

These sermons from Charles Spurgeon are a series that is for reference and not necessarily a position of Answers in Genesis. Spurgeon did not entirely agree with six days of creation and dives into subjects that are beyond the AiG focus (e.g., Calvinism vs. Arminianism, modes of baptism, and so on).

Terms of Use

Modernized Edition of Spurgeon’s Sermons. Copyright © 2010, Larry and Marion Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario, Canada. Used by Answers in Genesis by permission of the copyright owner. The modernized edition of the material published in these sermons may not be reproduced or distributed by any electronic means without express written permission of the copyright owner. A limited license is hereby granted for the non-commercial printing and distribution of the material in hard copy form, provided this is done without charge to the recipient and the copyright information remains intact. Any charge or cost for distribution of the material is expressly forbidden under the terms of this limited license and automatically voids such permission. You may not prepare, manufacture, copy, use, promote, distribute, or sell a derivative work of the copyrighted work without the express written permission of the copyright owner.

Spurgeon Sermon Updates

Email me when new sermons are posted:

Privacy Policy

Answers in Genesis is an apologetics ministry, dedicated to helping Christians defend their faith and proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Learn more

  • Customer Service 800.778.3390