2614. Strange Things

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No. 2614-45:133. A Sermon Delivered On Lord’s Day Evening, November 18, 1883, By C. H. Spurgeon, At The Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington.

A Sermon Intended For Reading On Lord’s Day, March 19, 1899.

We have seen strange things today. {Lu 5:26}

 For other sermons on this text:
   {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 981, “Carried by Four” 972}
   {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2614, “Strange Things” 2615}
   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. The world is growing very old, and dull, and commonplace. One takes the newspaper, and, often, after glancing through it, has to say, “There is really nothing in it,” the reason probably being that there is nothing fresh or new happening on the earth, it is just the old sad story of sin and sorrow constantly repeated. The world seems to be like a cluster from the vine when all its generous juice has been pressed out. Life, for many people, has come to be excessively humdrum. The human mind is always craving after novelties; and, to find these novelties, it makes “much-ado-about-nothing.” It runs raving mad over what is not worth thinking about, and whips itself up into an intense excitement about a matter that is of no more importance than a drop in a bucket, or the small dust of the balance. The fact is, man wants something really fresh and strange; and if he can get it, he feels delighted. I hardly think that, when our good friend, Mr. John Ashworth, brought out his book, he would have achieved so great a success with it if he had not called it Strange Tales; but the strangeness was the attraction. The stories in it were strange tales for the majority of mankind, though to some of us they are very familiar things, but the strangeness was the point that attracted readers.

2. No man ever spent a day with Jesus Christ without being filled with the sight of strange things. No man ever entered into communion with the Lord Jesus without being delighted with wonders of love, of mercy, of grace, of truth, of goodness; for, while his gospel is the old, old gospel, yet it always has a new face on it, and is continually fresh and new, — it never gets stale. We read about our Lord that, when John saw him, “his head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow,” to denote his antiquity, and yet the spouse said of him, “his locks are bushy, and black as a raven,” as if to indicate his perpetual youth, his unfailing strength, and his unfading beauty. Believe me, dear friends, if you want to see what is truly strange, you must get into that spiritual realm where Christ is acknowledged as King, the new heaven and new earth where righteousness dwells. If you want to continue to be astounded, amazed, astonished, filled with holy awe, you must come and be familiar with the Saviour, his person, his work, his offices, and everything that has to do with him; and, when you have become familiar with all these things, you will then constantly have to say, “We have seen strange things today. Something has occurred that has surprised even us who have grown used to surprises. Our Lord has seemed to outdo himself, though we thought him to be higher than the heavens; and his mercy has appeared to go deeper than ever before, though we judged that already it had gone deeper than the abyss itself.” “Oh world of wonders! I can say no less.” He who enters this spiritual world where Christ is adored as God and King, has unlocked a cabinet of marvels that shall astonish him during all his lifetime here, and even throughout eternity.

3. I am going to speak about strange things, and I pray that God will make what is said to be of service to many.

4. I. First, I ask you to NOTICE THE STRANGE THINGS OF THAT PARTICULAR DAY which are mentioned in our text. It was so full of wonders that the people said, “We have seen strange things today.” Well, what did they see?

5. First, that day they had seen Christ disturbed in preaching, greatly disturbed, and yet delighted to be so disturbed, and accepting the disturbance as part of his usual experience, and the means of doing further good to men. The Lord Jesus has gone into the square-covered court of a house; the people have pressed in behind him, one after another, until they are packed in a dense crowd, and there are still others all around the door vainly trying to enter. Here come four men, — it is rather remarkable that there should be four such earnest men, — who have brought a sick neighbour on his bed, with ropes tied to the four corners; but they find that they cannot get in through the crowd. They push, they squeeze, they struggle, but there is no getting in; and their poor paralysed friend seems to be effectively shut out from Christ. They go up the outside stairs of the house, they get on the roof which covers the square where Christ and the people are, and they begin pulling up the tiling; and now look, the man is being let down by the four ropes right before the Saviour’s face. There must be some measure of dust, even if something still heavier does not come tumbling down on the preacher’s head; but here comes the bed with the man on it. The people are sure to make room for him now, or else he will be supported on their heads. They seemed to be squeezed as tightly as they could be, but they feel that they must, somehow or other, get a little more closely together; and so the man is gradually let down by his four friends, who carefully let out the four ropes at the same rate, keeping good time together, lest one end of the bed should be elevated, and he should fall.

6. That must have been a great disturbance to our Lord. I know some preachers who cannot bear to have even a baby crying during the sermon; I do not feel especially delighted with that sweet music, yet I rejoice that the good woman did not stay away from the service; as far as I am concerned, she may bring her baby, even if the baby should sometimes cry, I am glad to have her here so that God may bless her. Perhaps a friend has just dropped a walking-stick in the aisle, and made a loud noise just when the preacher was trying to be very specially earnest. Well, that is a pity; but the dear Saviour was much more rudely interrupted by all the falling stuff from the tiling, and the sick man coming down into the midst of the crowd before him. If there had been any “thread” in his sermon, he certainly would have lost it; but his discourses were made of better material than that. They were made, indeed, of fire, and fell like fire-flakes on men’s heads and hearts. He still spoke on, after he had paused for a while to attend to this man’s case; and he attended to it very sweetly. He looked at the four men who had brought him, and he saw that they had great trust in him; and, seeing their faith, he performed the cure on the sick man. It was a strange thing that it should be so; but how much I would like to see more of this strange kind of work! I hardly know where I am to find the four men who are so in love with one of their friends that they will even break up ceilings and roofs to get him where Christ can bless him. They will probably be four very imprudent and rash men, in the opinion of others; may the Lord bless the imprudent and the rash! They are generally the best kind of men for such a task as this. Your more prudent men would have waited until the service was over, and the people had come out, and very likely they would have waited until Christ has gone out at another door, and so the man would have missed him. But these rash, headstrong, ardent lovers of their sick neighbour must get him to Christ somehow, so they break up the roof, and there he is right in the presence of Christ. It was a strange thing to do; but, brothers and sisters, do not hesitate to do strange things in order to save souls; hardly mind what you do, as long as you can get them to Christ. Your Lord will not blame you; he is so strangely loving — so strangely full of goodwill to men — that, even should you be guilty of an indiscretion in your zeal, he will not upbraid you for it. Oh, labour for the souls of your children, your servants, your neighbours; and the Lord will accept that service, and you may yet have the delight of seeing them made whole by Christ. That was a strange thing to begin with. I will be bound to say that the people who witnessed it talked all their lives long about the man coming down from the ceiling, and Jesus Christ healing him.

7. But now they saw a greater wonder than that, — the Christ of God forgiving this man’s sins. We talk about the forgiveness of sins, I fear, rather glibly, without always realizing what a great thing it is. You know that, when Martin Luther was in deep distress of soul, a good old monk said to him, “Brother, can you not say the Credo?” “Yes,” said Luther. “Well, then,” replied the old man, “in the Credo you say, ‘I believe in the forgiveness of sins.’ ” “Yes,” said Luther, “I know that; I have often said it.” “Then,” enquired the other, “do you believe in the forgiveness of your own sin? For, if not, how can you say, ‘I believe in the forgiveness of sins’?” This great truth is sometimes spoken of as though forgiveness were an impalpable something that was done, and yet not done; but Christ never meant it to be so. His death was not a shadowy, vague atonement that might possibly be available for sinners, but a real and complete putting away of sin; and as many as believe in him may know for certain that their sin is put away, and is as completely gone as if it had actually ceased to be, since Christ bore its punishment. Indeed, and the sin itself was by imputation laid on him, as it is written, “The Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.” “He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities. The chastisement of our peace was on him; and with his stripes we are healed.” Whenever a sinner has his sin forgiven, it is a strange, a wondrous thing; never think of it as a mere commonplace matter of no account, for it is a marvel of marvels. The angels — a far nobler race than men, — fell from their first estate, but never has any one of the demons been pardoned for his rebellion against the Most High. No Saviour has espoused their cause, no sacrifice has been offered for their guilt, no gospel is ever proclaimed in their ear. When they sinned, they fell finally; and now they are “reserved in everlasting chains under darkness for the judgment of the great day.” Yet man, who was not a pure spirit, like the angels, but a spirit allied with materialism, an inferior being, fell, and for him God left his throne to come and bleed on earth to offer up an expiation. For men, sin became pardonable; indeed more, to multitudes of the sons of men, sin has been forgiven, and an act of amnesty and oblivion has been passed concerning their rebellion. What a wonderful truth this is! Whenever you feel a sense of pardoned sin, or whenever you know that your fellow man has received absolution from the great High Priest, the Son of God, you may at once say, “We have seen strange things today.”

8. When these people around our Lord had seen that wonder, they saw something else which must have greatly surprised them, — they saw an exhibition of thought-reading. I have heard and read many curious things about thought-reading; some I have believed, and some I have not. That any man can read my thoughts, I shall dare to question. At any rate, he may read this thought, for I will tell him that it is in my mind, — that I do not believe in him. But our Lord Jesus Christ, as he looked at the Pharisees and the scribes, read their unexpressed thoughts, and at once saw what was passing within their minds. It was not an easy thing, I should think, to read thoughts like these, “Who is this who speaks blasphemies? Who can forgive sins, but God alone?” But our Lord Jesus read those thoughts, and answered them, though the men before him had not as yet spoken a single word. I have seen wonderful exhibitions of thought-reading in this Tabernacle; not by me, but by the Lord himself. Many of you are witnesses of how I have uttered from this platform the very words you have spoken when you were coming here; and what you said in your bedroom, where no one heard, perhaps, but some one companion, has been repeated in this place, and you have been astounded as you discovered that the Word of God, which is quick and powerful, searches the heart, and cuts asunder, just as you have seen an animal split from head to foot by a butcher, and its innermost parts laid bare to the view of every passer-by. The Word of God often does that, — expose the secret thoughts and intents of the heart, and makes the man see himself as God sees him, and makes him stand astonished that it should be so. So frequently have we seen this kind of thing happen that we sometimes tell to each other some of the extraordinary cases in which men’s very flesh has seemed to creep as the things they said and did have been made known to them. It will probably happen in the same way to many others; and those to whom God will speak like this will say, as these people did, “We have seen strange things today.”

9. There was another strange thing they saw, and with that I will conclude this first part of my discourse. They saw a sick man, who could not lift hand or foot, made in a single moment to walk, and carry his bed, at the word of the Lord Jesus Christ. That must have been a strange sight to those who knew this poor paralysed man, when they saw him spring up from the bed, and glorify God as he did what Jesus told him to do; and when the Lord speaks with power to a soul, as he constantly does, and the man who did not know God learns to know him, and the one who did not fear the Lord is brought to trust and love and serve him, what a marvellous thing it is! I sometimes wonder whether any person would doubt the inspiration of Scripture, and the divine origin and power of the gospel, if he could live each day as I live, and see what I see of the wonders that are accomplished by the gospel. Last Sunday night, there came into Exeter Hall a man who did not care for the things of God, and he sat and heard the sermon. His brother had brought him, and was praying earnestly for him. As he was going out, a friend, who had observed him during the service, said to this man who had entered the hall utterly careless and Christless, “You were interested in the sermon tonight, were you not?” “I was,” he answered, “very much.” “Do you believe in the Lord Jesus Christ?” The man at once replied, “I do believe in him with all my heart and all my soul.” His brother, who was with him, and who had been praying over him, said, “I was astonished beyond measure to hear him make such a declaration of his faith.” Besides that one, there were twelve other people, who came forward when the service was over, and distinctly declared that they had found the Saviour that night under the preaching of the gospel. Though they had not been religious people, and had scarcely thought of their souls before, yet God had found them. And these strange things do not occur with us only; they happen every day with our beloved friends, Moody and Sankey, and indeed, in a great measure, with all who preach the gospel. It is its own evidence of its almighty power, and as it wins its way, men are saved, they are healed of the deadly paralysis of sin, and made to leap with active obedience and joyful service in the cause of Christ. Whenever you see this miracle of mercy performed, you can say, “We have seen strange things today.”

10. II. Now, with great brevity, I ask you to NOTICE THE STRANGE THINGS OF CHRIST’S DAY.

11. If you had ever beheld our Lord’s life and work with the eyes of faith, you must have seen many strange things. First, the Maker of men became a man. He who is infinite became an infant; he who made all things was wrapped in swaddling-bands; he who fills all space was laid in a manger, and the Son of the Highest was known as the Son of Mary. We have heard strange things when we have heard the doctrine of the incarnation: “The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only-begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” Truly, this was a strange thing.

12. Further, he who was Lord of all, became servant of all. “Being found in the form of a man,” he lived a life of perfect obedience to his Father’s will, and went around healing the sick, raising the dead, and ministering to all who came near him. Most marvellous of all, on him who knew no sin, the sin of man was laid, and the righteous God meted out to him, the innocent One, the chastisement due to the guilty. This is the basis of our hope, and the only foundation of hope for sinners, that he, the innocent Christ, was made sin for us, “so that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” But what a wonder it is! The guilty go free because he who is free from guilt suffers in their place. Tell that wonder of wonders to all men.

13. Yet that was not all. On the cross Jesus died; and loving friends laid him in the tomb. Death had conquered him; but, in that moment, death was conquered.

    “He death by dying slew.”

That day, he led death itself captive to his own supremacy. Wonder of wonders, — death put to death by death! Jesus Christ, by his dying, puts dying out of the way for all his people. Yet, even that wonder is not the last. See, there he lies for a while, wrapped in the grave-clothes, and death appears to have the mastery over him; but that Scripture must be fulfilled: “You will not leave my soul in the grave; neither will you permit your Holy One to see corruption.” He must wait there until the appointed hour strikes; and then, early in the morning, before the break of day, he was up and away. An angel rolled away the stone, for he who had been dead was alive again, and Jesus left the abode of death, no more to die. What a wonder it is that he who was dead accomplished our resurrection! And now, since he rose from the grave, so all his followers must.

14. You may take what point you please in the history of the Lord Jesus Christ, and if you really understand it, you will say concerning every part of it, “We have seen strange things” in this matter. It is a chain of miracles. It is like Alps on Alps; and more than that, for the mountains of mercy tower above the stars, and reach even to the throne of God, and God himself was never more lofty and glorious than when he was occupied in the stupendous labours of his Son Jesus Christ. Only spend your time in the company of the great Wonder Worker, and you will continually be able to say, “We have seen strange things today.”

15. III. Now I must close by asking you to NOTICE THE STRANGE THINGS STILL TO BE SEEN IN THOSE IN WHOM CHRIST WORKS. If he comes and blesses us, we shall often say, “We have seen strange things today.”

16. First, we have seen a self-condemned sinner justified by Christ. I can tell you what I saw, one day, and I never shall forget the sight throughout eternity. I saw a sinner whom I know very well, — and I can say no good concerning him, but much, very much that is evil, without at all slandering him; — he had been proud and haughty in his opinion of himself, but there shone a light into his soul which unveiled to him his deep corruption and depravity, the sin that mixed with all his best things, and the still more dreadful sin that fermented in his worst things. I saw that sinner — for I know him well, — self-condemned; he wrote out his own sentence, and he handed it to the Judge. He said that he deserved to be cast away for ever from the presence of God and the glory of his power; and, as he passed up his own death-warrant, he dropped a tear on it, and he said, “I now trust myself to the sovereign mercy of God in Christ Jesus.” I remember it well, and I saw that self-condemned sinner pardoned in a moment. The Lord said to him, “Your sins, which are many, are all forgiven”; and his face changed from darkness and gloom into shining light and joy, and he has never lost the impression of that blessed day; and, as he stands here to tell you the story, he can truly say that he saw strange things that day. But, brothers and sisters, there are hosts of you who have undergone the same blessed operation. Self-condemnation brought you where the Saviour absolved you; and, though it seems so easy to talk about it now, oh, how blessed it was when we first felt it! My heart leapt for joy; I was never so happy before; and I sometimes think that I have scarcely ever been quite as jubilant as I was on that day of holy excitement and exhilaration.

17. I remember, also, a natural heart renewed by grace. I have gone into my garden, and I have seen a great number of trees that have new branches which have been grafted into them; but I never yet saw a tree get a new heart. I have seen it get new bark, and many changes have happened to it; but it cannot change its heart. There are some living creatures that shed their claws, and grow new ones; but I never did hear of a living creature that grew a new heart. That must be a strange, a wonderful thing, to change the very centre and source of life; yet the Lord Jesus Christ is constantly doing it, — giving men new motives, new desires, new wishes, new habits, changing them entirely; and, especially, creating in them new hearts and right spirits. Whenever you see that miracle of grace accomplished, you can say. “We have seen strange things today.” A woman came to see me, and threw herself down at my feet, and said that she had been such a sinner that she was not fit to speak with me. I told her to get up, for I said I was also a sinner; and she told me what she had been, — I will not tell you the sad story, for I should have to use words of shame if I described her. But she is among us now, washed and sanctified, and she delights to serve her God, and honour and glorify him. What changed that woman? Was it fear? No, she was a brave spirit, who would have dared any kind of demon, but the grace of God changed and transformed her, and made her into a loving servant of the living Saviour. Oh, whenever we see this deed of grace done, — and we do see it continually, — we say, “We have seen strange things today.”

18. Another marvel is, a soul preserved in spiritual life amid killing evils. Did you ever see a bush burn, and yet not be consumed? Did you ever see a spark float in the sea, and yet not be quenched? Many people here are, to themselves, just such wonders. They are living godly lives in the midst of temptation, holy in the midst of impurity, serving God in spite of all opposition. These are strange things.

19. Did you ever see evil turned into good? There are many of God’s children who constantly see it. “All things work together for good to those who love God.” They are made rich by poverty, made healthy by sickness, made strong by weakness, made alive by killing, made to go up by going down. You who live the new life know the meaning of these paradoxes, and understand how these strange things make up a Christian man’s progress to the Eternal City of God.

20. The people of God see strange things in their own lives as they find heaven on earth. It is an exceptional thing for anyone to be on earth, and yet in heaven; but we have proved it to be so. We have seen men sick, and we have seen men dying, and yet as full of bliss as they could hold, as thankful in their room of poverty, and almost as joyful, as if they had been among the angels before the throne above. There are surprises all the way along the road to glory; but what will it be when we come to its end? Did you ever try to picture the first half-hour in heaven? Have you ever thought of the sensations that will pass through you in the first few days there? I think that we can very well judge what they will be, for they have been revealed to us by the Spirit. We shall have just the same joys as we have here, only carried to a far higher pitch, for the life of God in heaven is just the life of God in the heart on earth. Heaven is only the outgrowth of a holy consecrated life; and he who lives with Christ below is already in the lower room of the Father’s house; he only has to climb a flight of stairs, and be in the upper room where all the glorified meet together with their Lord. Still, I do not doubt that it will be incredibly strange to go from earth into glory.

21. Whenever I begin to talk about this matter, I always wonder who will be the first among us to be called away, for it happens every week that some out of our great congregation go home. Sometimes, in a single week, six or seven of our church members go to the great Father’s house: whose turn will it be to go next? We do not have the choice; otherwise some of us might venture to put in an early claim so that we might enjoy our rest. I know some old folk, and some sick ones, and some who are greatly beset by Satan, and some who are severely troubled with doubts and fears, who would gladly say, “Oh that it were time for us to go!” Well, dear friends, rest assured that you are not forgotten; the messenger will come to you, perhaps soon, and he will say to you, “By tomorrow, you shall see the King in his glory.” You will have to go down into the flood, to cross the dark river, as they call it, but I do not believe that it is dark at all. I have seen the light shining on the faces of many of the pilgrims as they have looked back at me, when I have stood on the river’s brink to comfort them; and it has not seemed at all dark. The happiest company I ever keep is that of dying saints. I come away very merry, sometimes, from their bedside, for they say to me, “Oh dear Pastor, the truth you preach is good to live on, and good to die on!” I saw a man and his wife, both of them very ill, lying in bed together, but not a syllable of sympathy did they appear to need from me; and they seemed delighted to say to me, “We learned Christ from your lips; we have lived on the gospel you preached, and it upholds us now that we are lying here. We are glad to go home to heaven; we are full of life and full of immortality even now.” Oh, yes, these are strange things, — except to those who form part of this strange company with God, who is, to many, a stranger in his own world, and with Christ, who is a stranger, sometimes, in his own Church! We can say, and we shall say at the close of our lives, “We have seen strange things today.”

22. There is one strange sight which I wish that you, dear friends, if you are unconverted, would look at, — I wish that you would see Jesus as your own Saviour. He is not far from any one of you. Oh do look, look, look at him; and, as you look at him, you shall live! That is God’s appointed way of salvation. “Look to me, and be saved, all the ends of the earth.” And, dear heart, if you should see that strange being yourself, a saved sinner, I would like you to see another strange sight, namely, all your family saved. It will be such joy to you to have your wife rejoicing in Christ with you, joining in your daily prayer; and your children, even in their childhood, loving their father’s God. There is a text for you to lay hold of, supposing that you are not yet converted. It was the middle of the night when, in Philippi, the jail began to rock to and fro. The jailer’s house was up above, and he knew that he had two strange prisoners down in the vaults below. They had been singing in the night, and the other prisoners had heard them; and, as the jail rocked and reeled, and the doors flew open, the jailer, a stern Roman legionary, thought that his prisoners must have escaped, and that he would be put to death for allowing it; so he was about to thrust his sword into his own heart, but Paul shouted to him, “Do yourself no harm: for we are all here.” Then, when a light was brought, that man fell down before Paul and Silas, and said to them, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” And they answered, “Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and you shall be saved, and your house.” Do not leave out those last three words, “and your house.” Do not seek your own salvation without that of your household also. Look up the passage in Acts chapter sixteen: “ ‘Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and you shall be saved, and your house.’ And they spoke to him the word of the Lord, and to all who were in his house. And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes; and was baptized, he and all his, immediately. And when he had brought them into his house, he set food before them, and rejoiced, believing in God with all his house.” {Ac 16:31-34} It was a midnight service, and a baptism of the whole household on a profession of their faith. May God send you a similar blessing! You will see strange things then; many of us have seen them in our families already; and we hope to see them repeated a thousand times. May the Lord give each of you a personal blessing, and then bless your households also, for Christ’s sake! Amen.

Exposition By C. H. Spurgeon {Lu 5:12-32}

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

What a contrast there was between these two people, — the Lord Jesus full of purity, — and this man full of impurity, — full of leprosy! He could not be more than full; he had as much leprosy as a man could contain.

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

This was splendid faith. Here was adoration of the noblest kind; no angel before the throne of God could render the Son of God more honour than this poor leprous man did. He believed in Christ’s power at once to rid him of that otherwise incurable disease: “Lord, if you will, you can make me clean.”

13. And he stretched out his hand, and touched him, saying, “I will: be clean.” And immediately the leprosy departed from him.

This is also just what Christ can do in the spiritual realm. If a man is full of sin, only let him fall down on his face before Jesus, and say, “Lord, if you will, you can make me clean,” and the Lord will stretch out his hand, and touch him, and he will be clean in a moment. “Immediately” not needing the lapse of a single hour, — “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.”

As long as the ceremonial law was in force, Christ very diligently obeyed it, and told others to do the same. That law is now abolished, and the Jewish priesthood has also ceased to be. But see the modesty of our Saviour. As a man, he sought no fame or honour, but, as far as he could do so, he suppressed the voices that would have brought him acclaim; yet grateful tongues could not all be silenced, even at his bidding.

15. But so much the more a report went around concerning him: and great multitudes came together to hear, and to be healed by him of their infirmities.

There was a double attraction about the Lord Jesus, — his sweet, instructive speech, and his gracious, healing hand. There is still a somewhat similar attraction in every true gospel ministry, not the attraction of the mere words of human eloquence, but in the truth which every faithful minister preaches, and in that matchless soul-healing power which goes with the Word wherever it is believingly heard.

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

That is just what you and I would probably not have done under such circumstances. We should have said, “We must seize this golden opportunity of proclaiming our message. There is a tide in the affairs of men which, taken at the flood, leads on to plenitude of blessing; and we must take advantage of it.” But our Saviour did not wish for fame, he cared nothing about excitement and popularity; so “he withdrew himself into the wilderness, and prayed” for more of that real power which touches the hearts of men so as to save them, caring nothing for that power which merely attracts a crowd, and arouses momentary attention. Oh servant of God, when you are succeeding best in your service, imitate your Lord, withdraw yourself and pray!

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.

To heal the people? Yes, and to heal the doctors, too; and that was a far more difficult thing than to heal the ordinary folk. It must have been a time of great mercy and favour when Christ was ready to bless even the Pharisees and doctors of the law who were sitting by.

18. And, behold, —

For it was a great wonder, —

18. Men brought in a bed a man who was taken with palsy:

A paralysed man.

18, 19. And they sought 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 up on the house-top, —

There was, no doubt, a staircase outside, as there usually is to Eastern houses: “They went up on the house-top,”

19-21. And let him down through the tiling with his couch into the midst before Jesus. And when he saw their faith, he said to him, “Man, your sins are forgiven you.” And the scribes and the Pharisees began to reason, saying, “Who is this who speaks blasphemies? Who can forgive sins, but God alone?”

Most true, oh Pharisees; and, therefore he is God, for he can forgive sins, and he has forgiven this poor sinner!

22, 23. But when Jesus perceived their thoughts, he answering said to them, “Why are you reasoning in your hearts? Which is easier to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven you’; or to say, ‘Rise up and walk?’

“Does not each of these require the same divine power? If I am able to tell him to rise up and walk, I am also able, by the same divine authority, 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 what he was lying on, and departed to his own house, glorifying God. And they were all amazed, and they glorified God, and were filled with fear, —

With a reverent awe, —

26, 27. Saying, “We have seen strange things today.” And after these things he went out, and saw a tax collector, named Levi, sitting at the receipt of custom:

This Levi, or Matthew, was a tax collector; not like those of our own day, but one who farmed the taxes for the Roman governor, and made what he could for himself out of them; at least, that is what many of the “tax collectors” did.

27, 28. And he said to him, “Follow me.” And he left everything, rose up, and followed him.

This was just a parallel case to that of curing the palsied man; it is precisely the same morally as the other was physically. The office of a tax collector was disreputable in the eyes of the Jews, and this Levi was probably making money quickly at the cost of his own countrymen. He was paralysed morally just as the other man was physically; but as soon as Christ said to him, “Follow me,” “he left everything, rose up, and followed him.”

29, 30. And Levi made him a great feast in his own house: and there was a great company of tax collectors and of others who sat down with them. But their scribes and Pharisees murmured against his disciples, saying, “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?”

It seems that there can never be a great wonder accomplished by Christ without someone or other objecting to it. I suppose that the sun never rises without annoying thieves, who would like a longer time to perpetrate their deeds of darkness; and no miracle of mercy is ever performed without someone finding fault with it for some reason or other. Do not be dismayed, therefore, now that in these modern days there have arisen many cunning objectors to the gospel of Jesus Christ. Let them object to it, as the dog barks at the moon; but still the moon shines on in its silvery brightness. So, when all objectors shall have howled themselves to silence, the eternal gospel will shine on with never-failing splendour.

These scribes and Pharisees murmured against Christ’s disciples, and said to them, “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?” Their Master did not leave them to defend themselves, but he took the case into his own hands.

31. And Jesus answering said to them, “Those who are healthy —

“Such as you scribes and Pharisees claim to be” —

31. Do not need a physician; but those who are sick.

“You regard them as sick, and I regard them in the same way, and therefore I am found where these sick ones are. Why should I turn aside from them to insult you, who are so wonderfully healthy and think yourselves so good?”

32. I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”

 {See Spurgeon_Hymnal “Jesus Christ, Sufferings and Death — Wonders Of The Cross” 289}
 {See Spurgeon_Hymnal “God the Father, Attributes of God — A Pardoning God” 202}
 {See Spurgeon_Hymnal “The Christian, Contrite Cries — Confessing And Pleading” 570}

The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit

Sermons Preached by C. H. Spurgeon. Vol. XLIV. Price 7s.

Press Notices: —

“There are some, doubtless, who read a certain number of general sermons during Lent, and the best volume that lies before us is, with all its limitations and defects, the 44th volume of The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, containing the sermons of Mr. Spurgeon which were revised and published during 1898. Over and over again, and now for the forty-fourth time, we say, — Read what Spurgeon has to say in the mighty power of your mother tongue about the Incarnation and the Atoning Sacrifice of the Son of God.” — The Guardian.

“Charles Haddon Spurgeon still preaches through the medium of sermons delivered in the Metropolitan Tabernacle, but not published during his lifetime. Here we have one sermon for each Sunday of the year. By all lovers of Evangelical truth, they will be welcomed, but especially by those who, through distance or sickness, have to set up the church in the house. These latest sermons have all the old charm. They are simple, but never commonplace; winsome, without being sentimental. The believer will be edified, the downcast comforted, and the sinner saved by the reading of these words from the greatest preacher of the age.” — The Methodist Times.

“It may be truly said of Mr. Spurgeon’s sermons that age does not wither nor custom stale their infinite variety. This is the forty-fourth volume, and we do not believe that it is inferior to any of its predecessors. Some of the sermons, indeed, are particularly striking. They sound a full gospel, but they also sound a warning note. In these days of lax theology and latitudinarianism, when the universal Fatherhood of God is so loosely assumed, it is arresting to read such a sermon as that on ‘Universal Fatherhood, a Lie!’ We can confidently recommend this latest volume of Spurgeon, which is one of our greatest Christian classics.” — The Presbyterian.

“We are thankful for the 44th continuous volume, containing sermons by ‘The Prince of Preachers,’ delivered at various periods, but not previously published. In these days of doubt, materialism, and scepticism, it is becoming more rare among our modern publications to fall in with a volume of pure and unadulterated gospel sermons. We commend this volume to believers for edification in the faith and to sinners for gospel light in darkness.” — The Christian Leader.

London: Passmore and Alabaster, Paternoster Buildings; and from all Booksellers.

Jesus Christ, Sufferings and Death
289 — Wonders Of The Cross
1 Nature with open volume stands,
   To spread her Maker’s praise abroad;
   And every labour of his hands
   Shows something worthy of a God.
2 But in the grace that rescued man
   His brightest form of glory shines;
   Here, on the cross, ‘tis fairest drawn
   In precious blood and crimson lines.
3 Here I behold his inmost heart,
   Where grace and vengeance strangely join,
   Piercing his Son with sharpest smart,
   To make the purchased pleasures mine.
4 Oh, the sweet wonders of that cross,
   Where God the Saviour loved and died!
   Her noblest life my spirit draws
   From his dear wounds and bleeding side.
5 I would for ever speak his name,

God the Father, Attributes of God
202 — A Pardoning God <112th.>
1 Great God of wonders! all thy ways
   Are matchless, God-like, and divine;
   But the fair glories of thy grace
   More God-like and unrivall’d shine:
   Who is a pardoning God like thee?
   Or who has grace so rich and free?
2 Crimes of such horror to forgive,
   Such guilty, daring worms to spare;
   This is thy grand prerogative,
   And none shall in the honour share:
   Who is a pardoning God like thee?
   Or who has grace so rich and free?
3 In wonder lost, with trembling joy
   We take the pardon of our God;
   Pardon for crimes of deepest dye;
   A pardon bought with Jesus’ blood:
   Who is a pardoning God like thee?
   Or who has grace so rich and free?
4 Oh may this strange, this matchless grace
   This God-like miracle of love,
   Fill the wide earth with grateful praise,
   And all th’ angelic choirs above:
   Who is a pardoning God like thee?
   Or who has grace so rich and free?
                     President Davies, 1769.

The Christian, Contrite Cries
570 — Confessing And Pleading
1 By thy victorious hand struck down,
      Here, prostrate, Lord, I lie:
   And faint to see my Maker frown,
      Whom once I dared defy.
2 With heart unshaken I have heard
      Thy dreadful thunders roar:
   When grace in all its charms appear’d,
      I only sinn’d the more.
3 With impious hands from off thy head
      I’ve sought to pluck the crown;
   And insolently dared to tread
      Thy royal honour down.
4 Confounded, Lord, I wrap my face,
      And hang my guilty head;
   Ashamed of all my wicked ways,
      The hateful life I’ve led.
5 I yield — by mighty love subdued;
      Who can resist its charms?
   And throw myself, by wrath pursued,
      Into my Saviour’s arms.
6 My wanderings, Lord, are at an end,
      I’m now return’d to thee:
   Be thou my Father and my Friend,
      Be all in all to me.
            Compiled from Simon Browne, 1720.

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.

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