Luke 4:40, 42 KJV
40 “Now when the sun was setting, all they that had any sick with divers diseases brought them unto Him; and He laid His hands on every one of them, and healed them.”
42 “And when it was day, He departed and went into a desert place: and the people sought Him, and came unto Him, and stayed Him, that He should not depart from them.”
Now when the sun was setting,–
When the sun set another sun arose. The eventide of nature brought the morning of restoration.
Come to the Lord Jesus Christ when you can–early in the day, or in the shades of evening–He is patiently waiting.
In Luke 4:42 mark an attempt to localize the Lord Jesus Christ. This is often done even now. But He is not to be parochially or congregationally shut in. He is the light of every life. He must gather His sheep from every hill and call His own from unexpected places.
The Miracles of Healing at Capernaum
These words form a very vivid contrast with what is recorded in the former part of this chapter. In Nazareth He did no mighty works. Could not, nor would not. It was not because the people there didn’t want help. It was as bad to be sick up there as it is in Capernaum. But it was because of their lack of belief.
Then in wonderful contrast comes this story of Capernaum. That contrast we can still make. We may have this Nazareth, the Lord Jesus Christ in ourmidst with all His healing power, and yet our hearts unblessed; or it may be to us Capernaum, and Jesus moving amongst us, laying His hands on every one of us and making us whole.
The Scene Here Pictured.
The sun was setting; the mountains were lifting their heads tothe golden crimson, and the lake was bathed in the sunset hues. Across the rocky paths came wearied ones with withered limbs from the inland villages; blind men groping their way and asking piteously if they were right; deaf men trying to read the signs of His coming in everybody’s face; and, across the lake, boat-loads of sick ones, the glassy surface of the lake just broken by the ripple of the oar; and thus they came, until what a sight it was about the gate of the city!
Follow the Great Physician Through the Wards Of His Hospital.
NOW, the whisper runs through the crowd, “He comes. He comes–those eyes of His all filled with compassion; and moving about amongst them,” He laid His hands on every one of them.” No poor woman was thrust away outside; no poor little child was forgotten.
- Notice that the power of the Lord is a healing power–“not to condemn the world.”
- See how the Lord uses this power–with what gentleness.
- Notice how the Lord deals with men in their individuality–“every one of them.“
Look at The Sick Ones.
First, here is a heathen woman. There also stands a sturdy Roman soldier who has been maimed in some fight, and many more. In the Great Physician’s hospital every case is peculiar.
God’s Kingdom. There is another kingdom, the Kingdom of His grace, the kingdom in the hearts of men, called the kingdom of God in the Scriptures. Let’s compare the Kingdom of God to the kingdoms of the world:
- This Kingdom ofGod Is One. The Kingdoms ofThe World Are Many.
The Kingdom of God does not resemble any of these. It is a spiritual kingdom.
- The Kingdoms ofThis World Are Not Happy, The Kingdom of Grace Is.
III. The Kingdoms ofThe World Are Maintained by Violent Force, The Throne ofGod’s Kingdom Is Established in The Affections Of Its Subjects.
- The Kingdoms ofThe World Decay, The Kingdom of God Never Shall.
Here are some Practical Questions:
- Are we members of this kingdom?
- If not, are we willing to become members?
The Laying of Hands
This rite is a symbol of any kind of transmission, whether of a gift or an office (Moses and Joshua, Deuteronomy 34:9), or of a blessing (the patriarchal blessings), or of a duty (the transfer to the Levites of the natural functions of the eldest son in every family), or of guilt (the guilty Israelite laying his hands on the head of the victim), or of the sound, vital strength enjoyed by the person who imparts it (cures). It is not certain that Jesus could not have worked a cure by His mere word, or even by a simple act of volition.
But, in the first place, there is something profoundly human in this act of laying the hand on the head of any one whom one desires to benefit. It is a gesture of tenderness, a sign of beneficial communication such as the heart craves. Then this symbol might be morally necessary.
Whenever the Lord Jesus Christ avails Himself of any material means to work a cure–whether it be the sound of His voice, or clay made of His spittle–His aim is to establish in the form best adapted to that particular case and forges a personal tie between the sick person and Himself.
The Lord Jesus Christ desires not only to heal, but to affect a restoration to God, by creating in the consciousness of the sick a sense of union with Himself, the organ of Divine grace in the midst of mankind.
This moral aim explains the variety of the means employed. Had they been curative means (of the nature of magnetic passes, for example) they could not have varied so much. But as they were addressed to the sick person’s soul, the Lord Jesus Christ chose them in such a way that His action was adapted to its character or position.
In the case of a deaf mute, He puts His fingers into his ears; He anointed the eyes of a blind man with His spittle, and many more. Thus, their healing appeared as an emanation from His person, and attached them to Him by an indissoluble tie. Their restored life was felt to be dependent on His.
The Great Physician
We have here a picture of the Lord Jesus Christ as the Great Physician of soul and body, the Divine restorer of health to both body and mind. It is never to be forgotten how He thus met the sufferings of humanity and brought effective deliverance as none other ever could or ever will bring, to a world ever groaning and travailing in pain. And what He did then, He is doing still.
We cannot now see His earthly form, nor do we look for miracles to be wrought upon us; but each of us has his own peculiar care or trouble and needs the Divine Physician to relieve his distress.
- True, there is earthly relief, and it is our duty to make proper use of them; but they are all more or less temporary and fleeting.
- True also, that if present relief is not to be had, we may still be buoyed by earthly hope. But alas! How often is this but “hope deferred,” which “makes the heart sick”; and how often is the miserable and weary sufferer brought to such a state that the only earthly hope left him is the hope that he may soon be done with earth altogether, and his poor pained body be laid to rest in the grave! Oh, how vain are all earthly hopes, and how doomed to disappointment are those who trust in them. But, thank God! Our Christian principle is not so cold. We have more than this.
A Present Help.
We have learned that present, earthly, personal comfort is not such a grand object after all; that there are higher things, and better things, within our reach. What are these?
Growing better, being sanctified, making this life not an end but a beginning and preparation for a higher and better life. Not only so, but we can go to Jesus as truly as could the friends at Capernaum and help to take our sufferers there. Nor have we far to go. He is always at hand, and always accessible.
Moreover, He is unchangeable; not like earthly friends and comforts, but always the same; the truest help in any and every kind of suffering–whether of mind, body, or estate, as many a soul has proved, in sickness, poverty, anxiety, loneliness.
A Future Hope.
If, in spite of every aid, the burdens of life press heavily on us, we have more than the silence of the grave to look for. We know that while our body sleeps, our soul is with the Lord Jesus Christ in paradise, and that one day there will be a happy reunion.
Let us first find the way ourselves to this present help and future hope, and then we shall be able to point our friends to it and to the Lord Jesus Christ who is indeed our only help and our only hope. And then, one word more for our comfort.
You will remember that our blessed Lord was not done with the sufferers when He laid His hands upon them and conferred present relief in trouble. They might go home with glad hearts, and enjoy the blessing of God, but a time would come when they might again suffer in body or in mind, and when they would at last have to give up all hope of earthly remedy.
But the Lord Jesus Christ did not forget them. Tired and wearied as He was, He rose up a great while before day, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed. He was blessing them even more in His absence than while with them in bodily presence.
Even so is it still with the sufferers and with the healed. The Lord Jesus Christ is not only ever blessing us with divine comfort and strength, but He is pleading for us with the Father. He knows the pain of each heart, and He will bless us and it for our good if we will but go to Him. AMEN.